In a thought provoking article, Peter Hitchens describes his first hand experiences of the unsavoury practices of Chinese businesses in Africa. BUT at the same time, he asks the question if all the aid and good intensions in the world have not helped in the past forty decades, maybe the "Chinese" approach might...
China offers both rulers and the ruled in Africa the simple, squalid advantages of shameless exploitation.
For the governments, there are gargantuan loans, promises of new roads, railways, hospitals and schools - in return for giving Peking a free and tax-free run at Africa's rich resources of oil, minerals and metals.
For the people, there are these wretched leavings, which, miserable as they are, must be better than the near-starvation they otherwise face.
Persuasive academics advised me before I set off on this journey that China's scramble for Africa had much to be said for it. They pointed out China needs African markets for its goods, and has an interest in real economic advance in that broken continent.
For once, they argued, a foreign intervention in Africa might work precisely because it is so cynical and self-interested. They said Western aid, with all its conditions, did little to create real advances in Africa, laughing as they declared: "The only country that ever got rich through donations is the Vatican." (Full)
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