The China/Afrika relationship – A new form of economic enslavement? – Dr. Kwame Osei
I have been compelled to write this article as a result of two events that have happened in the recent past. First the recent China -Afrika summit in Egypt and second as a result of a report that was published by the Trades Union Congress into Chinese human rights abuses in Afrika.
Over the last 7 years there has been an enormous invasion of Chinese labour and capital into the continent of Afrika - this is exemplified by the fact that in the year 2001 China-Afrika trade was in the region of $11 billion and increased to over $50 billion in 2006.
However this was not always the case. Until recently Chinese investment in Afrika was in dribs and drabs but significantly during the cold war China supplied Afrikan countries with a load of arms.
However what is at the root of this Chinese invasion of Afrika is that the leadership of China has recognized that if they are going to be able to sustain themselves with their massive population (nearly 2 billion) and sustain their economic development and growth, then they need Afrika and this was at the heart of initiating the China-Afrika summit Why?
Well because Afrika has ALL the mineral resources that the Chinese need to develop their economy such as oil, gold, diamonds, bauxite, tin, lead, iron ore, steel, copper, managansese , cobalt, colthan, chrome and a host of other precious minerals.
This is because China HAS NOTHING by way of raw materials and they need to access Afrika's rich mineral resources to expand their ever increasing businesses.
By the why it has been revealed by Economic Intelligence that China has overtaken Germany as the world's biggest exporter and they are on their way to being the world's largest economy - all the more reason why they need Afrika's raw materials.
The Chinese exploitation of Afrika is a further blow to the economic emancipation of Afrika. Do not be fooled by the Chinese protestations that their relationship with Afrika is based on mutual trust and respect unlike the Western/American exploitation of Afrika.
Fundamentally the new Chinese invasion in Afrika is part of the New World Order where there is a struggle for global supremacy economically and access to Afrika's raw materials is key to this. Furthermore the Chinese "interest" in Afrika is purely for the survival and economic interest of the Chinese and NOT the economic emancipation of Afrika.
It is estimated by some intelligence analysts that Chinese "investment" in Afrika is expected to top US$100Bn by the end of 2010.
However what the readers should be aware of is that the Chinese invasion of Afrika is another form of imperialism/colonialism similar to the Western/American model.
In Angola, for example, China's recent $2 billion and $2.4 billion Eximbank credit lines were tied to infrastructure investments but the insidious nature of these investments is that the Chinese send in their own people to work on these infrastructure projects with many local Afrikan talent being sidelined.
The Chinese use their own equipment and materials, again very rarely using local Afrikan materials. What this has meant is that there are millions of Chinese workers in the country building roads, rehabilitating railways, and building schools and a huge neighborhood of low-cost housing.
Thirty percent of the contracts under the loan are targeted to Angolan firms. Angola pays for this infrastructure with oil. Compare this with the completely non-transparent $2.35 billion loan extended to Angola by Britain's Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Do I sense a double standard here?
China has also been proactive on Africa's debt burden. They regularly cancel the loans of Afrikan countries in return for contracts that favour Chinese businesses - loans that were usually granted at zero interest.
They do this without the long dance of negotiations and questionable conditions required by the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But there is usually a big price to pay for this as there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Of course this worries the international financial institutions: Their leverage is weakened. But as William Easterly has demonstrated, there is scant evidence that conditionality ever worked to bring about economic growth in Afrika.
Chinese leaders do see the costs of stepping into oil-based conflicts. Fourteen Chinese were recently kidnapped in two separate incidents in Nigeria, where China has huge investments.
China has become a major investor in Sudan, an oil market off-limits for the United States because of congressional sanctions.
When Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Sudan a few weeks back, however, journalists reported that the Chinese president “chided” his Sudanese counterpart, delivering a “blunt message” on the crisis in Darfur.
True, China is not going to push for democracy. But political stability and a more peaceful and prosperous Afrika are clearly in its interest.
China's huge demand for Afrika's commodities is creating new opportunities for Afrikan governments to realize the hopes of their people for a better life supposedly.
However as in the case in Angola, according to a report by Transparency International in 2009 entitled Corruption Perceptions Index that corruption in Angola has steadily gotten worse and the report stated that a Chinese company, The China Investment Fund, a prominent private investment company that has extensive ties to Sonangol is fuelling corruption in Angola by turning a blind eye to local corruption as long as China gets what it wants.
There was a recent scandal over the Chinese container ship that docked in South Afrika with three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 3,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 1,500 mortars heading for Mugabe's regime that was turned back in the wake of the public outcry, but that cargo is as nothing compared with what does get through.
Earlier in the year, China, together with Russia, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Mugabe and 13 of his political and military associates.
This included an arms embargo, a strict travel ban on the leadership, and financial restrictions. You can see why China didn't want to know.
As the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Zhou Wenzhong, put it: 'Business is ... We try to separate politics from business.'
