Is Aid all we Need?

By Papa Yaw and Husein Shahadu

October 19, 2015

Africa defies conventional logic: grinding poverty amidst immense mineral riches. Africa’s economic growth of 5 percent in 2004, though more respectable than in previous years, was less than the 7 percent needed to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and child mortality and improving education. At that rate, the United Nations Development Program has warned that the achievement of the millennium development goals may take 150 years.

The Commission on Africa, which was established by British prime minister Tony Blair, seeks to raise $50 billion a year on the international capital markets and use it to reverse Africa’s economic atrophy. Blair made aid to Africa the centerpiece of the British presidency of the G-8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July 2005. President George Bush has tripled aid to Africa to $4.3 billion since he took office in 2001. In addition, the Bush administration’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) seeks to boost grants to poor African countries. France proposes an international tax on financial transactions or items such as plane tickets. Japan favors a $200 million fund to nurture private-sector companies in Africa to improve the continent’s investment climate and credit rating. The UN is calling on rich countries to increase their foreign aid to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2015. The UN argues that lack of resources is a major impediment to economic growth and that additional funds will be well spent. But will any of those plans help Africa?

Errrmm we doubt it. Hey we are not pessimists (ooseeyyy Africa!!!). It is not us, it is aid and all the wrong baggage it comes with. By baggage we mean aid policies and poor or no auditing of the use of aid. Over $500 billion in aid have been given or loaned out for African development. These forms of aid although not all, have attached to them policies that claim to facilitate growth.Most of these policies encourage democratization of governments and the economy since free markets have been made synonymous to development. A success story that debunks the popular free-market equals development policy was told and situated between 1984 and 1987 in Burkina Faso during the reign of a socialist government. The socialist government was headed by Thomas Sankara, also known as Africa’s Che Guevara or the upright man. The latter nickname probably originated from his renaming of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which translates into “land of the upright people” in English. Sankara was a socialist who believed in self sustenance and cautious of aid and aid policies.

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In summary,  He firmly believed that it was possible for the Burkinabè, with hard work and collective social mobilization, to solve their problems: chiefly scarce food and drinking water.His belief turned into reality when cereal production rose by 75% and 2 million children were vaccinated in 2 weeks, defying skepticism of donor agencies. Within his four year reign, Burkina Faso became a self sustained economy producing its own food and cotton for clothe manufacture.  His four year reign was brought to halt when he was assassinated by his successor Blaise Compaore whose democratic government was currently ousted by public protests. During his 27 year tenure as president has received aid from the IMF with disbursements totaling an estimated $222.7 million from 2010 to 2014.According to the IMF archives these disbursements came with reforms that were necessary for the development of Burkina Faso. Yet Burkina Faso is now ranked as one of the world’s least developing countries as compared to the rising example it was thought to be from 1983 to 1987

But then another question is asked, is political ideology is enough? Ujaama, a socialist experiment in Tanzania, that received about $10 million in aid for over 20 years, failed. It failed because the money was used just like in other African countries to line pockets of others.The failure of Ujaama caused a 0.5% annual contraction of the Tanzanian economy.An observation is this, there is no record of Sankara receiving financial aid unlike Tanzania or Blaise Compaore. Which begs the question, does aid encourage corruption? Percy Mistry of the Oxford International Group pointed out that the external stock of capital held by Africans overseas could be as much as $700 billion to $800 billion (Wonder where all that money comes from?).Also the World Bank estimated that “nearly 40 percent of Africa’s aggregate wealth has fled to foreign bank accounts (banks probably reinvest the money into their own economies).

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So again, if we are asked if any of the plans above will work we say no. No because aid can only work in an upright Africa that is free to to create its own policy reforms.Instead of policy reform and structural adjustment teams we suggest financial auditing teams and enforcement(an ICC for corruption perhaps). So yeah, in case aid with all its wrong baggage  thinks it is irreplaceable, and will leave Mama Africa a broken hearted woman then there is no love lost, because we believe Africa can rise on its own. Now that right there is some optimism.

http://www.imf.org/external/country/BFA/index.htm?pn=0

http://new.spectator.co.uk/2014/01/why-aid-fails/

time.com/3551309/burkina-faso-blaise-compaore-west-africa/

http://www.cato.org/publications/economic-development-bulletin/african-perspectives-aid-foreign-assistance-will-not-pull-africa-out-poverty

The World in 2008 : Africa’s Stance.

