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At a recently held meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, China’s leaders unveiled a dramatic long-term plan to integrate some 400 million countryside dwellers into urban environments by concentrating growth-promoting development in small and medium sized cities.

 

In stark contrast to the neglected emphasis placed on infrastructure development in the United States and Europe, China spends around $500 billion annually on infrastructural projects, with $6.4 trillion set-aside for its 10-year mass urbanization scheme, making it the largest rural-to-urban migration project in human history. China’s leaders have mega-development in focus, and realizing such epic undertakings not only requires the utilization of time-efficient high-volume production methods, but also resources - lots and lots of resources. It should come as no surprise that incoming Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first trip as head of state will take him to Africa, to deepen the mutually beneficial trade and energy relationships maintained throughout the continent that have long irked policy makers in Washington.

 

The new guy in charge - who some analysts have suggested could be a populist reformer that empathizes with the poor - will visit several African nations with whom China has expressed a desire to expand ties with, the most prominent being South Africa. Since establishing relations in 1998, bilateral trade between the two jumped from $1.5 billion to 16 billion as of 2012.

 

Following a relationship that has consisted predominately of economic exchanges, China and South Africa have now announced plans to enhance military ties in a show of increasing political and security cooperation. During 2012’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting, incumbent President Hu Jintao served up $20 billion in loans to African countries, which were designated for the construction of vital infrastructure such as new roads, railways and ports to enable higher volumes of trade and export. In his address to the forum, South African President Jacob Zuma spoke of the long-term unsustainability of the current model of Sino-African trade, whereby raw materials are sent out and manufactured commodities are sent in.


Zuma also stated, "Africa's past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies. We certainly are convinced that China's intention is different to that of Europe, which to date continues to attempt to influence African countries for their sole benefit." Xi’s visit highlights the importance China attaches to Sino-African ties, and during his stay, he will attend the fifth meeting of the BRICS, the first summit held on the African continent to accommodate leaders of the world’s most prominent emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The BRICS group, which accounts for around 43% of the world's population and 17% of global trade, is set to increase investments in Africa’s industrial sector threefold, from $150-billion in 2010 to $530- billion in 2015, under the theme "BRICS and Africa: partnership for development, integration, and industrialization".

 

With focus shifting toward building up the continent’s industrial sector, South Africa is no doubt seen as a springboard into Africa and a key development partner on the continent for other BRICS members. Analysts have likened the BRICS group to represent yet another significant step away from a unipolar global economic order, and it comes as no surprise. As Eurozone countries languish with austerity cuts, record unemployment and major demand contraction, the European Union in South Africa's total trade has declined from 36% in 2005 to 26.5% in 2011, while the BRIC countries total trade increased from 10% in 2005 to 18.6% in 2011. The value and significance of the BRICS platform comes in its ability to proliferate South-South political and economic ties, and one should expect the reduction of trade barriers and the gradual adoption of economic exchanges using local currencies. China’s ICBC paid $5.5 billion for a 20% stake in Standard Bank of South Africa in 2007, and the move has played out well for Beijing - Standard has over 500 branches across 17 African countries which has drastically increased availability of the Chinese currency, offering yuan accounts to expatriate traders.

 

It looks like the love story that has become of China and Africa will gradually begin shifting its emphasis toward building up a viable large-scale industrial base. Surveys out of Beijing cite 1,600 companies tapping into the use of Africa as an industrial base with manufacturing's share of total Chinese investment (22%) fast gaining on that meted out to the mining sector (29%). Gavin du Venage, writing for the Asia Times Online, highlights how Beijing’s policy toward Africa aims to be mutually beneficial and growth-promoting, “Chinese energy firm Sinopec teamed up with South African counterpart PetroSA to explore building a US$11 billion oil refinery on the country's west coast. Refineries are notoriously unprofitable, with razor-thin margins. Since South Africa has no significant oil or proven gas reserves itself, the proposed plant would depend on imports, and would have to serve the local market to be viable. The plant will therefore serve the South African market and not be used to process exports to China. This is only the latest of such investments that demonstrate a willingness by Chinese investors to put down roots and infrastructure in Africa. It also shows that China's dragon safari is about more than just sourcing commodities for export.”

 

Indeed, and Beijing’s dragon safari is loaded with a packed itinerary, with Mao-bucks flying everywhere from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Nigeria and Angola. Xi Jinping will also grace the Angolan capital of Luanda, where China had provided the oil-rich nation with some $4.5 billion in loans since 2002. Following Angola’s 27-year civil war that began in 1975, Beijing played a major role in Angola's reconstruction process, with 50 large-scale and state-owned companies and over 400 private companies operating in the country; it has since become China's largest trading partner in Africa with a bilateral trade volume at some $20 billion dollars annually. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Bolun was quoted as saying how he saw great potential in further developing Sino-Angolan relations and assisting the nation in reducing its dependence on oil revenues while giving priority to the development of farming, service industries, renewable energies, transport and other basic infrastructure.

