China in Africa: The Future?

This video gives an excellent snapshot of the economic development in Angola, a country I have not been to since 1995, and its business with China.



Angola, just like DRC, is one of Africa's mineral richest countries, so no wonder there is quite an interest for its natural resources, only to be challenged by logistical nightmares.

There is a lot to be said about the deals China makes all over the world, securing oil, buying or leasing agricultural land and concluding massive hybrid aid/business contracts. Just today, I stumbled upon the following two press articles:

From the Chinese Press Agency:
China provides US$600,000 of humanitarian aid to DR Congo.
From Reuters:
Congo to push forward with $9 bln Chinese mining contract.

Says enough, I think. Two views, two perspectives, two sides to probably the same story. As government to government aid has clearly failed in the past decennia (read 'Dead Aid'), maybe the business deals are the only true form of development for Africa.

If only the economic profits would also benefit the less fortunate in Africa.

Video discovered via Time of the Leopards

5 comments:

Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) 26 March, 2009 01:19  

Make no mistake, China and the U.S. are the same. They show a lot of money to countries but the countries end up with very little for the improvement of their citizens. It's like being in a money machine with money blowing all around and being unable to catch enough of it not matter how long you're in the machine.

The government of Angola obviously has sold the resources of the land and the people's right to make a decent living for a few niceties.

China, The West, Europe, Arab Nations are all bandits of African wealth, historically and today.

I hate seeing images of industrious foreigners and then Africans shown dancing and playing football.

Peter 26 March, 2009 01:33  

@Usiko

The only difference I have seen in Africa, is that China concentrates much more on public infrastructure. Which, to me, is one of the basic conditions for a nation to develop.

That is where I would bet my (aid) money on...

I fully agree with you that (and the video clearly shows this) the Africans seems to be kept to playing, dancing and the low level jobs... Should be an opportunity to learn and grow.

What is the solution according to you?

P.

Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) 26 March, 2009 02:33  

The solution is always the same. It is one used in the American Revolution and on other continents.

Citizens must band together to put pressure on the governing bodies by vote, by protest and by war. The Allied forces don't have any problem with using force in countries to get rid of governments. When government no longer serves the needs of it's people it is no longer needed.

The infrastructure China is contributing to is just to make it nice for themselves while they are there and to help get stuff into Angola so they can get more stuff out. Infrastructure is more than physical roads and buidlings, it is the health of the people, the employment, the housing, the education.

Anonymous,  28 March, 2009 00:20  

Usiku, if talking solves the problem Africans won't have been bullied since long time ago. There are aspects of people/society that make a country prominent and hopefully some community are willing to make a try?

1. Industrious, proactive attitude, either from religion or non-regilion traditions.

2. Willingness to suffer for greater benefits

3. Reasonable planning and CONSISTENCY of executing plans

4. not carried away by luxuaries.

5. social and culture stability

Mats 28 March, 2009 18:48  

Ofcourse China is interested in supporting countries in Africa. China is besides USA the main consumer of raw material of any sort. I am though very glad they support countries by building the basic infrastructure like roads, bridges and tunnels. I have first hand seen the result of their infrastructure building which is lightyears away compared to any other built infrastucture irrespective of contractor by other donors or internally in a country. Make no mistake ofcourse the Chinese come in with some big demands, some transparent but most not so transparent, as well. Just like any other donor. The Chinese are very good at manpower demanding infrastructure development and know how to build it to last thus it makes sense. I dont have any illusions as to the synicism the donations are done with though. Atleast I know that a road built by the Chinese will last 10 -15 years while any other road built by others would last about as long as the money keeps rolling in to the construction company. Thus less than 6 months after construction ended. The most appauling example was for the CHOGM meeting in Kampala. All the Heads of the British Commonwealth was to meet in Kampala for one week. For 2 years in advance there was road construction (among other construction) going on with massive donations from both UK and other countries. Most of the Government ministers in Uganda own some company related to Construction it seems, if they didnt they started one and the result of 2 years massive work.. A lot of potholes! Well for the week the meeting lasted there was actually Lights along the main roads and no potholes. Normal people was told to stay away from these roads during the meeting. The first potholes started to show up after 2 weeks. And as usual in Uganda there is now an enquiry into how many people managed to do fake jobs on the roads.... In many cases the companies are already gone...
The conclusion for me is that yes the people need to stand up like Usiko points out but it also takes the people then elected by their people to actually want to change the country and not just fill their own pockets. The latter seems to be the trend and that together with intransparent donor money makes a nice hexbrew not necessarily benefitting the people.

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