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By Kwabena Boohene and Sylvia Engmann

In the year 2008 the world faced one of the greatest financial catastrophes in history, the global financial crisis. This event had a nasty impact on the world’s economies. The world super power, America had detonated a time bomb on the nations of the world. Qualities such as corruption, deceit, lies and others that they associate with the African continent had reared its head in their day to day activities. Everyone was crying of the loss of market share, prices falling, individuals losing their jobs. It felt as though the western world and foreign nations were hanging by a thread, and any little movement would cause it to snap. CNN reporting this and BBC reporting that, but interestingly we don’t really remember how it really affected Ghana at that time (maybe it is because we weren’t reading the news. Or?).

It seemed so far from us, but little did I know of the impact it would have. First and foremost, the crises did not affect only America, and Europe but actually a larger part of the world, China to be more specific. It is very clear, the relationship that Africa has with China was a deciding factor in the economy of Africa regarding trade arrangements . The amount of products imported from the Chinese market on the streets of Ghana for example is of a huge sum. Even the construction of roads, hospitals, bridges are all being done by Chinese workers (not our fellow African or even Ghanaian engineers). The country has more than $20bn (£13bn) in investments, in the African nation. This relationship has grown and grown over the past years. Thus the fall in prices in 2008 meant a likely devaluation of the Yen. This meant less loans granted by the Chinese government, increase in the prices of goods imported from the nation and many other effects.

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The issue of exports is one of great significance to the continent. The major African banks do not really have a strong hold in the international financial market, but trade is one of the only factors that keeps the continent alive. This volume of trade and export prices were estimated to decline rapidly. During 2008 non-energy prices plunged by 38 percent, oil prices fell below 69 percent. A country like Angola which is really is dependent on oil suffered so drastically that the country posted a deficit in 2009.

Another example was South Africa. Like many of its counterpart African countries, South Africa was heavily dependent on foreign trade and the use of foreign savings to prop up domestic investment and was the most talked about whenever the topic of Africa and the recession came up. It was said that they handled the crisis pretty well, though it was said that most of the companies went into survival mode, to try and ‘live through’ the crisis. But in May 2009, it was reported that their Gross Domestic Product went into a negative mode in the final quarter of 2008 (at -1.8) and an even more negative figure in the first quarter of 2009 (at -6.4).

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Africa was generally on the down low during the recession period.Or maybe, it’s because the international media was busy fighting their own battles to think of an insignificant continent like Africa, because well they don’t care. Its also likely that the effects of the global recession was not felt initially, and is slowly being felt in Africa now. Anyway,we really don’t know what was really happening in Africa during the global recession. But we do want to know, don’t we?

Sources
http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africanbusiness/2015/02/26/angola-passes-reduced-budget-after-fall-in-oil-price

http://carnegieendowment.org/2009/04/15/impact-of-financial-crisis-on-africa

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34060934

http://www2.resbank.co.za/internet/Publication.nsf/LADV/21EFDE8DEE82935342257601003680B6/$File/Roger%20Baxter.pdf

http://www.southafrica.info/news/business/33972.htm
Further views

Tanzania’s Elections: Peace or Another Disappointment?

By Reshma Mawji, and Emmanuel Ampadu

Tensions rise and chaos is expected, as Tanzania (Africa’s most populous nation) readies for its fifth multi-party elections, tomorrow Sunday the 25th October. The front-runner in the presidential race appears to be John Magufuli, 55, candidate for the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and the candidate for the opposition party, Chadema, is Edward Lowassa, 62.  This is the first time Tanzana is facing such a ticgh election race; Analysts have warned that this unusually tight race will very possibly spark tensions, meaning, there is a chance of post-election violence in what has been one of Africa’s leading democracies and most peaceful countries.

This saddens me, because it reminds me of Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence which killed up to 1,500 people and displaced nearly 600,000 others.

I vividly remember that melancholy day of December 31st 2007: In an effort to escape the violence and rampage I Kenya, I left by bus to go to Tanzania where my parents currently live, only to be stuck in the bus in midst of all the violence for nearly 28 hours with no food or water; all I saw was tear gas, and homeless, disheartened Kenyans carrying beds and furniture on their backs as their searched for refuge. This was probably one of the saddest, most disappointing days of my life as a Kenyan. And now hearing of a similar scare in Tanzania, my other homeland (where I practically grew up and where my parents now live) scares the jitters out of me.