 

Chinese commercial activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have significantly increased not only in the mining sector, but also considerably in the telecommunications field. In 2000, the Chinese ZTE Corporation finalized a $12.6 million deal with the Congolese government to establish the first Sino-Congolese telecommunications company, while the Kinshasa exported $1.4 billion worth of cobalt to Beijing between 2007 and 2008. The majority of Congolese raw materials like cobalt, copper ore and a variety of hard woods are exported to China for further processing and 90% of the processing plants in resource-rich southeastern Katanga province are owned by Chinese nationals. In 2008, a consortium of Chinese companies were granted the rights to mining operations in Katanga in exchange for $6 billion in infrastructure investments, including the construction of two hospitals, four universities and a hydroelectric power project, but the International Monetary Fund intervened and blocked the deal, arguing that the agreement between violated the foreign debt relief program for so-called HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) nations.

 

China has made significant investments in manufacturing zones in non-resource-rich economies such as Zambia and Tanzania and as Africa’s largest trading partner, China imports 1.5 million barrels of oil from Africa per day, approximately accounting for 30 percent of its total imports. In Ghana, China has invested in Ghanaian national airlines that serve primarily domestic routes, in addition to partnering with the Ghanaian government on a major infrastructural project to build the Bui Hydroelectric Dam. China-Africa trade rose from $10.6 billion in 2000 to $106.8 billion in 2008 with an annual growth rate of over 30 percent. By the end of 2009, China had canceled out more than 300 zero-interest loans owed by 35 heavily indebted needy countries and least developed countries in Africa. China is by far the largest financier on the entire continent, and Beijing’s economic influence in Africa is nowhere more apparent than the $200 million African Union headquarters situated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - which was funded solely by China.

 

China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mineral sector, telecommunications industry and much needed infrastructural projects is creating "deep nervousness" in the West, according to David Shinn, the former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. During a diplomatic tour of Africa in 2011, former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton insinuated China’s guilt in perpetuating a creeping “new colonialism”. When it comes to Africa, the significant differences in these two powers' key economic, foreign policy strategies and worldviews are nowhere more apparent. Washington has evidently launched its efforts to counter China's influence throughout the African continent, and where Beijing focuses on economic development, the United States has sought to legitimize its presence through counterterrorism operations and the expansion of the United States Africa Command, better known as AFRICOM - a outpost of the US military designated solely for operations on the African continent.

 

During an AFRICOM in 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller cited AFRICOM’s guiding principle of protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market,” before emphasizing how the increasing presence of China is a major challenge to US interests in the region. Washington recently announced that US Army teams will be deployed to as many as 35 African countries in early 2013 for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa - primarily to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda. Given Mr. Obama’s proclivity toward the proliferation of UAV drone technology, one could imagine these moves as laying the groundwork for future US military interventions using such technology in Africa on a wider scale than that already seen in Somalia and Mali. Here lays the deep hypocrisy in accusations of Beijing’s purported “new colonialism” - China is focused on building industries, increasing development, and improving administrative and well as physical infrastructure - the propagation of force, which one would historically associate with a colonizer, is entirely absent from the Chinese approach.

 

Obviously, the same cannot be said of the United States, whose firepower-heavy tactics have in recent times have enabled militancy and lawlessness, as seen in the fallout of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 2011 bombing campaign in Libya with notable civilian causalities. As Xi Jingping positions himself in power over a nation undertaking some of the grandest development projects the world has ever known, Beijing’s relationship with the African continent will be a crucial one. While everything looks good on paper, Xi’s administration must earn the trust of their African constituents by keeping a closer eye on operations happening on the ground. The incoming administration must do more to scrutinize the conduct of Chinese conglomerates and business practices with a genuine focus on adhering to local environmental regulations, safety standards and sound construction methods. The current trajectory China has set itself upon will do much to enable mutually beneficial economic development, in addition to bolstering an independent Global South - a little less red then how Mao wanted it, but close enough.

 

NB/JR

Nile Bowie is an independent political commentator and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More articles by Nile Bowie

 

 

 

 

Friday, 08 February 2013 22:06

Chinese Tourists on a roll in Africa

 

Growing Chinese tourist numbers give new impetus to industry growth, job creation

 

During the past 30 years tourism has been one of the fastest growing industries in Africa, so much so that it has become an important driver of economic growth and a key strategy for regional cooperation among African economies.

