Obama accuses China of not benefitting Africans

By The Rainbow
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US President Barack Obama gestures during a press conference with South African President at the Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 29, 2013. Photo/AFP  AFP

US President Barrack Obama on Saturday threw a jab at China's operations in Africa by claiming some of its business deals on the continent are not benefitting Africans.

Addressing a gathering of youth at the University of Johannesburg, and which was also beamed live to several other countries, Mr Obama stated that the US policy is to see Africans reap big from interacting with any country in the world.

'I want to make sure that as countries come to Africa that is benefiting Africans. So, somebody is building a road here in Africa, make sure they are hiring some Africans,' he said in response to a question from a Kenyan on how the US is responding to China's forage on the continent.

'If there is going to be manufacturing taking place of raw materials, locate some of those plants here in Africa. I do want to make sure that whoever you are dealing with, make sure you are getting a good deal.'

Mr Obama who is on a three-country tour of Africa in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania argued that the US was not against any country doing business in Africa but was against exploitation of Africa by countries abroad.

China has been growing its business on the continent and winning some of the biggest contracts in road, port and housing constructions in countries such as Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Ghana. But the Far East country has been accused of giving Sh5 to Africa and taking away Sh20.

The Chinese are also accused of using their own people in doing jobs of contracts they win in Africa.

'Our commitment to Africa is based on our belief in Africa's promise and Africa's future and we want to be part of that. I think everybody should be involved in Africa,' he told the audience.

'I want china and I want India, I want Brazil and I want Singapore…everybody, come on! …because six of the ten fastest growing economies are right here in Africa.'

'We are in a global economy with a global supply chain. I don't want Africa to continue to be at the bottom of this supply chain.

Mr Obama who was addressing youth in South Africa and others in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria via teleconference also sort to restate his reasons for skipping Kenya in his tour, but argued he would visit before his term ends.

'What is also true, I won't deny, is that Kenya just had elections but in the new administration that also has to manage some of the international issues around the ICC, I did not think it was the optimal time for me to visit,' he said adding that he had after all come to Kenya many times before he was president.

'But as I said, I have got three and a half years (in office) and so if in three years and seven months am not in Kenya, then you can fault me for not following on true my promise.