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Post-election Violence Kenya 2007-2008

CCM has won every poll since Tanzania’s first multi-party elections in 1992. But this year, the ruling party faces its strongest challenge yet from a four-party coalition called Ukawa, which includes Chadema and CUF – the country’s second and third-largest parties, respectively. According to Al-Jazeera news, Tanzania’s national elections commission has cautioned against violence and is currently conducting peace awareness campaigns; nevertheless, many nervous Tanzanians are stocking up on extra food or leaving for safer destinations.

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“The main reason why the expectation of violence is high is because you have a lot of young voters who are voting for the first time. So for them it’s more than just voting. It’s like a football game. It’s a competition. It’s a competition about politics.” said Emmanuel Tayari, a Tanzanian geopolitical analyst.

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This leads me to questioning, why? Why don’t we learn from our neighbouring countries and from dark pasts? Why are peaceful elections so difficult? Why do we give in to wars so easily, whether political, ethnic or tribal?

In Rwanda, 800,000 people were slaughtered due to ethnic friction; neighbours killed neighbours, and husbands killed their Tutsi wives. Thousands of Tutsi women were taken and kept away as sex slaves, and the incident was regarded a “genocide”. It is also important to note that the genocide in Rwanda has directly led to two decades of unrest in DR Congo, which have cost the lives of an estimated five million people.

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With all this evidence, why do we still choose to indulge in anything other than peace?

Tanzania is a beautiful country, with 1.2 million wildebeests in the Serengeti, and the majestic Kilimanjaro, it is a prodigious tourist hub, one to be especially proud of.  Peaceful democratic politics in Tanzania, an island of stability in the volatile East African region, is a matter of pride for most citizens.

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There are currently foreign cameras everywhere in Tanzania, keeping a watchful eye on the country. In any election, any other year, hardly anyone outside the country’s borders would pay any attention to Tanzanians as they vote, because Tanzania is one of the most peaceful and stable countries in Africa. At this point, I can only hope that the elections, which begin tomorrow, will hold strong to the nonviolent nature of Tanzania as a country of peace and stability.

Our Sources and For More Information:

http://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/Final-Tanzania-rallies-in-tight-election-race/-/1066/2928116/-/11rjolu/-/index.html.

https://www.tcd.ie/tidi/assets/doc/TIDI%20Seminar%20Series%202015/Tanzania-2015%20Election.pdf.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34599144.

http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-10-24-tanzania-rivals-throw-it-down-in-final-election-rallies-its-a-mad-exciting-very-uncertain-dash-to-the-finish.

الإسلام ≠ الإرهاب

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                   Islam ≠ Terrorism

Boko Haram

Meaning: “Western education is forbidden.”  It is prohibited to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.

Objective: To make northern Nigeria an Islamic state.

Activities: Attacks on institutions of the Nigerian government, churches, schools, bus stations and mosques; suicide bombings, kidnapping.

Islam

Meaning: “Submission to the will of God and obedience to His law.” Derived from the Arabic word ‘Salema’ meaning peace, purity and submission.

Objective: Strengthening the connection between man and his Creator, preserving life’s order, developing knowledge and connection with the Universe.

Activities: Hajj, fasting during the month of Ramadan, alms giving, five daily prayers, Shahadah.


How possible is it for the religion of peace and extreme acts of terror to be put together? Well, the sad truth is that, that is what it is in the present world.

Since the onset of the 21st Century, the world has been living in fear of terrorism. 9-11 brought to the previously rarely heard word “terrorism” and placed it in our everyday lives. The security systems of Western countries tightened up as they tried to grapple with the tragedy. Most importantly, terrorism came to be synonymous with Muslims or Islam. Every Muslim became a potential terrorist.

However, some questions come to mind when we think about this development. Did terrorism not exist before 9-11 and did other groups of people aside from Muslims not perpetrate it? Do only Muslims perpetrate terrorism in the 21st Century? How many Muslims are terrorists? Most importantly, are these “Islamic” terrorist groups Islamic?

With these in mind, let us examine the evidence that lies before us.

The genesis

The earliest known terrorist group was the Zealots of Judea, who were involved in the assassination of Roman soldiers occupying Judea, in modern-day Middle East. Since then, the world has seen the emergence of different groups of terrorists, each with its own agenda cut out for them. With advancements in technology and weaponry, the impacts of these terrorist groups has grown tremendously over the years. Africa has not been spared from this rise in terrorism.

