Jean-Paul Pougala’s April 14, 2011 piece in Pambazuka News titled “The Lies Behind the West’s War on Libya” describes how Africa first developed its own transcontinental communications system by purchasing a telecommunications satellite on December 26, 2007: the African Development Bank ponied up $50 million toward the nearly $400 million cost of the orbiter and the West African Development Bank added $27 million more. Libya contributed $300 million, which made the purchase possible. Pougala writes that when it was up and running, the new system was “connecting the entire continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting, and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching.”
After 14 years of foot-dragging by the IMF and the World Bank, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s generosity allowed for this one-time purchase that spared the nations of Africa a $500 million annual lease payment for access to a telecom satellite and euchred Western banks out of potential billions in loans and interest. At this time, Gaddafi was also seeking to establish a trans-African banking system based on gold to free the continent from its financial bondage to the IMF and the World Bank—which would gravely harm both predatory entities.