 

Though Africa has been blessed with abundant tourism resources, the industry was previously largely confined to North Africa. The real impetus for the industry came during the 1970s when sub-Saharan African destinations started appearing in tourist itineraries. Since then the industry has gone from strength to strength and Africa is a must-see destination for most global travelers.

 

Looking at tourist footfalls over the years, it is not surprising to see that Chinese tourists to Africa have not only played a big role in the development of tourism, but also risen significantly in numbers in the past few years. As far as Chinese tourists are concerned, the biggest growth has been spurred by the deep pockets of the rising middle-class population.

 

According to industry estimates, there are 17 African destinations that are quite popular with Chinese tourists. The most sought-after African destinations are the tourist attractions in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. However, some Chinese travel agencies have recently added Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tunisia, with most of the attractions catering to the tastes of middle-class tourists.

 

There are four reasons as to why more Chinese tourists are now flocking to Africa.

 

 

First, the continent's natural landscape, warm people, long history and rich and unique flora and fauna have captivated many Chinese tourists. For most of these tourists, Africa is a captivating destination that has no parallels in Europe or the US. Undoubtedly there is a growing desire among Chinese tourists to build closer relations with their African brethren.

 

With the continuous improvement of education levels, especially the growing popularity of English education, middle-class tourists from China, especially those from the second and third-tier cities, are increasingly opting for "do-it-yourself" itineraries in Africa. These tourists do not want to be confined by the rigid package tours of travel agencies, and instead want to explore the vast continent's forests, snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, rivers, swamps and deserts in their own way and interact with the African people.

 

The annual Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and other major meetings also promote and motivate more tourist flows to Africa.

 

The second major reason for growing tourist numbers is the good connectivity and easy timing of travel to most African destinations.

 

With the deepening of China-Africa relations and the development of economic and trade ties, most of the major African carriers have started non-stop flights to Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. It takes only 10 hours from Mauritius to reach Hong Kong, similar to a non-stop flight from Beijing to London. In addition, destinations like Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cairo and Addis Ababa are connected through daily flights from Hong Kong, Beijing and Guangzhou. In other words, in 12 to 14 hours a Chinese tourist can reach Africa.

 

The extra emphasis that most African countries are putting on tourism development is the third major factor for more tourist flows. In addition to the multiple-entry visas for Chinese tourists launched a year ago, many African countries now have reduced their visa processing period to between five and seven days. This makes travel to African countries easier and faster.

 

Compared with traditional European and US visa procedures, Chinese travelers only need to submit some basic information to African embassies. African countries have no demanding requirements over proof of property ownership, financial guarantees and personal privacy.

 

African countries such as Benin and Mauritius have even accorded a visa-free status to Chinese tourists. Tourism bureaus in many African countries have developed publicity strategies tailored specially to the Chinese market.

 

Some African countries use their celebrities and new media to attract tourists. Others like Egypt, Kenya and South Africa have increased their advertising exposure on China Central Television and several other provincial TV stations to draw more Chinese tourists.

 

Growing health awareness is the fourth and most compelling reason that is helping grow tourism in Africa. Most middle-class tourists from China are those who live in the cities and hence do not get much chance for outdoor activities like mountaineering, parachuting, trekking in the tropical rainforest, desert adventures and cross-country competitions. Africa has all of these and many more other attractions.

 

Due to natural and historical reasons, many countries in Africa have gone through long periods of underdevelopment. The financial, material and technical conditions are often weak and the transportation system is not perfect.

 

Despite the rich tourism resources, the lack of sufficient human, material and financial resources has often hindered large-scale systematic development. It is difficult to carry out effective marketing for existing tourism resources, resulting in a considerable number of high-quality tourism resources not living up to their names.

 

Africa has not yet formed a complete transportation network. Though its international ocean shipping network is relatively comprehensive, it is still limited mostly to the eastern coastal regions that are closer to the Eurasian continent.

 

In recent years, the aviation industry in Africa has been growing rapidly, but the number of connections between African countries and other countries is still limited. Airports with large passenger aircraft are mostly concentrated in a small number of relatively developed countries and cities.

 

As far as road traffic is concerned, most of the intra-African traffic lines extend from the coastal ports, but some of these highway systems are out of date and easily jammed, thereby posing challenges to travel.

 

Tourism plays an irreplaceable role in promoting employment, reducing poverty and improving foreign exchange earnings. Due to the lack of funds and the lack of development in the service economy, scenic construction, tourism product development, tourism facilities and service standards show some deficiencies, and have more room for improvement in terms of food, accommodation, transportation, shopping and entertainment.

 

Africa is also home to thousands of languages (of course, the main languages are French, English, Portuguese and Arabic). Multilingual tour guides are rare in Africa, with tour guides who can speak Chinese even harder to find.