Islamic terrorist groups in Africa

When anyone mentions terrorism in Africa, the first thought that pops into the minds of most is Boko Haram. Then probably Al-Shabab. These groups claim to adhere to Allah’s calling. Well, there is also the Lord’s Resistance Army, which operates in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. This is not an Islamist group.

Boko Haram

This group was founded in 2002 and its initial focus was opposing Western education. In 2009, it launched military operations in order to create an Islamic state. It declared a caliphate in areas it controlled in 2014. The group has claimed responsibility for assassinations, suicide bombings and kidnapping. It is most famous globally for the kidnapping of the 200 Chibok girls in 2014 in northern Nigeria, which inspired the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The girls have neither been rescued nor found till date.

Boko Haram has professed from the very beginning to be adhering to the will of Allah. They believe that they are embarking on jihad, a holy war against infidels (non-Muslims) and moderate Muslims. It believes that anything to do with Western culture is forbidden and should not be tolerated. However, the issue of whether Boko Haram, or any of the other Islamist groups that operate in Africa adhere to Islam is debatable. Many have said that the group is more of a political group with a political agenda rather than the religious group it claims to be. It has displayed inconsistencies between the doctrine it preaches and its actions. It not only targets non-Muslims but has killed several Muslims as well. If this group claims to be Muslim, why have they perpetrated acts of violence against their fellow brethren?

The Qur’an is the revealed word of God for the Islamic religion and gives guidelines for how Muslims should live. Therefore, in order to determine the authenticity of the faith or beliefs of any one or group that claims to be Muslim, we must turn to the Qur’an for guidance.

What does the Qur’an say about terrorism?

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“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (5:32)

Islam is a religion of peace and condemns murder. The Holy Qur’an states that if anybody kills a person, it would be as if he killed the whole world. How can a group that claims to follow Allah be a murdering machine?

The Qur’an also says that, ‘Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people….’ However, acts undertaken by these Islamic groups mostly involve innocent civilians who are not in direct combat with them. Men, women, children and the aged have suffered at their hands. Sometimes, children or youth are employed as suicide bombers. Again, we ask, how does the teaching of the Qur’an inspire the violence we see?

Many people think of Islam when they think of terrorism. Muslims have to live with the tag of being terrorists although you will find that most Muslims are against terrorist groups and believe that terrorists are not true Muslims. There are over a billion Muslims in the world. Out of that growing number, only 1% are terrorists. However, in the media and in our minds, that 1% is representative of the whole.

It is true that Boko Haram, al Shabab and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, among others, claim to be adherents to Islam. However, to say that the religion is inherently violent or a brood of terrorists is an unfair judgement. There are Christian groups like the Ku Klux Klan that have committed violence in the name of the Christian God, yet Christianity is not branded as a violent religion. Branding such a large group of people because of the actions of a few is highly unjust. Terrorism exists for diverse purposes and is influenced by many factors including poverty, inequality, quest for power and religion.

Boko Haram is not Islam.

Islam is not terrorism.

Religion is not terrorism.

By Makafui Fie and Efua Bentsiwa Bainson

Sources

http://discover.islamway.net/articles.php?article_id=47

http://www.iiie.net/index.php?q=node/33

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140507-boko-haram-nigeria-borno-state-maiduguri-mohammed-yusuf-abubukar-shekau-goodluck-jonathan-world/

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/lra.htm

http://www.terrorism-research.com/history/early.phphttp://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/muslims-massacred-boko-haram-sweep-nigera-150702191439658.html

The misrepresented feminist faith: Islam, women and the Sharia law

What is it with veiled Muslim women, which makes us so convinced that they are oppressed or male dominated? Nuns, for one, cover themselves but we think of them as the freest of all mankind. When it comes to Muslim women wearing their hijabs, pause

Photo credit: Cartoon Stock
Photo credit: Cartoon Stock

– We think they need liberation. This is the negative stereotype which the media has continuously fed to us. Despite all this, most of the converts in Islam religion are female and Muslim women who migrate to the land of the free, America, still choose to maintain their hijabs. Where really is the oppression?