Put another way, they try to separate human control from human decency. He also had the nerve (they have plenty) to say they don't believe in interfering in the internal affairs of other countries - which is precisely what they demonstrably do.
A 'veteran diplomat' quoted in a British newspaper said: 'China is easier to do business with because it doesn't care about human rights in Africa - just as it does not care about them in its own country. All the Chinese care about is money.'
This is so true when one reads the TUC report into Chinese human rights abuses across the continent including here in Ghana, where unknown to the vast majority of Ghanaians that the Chinese have committed human rights violations in Ghana.
This was highlighted in the report citing the building if the Bui Dam in the Brong Ahafo Region and the construction of the Essipon Stadium in the Western Region.
However because of diplomatic niceties, these human rights violations have been largely ignored.
For 'Chinese', read the Illuminati families working through China and the gofers and pig-troughers who serve them.
It is increasingly the same story across Afrika, including DR Congo, Zambia, Angola, Nigeria and, most grotesquely, Sudan. Here the Chinese dictators are supplying the Sudanese government with arms to unleash the genocidal attacks on hundreds of thousands of people in the Darfur region in what have been dubbed 'Afrika's killing fields'.
China now buys half of Sudan's oil and in return supplies its government and military with the means to instigate genocide. It is a classic tale of Afrika since the colonialists arrived - control the government, supply the arms and money to sustain them, and hijack their people and resources.
But the Chinese invasion of Afrika goes well beyond just weapons and money for oil and other resources. This is about control, eventually total control.
The Chinese are dumping their products on the Afrikan market, often appallingly made by sweatshop workers earning a pittance, and the Afrikan people are taking the consequences - as was reported in another paper some time back that revealed faulty Chinese electrical plugs and goods that were on the Ghanaian market.
The Chinese tyranny at home means they can produce goods to undercut the competition and thus impose their tyranny elsewhere. As with countries across the world, the flood of artificially-cheap Chinese goods is destroying Afrikan producers and jobs.
It has devastated Afrikan industry with, for example, only ten textile factories now surviving in Kenya compared with 200 a mere five years ago.
The affect of this Chinese colonialism was described in a British newspaper report: 'Across Africa, the red flag of China is flying. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy its commodities - oil, platinum, gold and minerals. New embassies and air routes are opening up.
The continent's new Chinese elite can be seen everywhere, shopping at their own expensive boutiques, driving Mercedes and BMW limousines, sending their children exclusive private schools.
The pot-holed roads are cluttered with Chinese buses, taking people to markets filled with cheap Chinese goods. More than a thousand miles of new Chinese railroads are crisscrossing the continent, carrying billions of tons of illegally-logged timber, diamonds and gold.
The trains are linked to ports dotted around the coast, waiting to carry the goods back to Beijing after unloading cargoes of cheap toys made in China.
Confucius Institutes (state-funded Chinese "cultural centers" have sprung up Africa, as far afield as the tiny land-locked countries of Burundi and Rwanda, teaching baffled local people how to do business in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Massive dams are being built, flooding nature reserves. The land is scarred with giant Chinese mines, with "slave" labourers paid less than a £1 a day to extract ore and minerals. Pristine forests are being destroyed, with China taking up to70 per cent of all timber from Africa.
All over this great continent, the Chinese presence is swelling into a flood ...
Exclusive, gated compounds, serving only Chinese food, and where no blacks are
allowed, are being built all over the continent. "African cloths" sold in markets on the continent are now almost always imported, bearing the legend: "Made in China".'
The African people themselves are irrelevant to these neo-colonizers and the Chinese import their own labour from home rather than employ locals.
It has gone so far in Angola that the government allows 70-per-cent of public works put out to 'tender' to be given to Chinese companies employing overwhelmingly Chinese workers. They have even shipped in Chinese prisoners to do the work as cheaply as possible.
This has the potential, and indeed the ambition, of being the most deadly and destructive phase of the conquest of Africa and don't let anyone kid themselves there is a political answer to this.
The political system is owned by those behind the agenda and either there is a massive campaign of non-cooperation with the imposition of this new slavery - or what is planned will happen.
This Chinese colonialism, both physically and by monopolizing global production, is a fundamental part of their plan for world domination.
As the TUC report into Chinese human rights violations in Afrika states that the current trade patterns between China and Afrikan countries were similar to the same exploitative trade and investments traditionally engaged with the West confirming my prognosis that the current "arrangement" between China and Afrika is just another form of economic enslavement.
Also the report stresses the point that if this exploitative "arrangement" continues then Afrikan countries risk the danger of having nothing to show for their engagement with China.
Furthermore regarding employment issues the report goers onto to say that Chinese employers were openly hostile to their workers and frowned on unions meaning that Ghanaian workers were vulnerable to violations of their human rights.
Therefore what the above feature highlights is that the Chinese invasion of Ghana and Afrika is just another form of economic enslavement that leaves Afrika further impoverished.