 

Natural disasters and occasional armed conflicts in Africa, coupled with its lack of financial and human resources, also pose a threat to many of the world heritage-listed sites in Africa. Although the number of world heritage sites in Africa accounts for 13 percent of the global total, in terms of endangered World Heritage sites, Africa accounts for more than 50 percent.

 

Overall, with its unique tradition and culture, the continent is bound to attract more Chinese tourists.

 

Zhang Qizuo is professor of economics and vice-president of Chengdu University, who specializes in China-Africa trade and investment.

 

Chinese migrants in Ghana are growing and so is their notoriety, says a study by a nominee of the African Thesis Awards 2012. Yet according to Judith Zoetelief, the author of the nominated thesis, many Chinese workers do not know they have a bad reputation.

 

"Hey, Chinaman!" shouts a Ghanaian man from across the road as he passes by on his bicycle in Tamale, the Northern Region's capital. The words are directed at Ke Hua, a mechanic from a small town in China's Guangxi province, who does respond to the shout even though it does not sound unfriendly.

 

When Dutch researcher Zoetelief, who observed the exchange, asked why, he kept quiet. Ke Hua said that he had not even heard the cyclist. In fact, his understanding of English was so limited he could not have responded.

 

Falling on deaf ears

 

Renewed political and economical relations between China and Ghana have gone hand in hand with the increased presence of this migrant group. The most recent and visible wave began gathering speed in the mid-1990s. But since the early 2000s, a growing number of negative reports have been appearing in Ghanaian media.

 

From Chinese men fathering African children to Chinese companies allegedly sending over ex-convicts as labourers, the Ghanaian rumour mill has been churning stories and complaints about the migrants.

 

But according to Zoetelief, the majority of Chinese migrants are not aware of their negative reputation. What's more, they report not having experienced hostile attitudes from Ghanaians. According to the study, this lack of consciousness is caused by their limited access to information and their inability to read newspaper reports in English.

 

At the same time, the social encounters Ghanaians have had with Chinese construction workers have kept the stories circulating. Many Ghanaians in Tamale believe, for example, that the Chinese workers they witnessed building the Tamale Stadium were convicts. Why? According to some of the study's Ghanaian interviewees, the workers looked "dirty".

 

"This is bullshit!"

 

The topic turned out to be a controversial one among Chinese construction workers interviewed in the study. None appeared to have heard these accusations and were shocked when confronted with them.

 

One of the workers is quoted by Zoetelief as saying: "How would any country be able to send their convicts to work in a foreign country? This is just impossible. This is bullshit!"

 

"Who says these things? From what country are these people, because they obviously don't know China," another worker states.

 

During the interviews it appeared, too, that the stadium builders were held responsible for the severe drought in the summer of 2006. According to a Canadian Chinese school volunteer: "I was told that Tamale was experiencing the worst drought of the decade. Chinese construction workers at the soccer stadium were blamed for the drought. Rumours about Chinese witchcraft started spreading because there was no rain since the construction of the stadium commenced."

 

Little understanding

 

Despite these negative stories, none of the Chinese workers told Zoetelief they felt unwelcome or treated with hostility by Ghanaians in Tamale. What the workers did experience was a sense of unfamiliarity. The Chinese informants believed that their national hosts have little understanding or knowledge of China, which, according to Zoetelief, is likely to be true.

 

Radio Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 09 November 2012 22:29

Africa and the Chinese Invasion

Africa and the Chinese Invasion: Some Nuts and Bolts in the Craft Sector

 

I began this blog post almost a year ago, and even today, I still have mixed feelings about the role of China in Africa. Africa needs help, I really believe Africans can do it themselves but after years of colonialism and independence, we are still in our infancy as Modern nations. Africa was transformed with western intervention; now the east is coming in with their version of transformation. I am still waiting for Africans to build their countries. I am traditional African that way but the global African sees the need for some help. The truth really is -- that the world is co-dependent, whether it is Africa and the West or Africa and the East.

 

I first noticed the Chinese invasion when I arrived in Nigeria on my way to Calabar in 2000. There was a large group of Chinese people -- almost twenty, on my flight and at the airport; they were unloading about 20 computers. To be frank, as an African, I stared at them. It is what we Africans bold-face do on the continent when we see strangers.

 

The next time, I saw more Chinese was when I went looking for furniture for my family home in Calabar. It was suggested I go the EPZ - The Calabar Export Processing Zone. There, I found a Chinese furniture company making products and training Nigerians. I bought some furniture and talked extensively with the Chinese owner who had opted to sleep in his office (in a room next to the office) as opposed to renting a "huge house". He looked at it this way: I will keep the $10,000 and send it home to my wife in China. I thought that was unusual as most westerners came to work and took all the amenities provided: a house, a driver and tickets for their family members who came to visit or lived in the country. I knew then that the Chinese were unusual business thinkers.