Traditionally, Islam as a religion has always valued the position of women in society. Prophet Muhammad was a present-day staunch feminist who preached and lived the values of present day feminism. His interpretation of the Qur’an emphasized the importance of women in society to the extent that when a man approached him inquiring who is of greatest companionship unto him, Prophet Muhammad is said to have answered ‘mother’ three times before mentioning ‘father.’ This signified the place of women in a person’s life and society in general. He is even considered to have decreed sexual satisfaction as a women’s right and condemned the abuse of women. Yet with so much freedom and conjugal rights, we are quick to declare:

Photo credit - Unknown, Tumblr
Photo credit – Unknown, Tumblr

Hold on there, what is wrong with the hijab? To the critics, the hijab serves as a sign and a constant reminder of this supposed oppression but to the educated Muslim women, the “… concept of hijab is about more than modesty —  it’s about comfort, boundaries and deciding for [themselves] what [they] will and won’t let other people see.” In a world where women are constantly objectified and judged on their bodies, the hijab empowers Muslim women by allowing them to cover themselves and let their worth be judged on any other quality than their bodies. Yes! That sounded more like a fashion choice, only that it is more informed and consistent than our usual fashion trends – which we pick and drop at the snap of our fingers. In a recent Telegraph article, H&M one of the world’s biggest retailer is said to have released a new media fashion campaign featuring women wearing hijabs. This same article also cites a case won by a Muslim women denied employment at Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store in Oklahoma because of her hijab. This is a clear indication that the perception people have about the hijab is the cause of oppression and not the actually reality of its symbolism.

The Qur’an is praised as being the only sacred book which mentions women alongside men:

“Surely for men who surrender to God, and women who surrender
and men who believe and women who believe;
and men who obey and women who obey;
and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth…” (Qur’an 33:35)

These are just but some of the few scriptures which place equal emphasis on both sexes to the extent of explicitly mentioning and distinguishing them. In other sacred books, a patriarchal bias usually exists, in which ‘man’ is an all-encompassing term referring to both men and women but generally thought of as overshadowing women.

However all is not merry in the Islam religion as some countries governed by the Sharia law tend to have unfair laws on women. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women are not allowed to drive, among other things, unlike men.

Photo credit - Burhanco
Photo credit – Burhanco

These are just but some of the rarities that exist within the Islam religion as a result of different interpretations of the Qur’an and different group practices. Sadly, this has tainted the Islam religion and is constantly used by Islam critics to argue on the oppressive nature of the Islam faith. These examples are however used to oversimplify and generalize on the entire Muslim faith and movement. This represents a clear distinction between culture and faith, and how in these countries where the Sharia law is used to oppress women, the local culture has contributed to that oppressive interpretation of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

Islam as a religion is fair and just. The place of women hasn’t not been more emphasized than in the Islam movement. The interpretation of some of the laws by other religious leaders has led society to consider the Sharia law oppressive to women but we all stand to be corrected that the interpretation of law is influenced by the prevailing culture. As such, it would be ignorant of anyone to oversimplify and generalize the entire religion as oppressive to women.

Voila: Sabelo Dube and Anne Gitau

Sources

News article: Khan, S. (2015, October 8). It’s not the hijab which holds women back, but prejudice. The Telegraph UK. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/great-british-bake-off/11919553/Its-not-the-hijab-which-holds-women-back-but-intolerance-and-prejudice.html

Faruqi, S. (2015, June 24). Why I Wear the Hijab. Haaretz. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.662729

Beyer, L. (2001, November 25). The Women of Islam. Time. Retrieved October 17, 2015, from http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,185647,00.html

Photo 1 link: http://thecandideye.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/oppressed-muslim-women.jpg

Photo 2 link: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb2zvjUftE1qeo8kqo1_500.jpg

FRIENDS WITH BENEFIT OR PARTNERSHIP

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             The first thing that probably comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “friends with benefits” is the American movie with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Today, however, I’ll be introducing you to a new set of friends with benefits: The Chinese-African Relationship. “Friends with Benefit” describes an exploitative type of relationship whereby parties form bonds merely to obtain a certain type of pleasure and not because they like each other.
Endowed with abundant resources due to a large human population, wide expanses of land, wonderful vegetation, and priceless minerals such as gold, oil, gas, coal, tin, and uranium, Africa is not just attractive, but also irresistible to outside world (“too beautiful a bride to take their eyes off” as some would say). The unexpected twist to this story is that these ‘bridegrooms’ are not in this marriage for love, but only to gain access to the massive estate the ‘bride’ owns.  Africa, with a history of exploitative relationships with other Nations, has been staggering from one unsuccessful union to another trying to get back on its feet. The Colonial masters came forcefully into Africa to steal and extract resources both mineral and people. In the process of doing so, they wrought immeasurable havoc and mayhem on the continent, the aftermath of these decades of bondage still live on and the scars are far from healing.
The quest for redemption has led Africa to the doorpost of an entirely new neighbor on the block: China. Chinese-African relations begun recently after the Colonial Era as Post-Colonialism there was little felt impact of China on African soil. With the colonial masters away China found freedom to conduct trade with Africa as it deemed fit and now we feel the presence of China more than ever in Africa.
China, once a third World country like most African countries, shares knowledge of the hardships of poverty and corruption and has been able to successfully rise from the pits of underdevelopment. Who better to relate with Africa than someone who was once in its present state?
5-Stars-Colonization

