China in Africa: Saint or Sinner?

China in Africa: Saint or Sinner?

To hear our media (and Hilary Clinton) tell it, China is exploiting Africa for its own selfish reasons and is acting like we used to when we were colonial masters of the African continent. But, as these interviews–with people who actually know what they’re talking about–show, the truth is very different: Africans are overwhelmingly grateful for China’s contribution to their development. And African leaders are very grateful for, as one put it, “Giving us an alternative to begging for Western aid”.

Dr. Dambisa Moyo
The first person to speak is Dambia Moyo, in conversation with John Stewart of Daily Show fame. John, a very smart guy, keeps it light and fast-paced and Dr. Moyo provides some surprising facts about China in Africa.

 

Dambisa Moyo, inciedntally is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers

“Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa”, “How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead” and ”Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World”. She completed a doctorate in Economics at Oxford University and holds a Masters degree from Harvard University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance at the American University in Washington D.C.

Here’s the clip. Sorry it looks funny. Comedy Central made it that way…
If you enjoyed this 7-minute clip, watch the whole, two-part interview. The links are: Dambisa Moyo and John Stewart, Part 1 and Dambisa Moyo and John Stewart, Part 2

 

Dr. Brautigan

Our next speaker is Deborah Brautigan. Deborah Brautigan’s Blog, China in Africa: The Real Story, is an essential resource for reliable information about China in Africa. Deborah is Professor and Director, International Development Program, Johns Hopkins University/SAIS; senior research fellow at IFPRI, and author of The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa. A China scholar, Dr. Brautigan first went to Africa in 1983 to research Chinese engagement and never stopped.

Deborah is not only a scholar, she’s also a detective. When we read in the Western press that “China has bought thousands of hectares of African farmland in Lesotho (or anywhere in Africa), she jumps on a plane and flies, jeeps, and bikes to the “Chinese” land. The result of her investigations? The Chinese own NO significant farmland in Africa. Surprised? Listen to her interview with Australia’s ABC Radio.

To complete this media extravaganza, here’s an interview with Edward Bishop on Africa.

And here’s a recent example of  just why so many Africans think so positively about China:
What Kenya Stands to Gain from Trade With the Chinese

The just-ended Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) was held in Beijing.Being the first in the second decade of this century, the conference served as a major link between the past and future in developing China-Africa relations.

The past three years since the last FOCAC conference in 2009 have witnessed the remarkable progress in China-Kenyan economic and trade cooperation as the Chinese government made great efforts in implementing the eight new measures it announced at the conference.

China has implemented the measures in various sectors that include medical care, human resource development, education, credit and financing, amongst others.

In terms of cooperation in medical care and public health service, China has funded the construction of the Malaria Prevention and Treatment Centre and the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Nairobi, and also provided 10 million rmb Yuan worth of medical supplies and equipment to the hospital. Another batch of medical equipment will be delivered soon.

In human resource development and education, China has gradually expanded the scale of the training programme for Kenyan officials and technicians and organised both multilateral and bilateral training courses.

Over the last three years, the number of trainees has increased steadily from 158 in 2009 to 398 in 2011. The training also covered a wide spectrum, including economy and trade, agriculture, medical service, communication and education.

With regard to co-operation in development and use of new energy, China will provide Kenya with 490 sets of small scale solar energy equipment, construct the Irati Small Hydropower Station and the Chemoisit Small Hydropower Station and drill seven boreholes in the Eastern and Rift Valley provinces.

China has offered concessional loans and preferential export buyer’s credit to support a large number of infrastructure and social development projects in Kenya, with the total credit amounting to billions of rmb Yuan.

These include Nairobi Eastern and Northern Bypass, Nairobi Southern Bypass, Nairobi-Thika Highway (Lot 3), Kenya Power Distribution Upgrading and Strengthening Project, Kenya E-government Project, Technical Industrial Vocational Entrepreneurship Training Project, Olkaria Geothermal Field Production Well Drilling and the Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital. China has also offered a special loan to support Kenyan small and medium-sized enterprises in tea production, power generation, rural power grids and regional aviation, among others.

It has also made a rapid progress in the engineering contracting market since 1985 and Chinese companies have been building transport, communication and electricity infrastructure in Kenya to improve local conditions for economic growth and self-development.

The projects include Nairobi-Thika Highway, Marsabit-Turbi (A2) Highway, the new Unit 4 Passenger Terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Berth No 19 at the port of Mombasa.

China has made investments in different areas, such as motorcycle and car manufacturing, energy development, building materials, real estate and tourism. China’s increased investment saw it become the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in Kenya in 2011. The cumulative direct investment reaches $280 million. Business Daily.

As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged. Issues like this need more than just one opinion. And do feel free to add links to useful sources and stories!

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