 

Almost ten years later, I went to the Falomo Shopping Center area in Lagos and discovered next to it was a building which was a stark reminder of the New York Jewelry wholesale district. There, I discovered that most shops were owned by Chinese people selling cheap jewelry, clothing and fake Nigerian fabrics. What had Nigeria come to? I wondered. China was deep in Lagos. How did this happen?

 

And just last month, I posted a series of articles on Facebook an article on Senegalese banning Chinese from some of their markets and in Kano, Nigeria - the same phenomena -- where the government arrested Chinese for illegal trading of textiles. I see ordinary Africans are fighting back in small measures.

 

China became another reminder when my friend Leslie-Ann Murray got a teaching position in Beijing and we spent the last of the summer realizing she would be a black woman in China who did not speak a word of Chinese and she wondered how she would get things done. What a reminder, indeed. So, as she begins her adventures, we are talking often and she is blogging on her experience here.

 

China's invasion of Africa is riddled with fear and concern from the west and less for African countries that are still recovering or have not recovered from the west's colonization. It is amazing to see the Chinese who came to Africa about 600 years ago to help build it as workers return as owners. That transformation is vital - to global Africans like me who are watching carefully, it is important to learn from them. There are lessons from this transformation. It is a lesson for Africa to understand that we have the ability to do this too. We just need a grand plan that we can execute. The Chinese have one.

 

The main issue for Africans however is the major problem: Africa's resources - water, oil, and diamonds, etc. are being sold to the Chinese. This sale is a bit different from the "reaping" of Africa during its colonial period with the West, but just because you pay for something does not mean it is not the same equivalency of the theft. The theft is of the resources that should be shared by Africans.

 

The minor problem for Africa in the Chinese invasion is one that most people are not paying attention to - its artisan sector. I see the reality as a business owner who tries to buy authentic African fabrics and clothing. I have to be more careful sourcing Africa textiles. The Chinese have invaded its entire textile sector and frankly, helped destroy it like the west. It is time for Africa to really fight back and require a 'Made in Africa' label which also lists the country of production. Europe already buried Africa's textiles with Dutch Wax fabric and Africans preference for it versus their local fabric helped create the breakdown of the textile industry.

 

Recently, African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) was extended by the US government and it includes the Third Country Bill which many are applauding but I am concerned about. It is because it makes African clothing not authentic to a particular country. According to the defenders of the bill: "By giving African manufacturers the freedom to purchase fabric from outside the continent to sew garments for export to the U.S. market, AGOA's Third Country Fabric provision will save approximately 300,000 textile and apparel-related jobs which support 10 million people. It also saves U.S. taxpayers $5 million." My take is that Africa needs to create for its population, build its industries and not just rely on export. Simply, we have people to feed, house and clothe.

 

Countries like Nigeria with 150 million people still need a focus on Nigerian-only made clothing because rebuilding the textile and clothing industries is imperative. African countries should maintain their authentic textiles - and this exception will create an inauthentic version of textiles and clothing. The focus on export maybe good for business but we really need to develop our economies focused on serving our people's needs. Most of the textile industries across the continent are dying or are not supported; this is a problem and further cannibalization of it by intermixing of fabrics and textiles loses authenticity of the fabric and design.

 

The Chinese invasion of Africa speaks volumes - in many ways, Africa needs China's help to develop but I am still a strong believer in Africans doing it themselves. We are a continent of grand bargains - the west divided us into countries and we got some of our independence from them and with the eastern invasion, we still have not had time to do it ourselves - and as nations that are about 50 years old, we are still too young to figure it out. In time, we will.

 

Atim Oton, blogger at Huffington Post is a Designer and Co-Founder of Black Design News Network

 

A 16-year-old Chinese national was killed and more than 100 others were detained by Ghanaian police for suspected illegal gold mining, the Chinese Embassy in Accra said on Sunday.

 

Ghana's police and immigration officials launched a joint action on Thursday and Friday to investigate illegal gold mining activities by foreigners in the Ashanti region and arrested more than 100 Chinese citizens, the embassy said.

 

On one mining site near Manso, a township close to the region's capital Kumasi, policemen on Thursday destroyed mining facilities and work sheds. In the operation, the boy, known as Chen, was shot dead when he tried to escape, the embassy said.

 

Ghana President John Dramani Mahama   credit:  ChinaDaily


Upon learning the news, Chinese Ambassador Gong Jianzhong urgently met Ghanaian Deputy Foreign Minister Chris Kpodo and National Security Coordinator Larry Gbevlo Lartey and expressed serious concerns over the death of Chen and the detention of Chinese workers. The ambassador demanded thorough investigation into the shooting and compensation for the family of the victim.

 

The Ghanaian government has expressed deep sorrow over the death of the Chinese boy and promised to investigate the case.

 

The Chinese Embassy called on all Chinese in Ghana to abide by related laws and regulations to safeguard their legal interests.

 

According to Ghanaian laws, foreign companies are only allowed to work independently on large and open-pit mines.

 

A majority of Chinese workers in Ghana work in road and harbor constructions, gas pipeline projects and other China-aided projects.

 

Source: CriEnglish.com

 

 

 

 

China is offering Nigeria $1.1 billion in loans to help the West African nation build airport terminals, a light rail line for its capital city and communication system improvements, the country's Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

 

The loans reflect the deepening economic ties between oil-rich Nigeria and China, which already is involved in building major road and railway projects in the nation. However, similar deals with China have fallen apart amid corruption allegations, problems that persist today and could potentially put this new deal at risk as well.

 

The light rail project for Abuja, the nation's central capital, would bring commuters in from suburbs surrounding the city's distant international airport and from neighbouring Nasarawa state, the finance ministry said. That project would cost about $500 million, the ministry said.

 

Another project, valued at $100 million, part of a loan deal already signed involving the light rail, would go toward improving Nigeria's Internet capability, the ministry said.

 

The 20-year, 2.5 per cent interest loan for those two projects has a grace period of seven years before payment is required, the ministry said.

 

Separately, another $500 million loan will go toward building airport terminals in Abuja, Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt, the statement read. Airports in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with more than 160 million people largely sit in disrepair as most were built in the 1960s and 1970s.

scmp.com

Chinese diplomatic officials in Nigeria could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

 

The loans come as China increasingly looks across Africa for raw minerals and supplies to fuel a massive economy that has slowed in recent years during the economic downturn. Addax Petroleum, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec Group, already pumps crude oil from Nigeria, although it is a relatively small amount compared to other Western companies operating there.

 

China also has been mentioned as a possible bidder for oil blocks in the country, though experts believe past Nigerian governments only have used the Chinese interest to force Western firms to increase their own bids.

 

Recently, Chinese workers helped reconstruct parts of Nigeria's moribund railroad system and have built roads and other projects in the country. But other projects haven't fared as well. In 2006, then-President Olusegun Obasanjo signed an $8 billion deal with the Chinese to repair his nation's railroads, with no visible effect.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has acted on a tip-off from an informant to pick the girls up

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)  in Abuja paraded 13 Chinese nationals who were arrested on suspicion of engaging in prostitution in the country.

 

NIS spokesman, Joachim Olumba, said the suspects were apprehended in Lagos following a tip off from an informant.

 

He said the service received a report on the activities of some Chinese nationals who connived with some Nigerians to traffic teenage girls into the country under the pretext of offering them jobs in factories.

 

A distress call from one of the victims prompted the immigration service to carry out a raid on some operational locations of some of the syndicates.

 

“Having gathered intelligence information, operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service swooped on the operational locations of the syndicates at No. 18, 24 and 26B Emena Crescent, Ikeja, Lagos,” he said, “During the operations a total number of 13 Chinese nationals made up of 11 females and two males were arrested.”

 

He said preliminary investigation confirmed that most of the women were sponsored into the country by some “criminal human traffickers who are currently at large”.

 

Olumba, however, expressed the regret that the informant who made the distress call that led to the investigation and arrest of the suspects, had yet to be rescued because she did not give a clear description of her location in Lagos.

 

“It is unfortunate that we have not been able to rescue the lady who called us, because she only provided the number of the house where she is being held, without the name of the street. We want to use this opportunity to solicit for information from the public that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of this ignoble business and rescue of our informant,” Olumba said.

 

In her statement, the NIS Arresting Officer, Chinwe Obi, said the Chinese Embassy in Abuja was in touch with the suspects, and that arrangements were being made to ease them out of the country.

 

One of the victims, Lu Yui Suan, however, denied allegations that they were arrested for prostitution.

 

Lu Yui, who spoke through an interpreter, said she came into the country in June, on the invitation of a friend.

Source: Daily Times


More Reading on this topic : http://kanyinulia.blogspot.com/2012/06/sex-cartel-imported-from-china-where.html

 

Monday, 27 August 2012 16:34

Angola deports China 'gangsters'

Angola has extradited 37 Chinese nationals, accused of extortion, kidnappings, armed robberies and running prostitution rings.

 

They allegedly targeted other Chinese, kidnapping businessmen for ransom and sometimes burying victims alive.

 

They lured women to Angola, promising well-paid jobs, but then forced them into prostitution, Chinese police said.

 

Tens of thousands of Chinese live in Angola, and Chinese state-run firms have large interests in the country.

 

China's Ministry of Public Security said a special police team was sent to Angola in July to help investigate criminal gangs.

 

The ministry said the officers had helped their Angolan counterparts break up 12 gangs and free 14 victims, most of whom were thought to be women forced to work as prostitutes.

 

The 37 suspects arrived at Beijing airport in handcuffs with balaclavas covering their faces. They are due to be tried in China.

 

Mineral-rich Angola is China's biggest trading partner in Africa, with some $24.8bn (£15.7bn) in 2010.

 

Commercial opportunities have attracted private businesses and state-run firms.

 

But according to Chinese media, crime had begun to seriously affect operations in the country.

 

China Police, a website run by the ministry, published an article documenting 14 kidnappings during 2011 in which five victims were killed.

 

The article said Chinese business owners had moved away from the capital Luanda, while others had hired private security guards and bought bullet-proof cars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the midst of an 11-day trip across sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking on 1 August on the topic “Remarks on Building Sustainable Partnerships in Africa,” Clinton at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Clinton told her audience, “The Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy on Sub-Saharan Africa is based on four pillars: first, to promote opportunity and development; second, to spur economic growth, trade, and investment; third, to advance peace and security; and fourth, to strengthen democratic institutions.”

 

Warming to her themes, Clinton continued, “We’re also working with resource-rich nations to help make sure that their mineral and energy wealth actually improves the lives of their citizens. The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century.”

 

While Clinton did not specify the “outsiders,” in Beijing it was taken as a direct criticism of Chinese African policies and the country was quick to reply. Xinhua news agency stated that Clinton's Africa trip was a "plot to sow discord between China (and) Africa" and continued, Whether Clinton was ignorant of the facts on the ground or chose to disregard them, her implication that China has been extracting Africa's wealth for itself is utterly wide of the truth."

 

Leaving no rhetorical stone unturned, China, which suffered colonial depredations at the hands of European powers in the 19th century, saw the editorial continue, "Ironically, it was the Western colonial powers that were exactly the so-called outsiders, which, in Clinton's words, came and extracted the wealth of Africa for themselves, leaving nothing or very little behind."

What is the overall picture then?

In 2011 Africa-China bilateral trade reached $166 billion in 2011, an increase of 300 percent over 2006 figures and China's direct investments in Africa are now nearly $15 billion.

 

The Government of China is estimated to maintain over 150 commercial attachés and associated staff at its embassies in 48 African countries, while “according to a recent report produced by the Brooking Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative, there are currently just five U.S. Commerce Department Foreign Commercial Service Officers in Africa and one is set to leave from the embassy in Ghana this summer.” Furthermore, Chinese President Hu Jintao has made seven trips to Africa, five as head of state and has visited 17 countries.

 

U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa during 2011 were $21.1 billion, up 23 percent compared to 2010 and U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa during 2011 were $74.2 billion, up 14 percent compared to 2010 for a total of $95.3 billion, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The figure represents just 57 percent of China’s bilateral trade figures.

 

But Washington is obviously looking to improve its “bottom line” – as the USTR's Office of African Affairs notes, “Sub-Saharan Africa presents many opportunities for U.S. businesses as an emerging market for American exports. Between 2000 and 2010, six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world were in sub-Saharan Africa.”

But what about energy?

In 2011, about 62 percent of African exports to China consisted of crude oil, with over $24.7 billion coming from Angola, now the source of over 9 percent of China’s oil imports. And the U.S.? Over the past decade, petroleum products accounted for roughly 89 percent of U.S. imports from Africa, with no less than 40 percent of Nigeria’s oil exports head westwards to the U.S., with Nigeria now the fifth largest source of oil imports to the U.S. and Angola the eighth. Companies operating in Nigeria include the U.S. companies Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips and… the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation. International oil companies operating in Angola include U.S. companies Chevron, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum and… Sinopec.

 

And U.S. interest in African petroleum is only going to increase. The U.S. National Intelligence Council forecasts that U.S. oil imports from Africa will rise to 25 percent within three years, primarily from Gulf of Guinea countries, Nigeria and Angola.

 

So, in the shadow war between Beijing and Washington for influence on the “Dark Continent,” the latter should take note of the results of Beijing hosting the Fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on 19-20 July, where it promised a) $20 billion in assistance to the continent, double the amount pledged three years ago in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in 2009; b) an “African Talents Program” to train 30,000 people in various sectors and set up vocational training centers, 18,000 government scholarships and the dispatch of 1,500 Chinese medical personnel to Africa; c) to build infrastructure partnerships; d) people-to-people exchanges and finally, security pledges, led by the Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security.

 

Seems a bit more than Hillary’s hectoring lectures on human rights. Of course, any African nation that wants to host the Pentagon’s AFRICOM headquarters will also be most welcome in Washington.

 

For the moment though, African leaders are more likely to be interested in $20 billion aid, training for 30,000 people 18,000 government scholarships and 1,500 medical personnel, whatever the source.

 

And, eyes on the prize, such largesse will probably pay off in energy concessions.


Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. While at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he is currently a non-resident scholar, in 199 he founded The Cyber-Caravan, which continues today under the title, The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. He subsequently served as Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC before joining UPI as International Correspondent.

 

Thursday, 28 June 2012 15:46

Beijing, a Boon for Africa

IN June 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a speech in Zambia warning of a “new colonialism” threatening the African continent. “We saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave,” she said, in a thinly veiled swipe at China.

 

In 2009, China became Africa’s single largest trading partner, surpassing the United States. And China’s foreign direct investment in Africa has skyrocketed from under $100 million in 2003 to more than $12 billion in 2011.

 

Since China began seriously investing in Africa in 2005, it has been routinely cast as a stealthy imperialist with a voracious appetite for commodities and no qualms about exploiting Africans to get them. It is no wonder that the American government is lashing out at its new competitor — while China has made huge investments in Africa, the United States has stood on the sidelines and watched its influence on the continent fade.

 

Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And to do so, China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking.

 

Moreover, the evidence does not support a claim that Africans themselves feel exploited. To the contrary, China’s role is broadly welcomed across the continent. A 2007 Pew Research Center survey of 10 sub-Saharan African countries found that Africans overwhelmingly viewed Chinese economic growth as beneficial. In virtually all countries surveyed, China’s involvement was viewed in a much more positive light than America’s; in Senegal, 86 percent said China’s role in their country helped make things better, compared with 56 percent who felt that way about America’s role. In Kenya, 91 percent of respondents said they believed China’s influence was positive, versus only 74 percent for the United States.

 

And the charge that Chinese companies prefer to ship Chinese employees (and even prisoners) to work in Africa rather than hire local African workers flies in the face of employment data. In countries like my own, Zambia, the ratio of African to Chinese workers has exceeded 13:1 recently, and there is no evidence of Chinese prisoners working there.

 

Of course, China should not have a free pass to run roughshod over workers’ rights or the environment. Human rights violations, environmental abuses and corruption deserve serious and objective investigation. But to finger-point and paint China’s approach in Africa as uniformly hostile to workers is largely unsubstantiated.

 

If anything, the bulk of responsibility for abuses lies with African leaders themselves. The 2011 Human Rights Watch Report “You’ll Be Fired If You Refuse,” which described a series of alleged labor and human rights abuses in Chinese-owned Zambian copper mines, missed a fundamental point: the onus of policing social policy and protecting the environment is on local governments, and it is local policy makers who should ultimately be held accountable and responsible if and when egregious failures occur.

 

China’s critics ignore the root cause of why many African leaders are corrupt and unaccountable to their populations. For decades, many African governments have abdicated their responsibilities at home in return for the vast sums of money they receive from courting international donors and catering to them. Even well-intentioned aid undermines accountability. Aid severs the link between Africans and their governments, because citizens generally have no say in how the aid dollars are spent and governments too often respond to the needs of donors, rather than those of their citizens.

 

In a functioning democracy, a government receives revenues (largely in the form of taxes) from its citizens, and in return promises to provide public goods and services, like education, national security and infrastructure. If the government fails to deliver on its promises, it runs the risk of being voted out.

 

The fact that so many African governments can stay in power by relying on foreign aid that has few strings attached, instead of revenues from their own populations, allows corrupt politicians to remain in charge. Thankfully, the decrease in the flow of Western aid since the 2008 financial crisis offers a chance to remedy this structural failure so that, like others in the world, Africans can finally hold their governments accountable.

 

With approximately 60 percent of Africa’s population under age 24, foreign investment and job creation are the only forces that can reduce poverty and stave off the sort of political upheaval that has swept the Arab world. And China’s rush for resources has spawned much-needed trade and investment and created a large market for African exports — a huge benefit for a continent seeking rapid economic growth.

 

winner-take-all-cover-fs8Dambisa Moyo, an economist, is the author of “Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World.”

About Moyo:

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.Dambisa Moyo 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”. Ms. Moyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, and was named to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Forum. Her work regularly appears in economic and finance-related publications such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. 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.. ( source Moyo website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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