One can actually call Africa China’s gold mine. According to an article by the East Asian Forum in 2010, Africa is an excellent complement to China’s resource and market-seeking global agenda. Since 2000 Chinese-African trade has grown at an average annual rate of 33.5 per cent. The benefits of China’s African diplomacy became clear in 1971 when China’s accession to the UN General Assembly and Security Council was assisted by 26 affirmative votes cast by African countries. Today China has diplomatic relations with 49 of 53 African nations and China’s deepening engagement means that the US, Europe and other emerging partners have little choice but to compete for access to the continent’s emerging markets and resources. This declaration was accompanied by the announcement of US$10 billion in preferential loans to support African countries over the next three years. In light of the OECD’s prediction that the G8 will fall US$23 billion short of its 2005 promise of US$50 billion in foreign aid to the poorest and most vulnerable by 2010 (Africa contains 33 of the 49 Least Developed Countries, as classified by the UN ).
In almost every corner of Africa there is something that interests China. The continent is rich in natural resources that promise to keep China’s booming, fuel-hungry economy on the road. There is copper to mine in Zambia, iron ore to extract in Gabon and oil to refine in Angola. In other countries less blessed by natural resources, Chinese companies have spied trading and investment opportunities. Africa’s need for new and better roads, school buildings, computer networks, telecoms systems and power generation has opened a lucrative window of opportunity for Chinese firms. Sudan, with its vast oil reserves, is the number one recipient of Chinese investment, and sells some two-thirds of its oil to Beijing. As a result, China has been criticized for its links with a government ostracized by many for its role in the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

Even with this new found partnership, Africa is still left in the dark wondering if the past’s pains and her worst nightmares will come back to haunt her all over again. Yet, we are certain that whatever plans China has for Africa, it is still only the beginning and only the future can tell what lies ahead for Africa

Will this be a new era of exploitation or of new found partnership?
Sources:

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20120214000023&cid=1102

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/05/china-africa-investment-exploitation-201454154158396626.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7086777.stm

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2010/02/17/china-and-africa-friends-with-benefits/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/feb/07/china-exploitation-africa-industry

Video:

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/05/china-africa-investment-exploitation-201454154158396626.html

POSTED BY Maduka John Henry and Opeyemi Oyewole

Trade, aid or Exploitation? Answer:只有时间会告诉

Introduction: In the past decade China and Africa has increased its relations, where even the population of Chinese in Africa has increased to more than a million. This increase has raised alarms not only in the African community, but also the Western community. China has become a very dominant part of African trade, where it is the second highest trader with Africa, exchanging about $160 billion-worth of goods a year. China has also offered aid of many kinds, in the fields of agriculture, education, transportation, energy, communications, and health. More than one million Chinese have relocated to Africa mostly as traders and laborers. One would then pose the question, what are the intentions of China? Are their activities in Africa suspicious?

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Court Case (Scenario)

Bailiff: This is case 4576, advocates for versus the advocates against the increasing presence of Chinese in Africa.

Westerners’ lawyer: Rumor has it that China is trying to colonize Africa and exploit its resources like its former western colonists. Jane Goodall, an animal rights activist made the statement that, “In Africa, China is merely doing what the colonialists did. They want raw materials for their economic growth, just as the colonists were going into Africa and taking the natural resources, leaving people poorer.”

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African Leaders’ Lawyer: Yes, the Chinese want raw materials for their economic growth but, they do not force it from us, like what happened in the past, with our former colonists. The Chinese on the other hand help in development projects, which the former colonist never did. They have completed about 1,046 projects, built railways to a total of 2,233 kilometers, and laid 3,350 km of highways. There is no such thing as a free lunch we cannot expect them to have only our interest in mind without thinking about how they can also benefit from us. We all as leaders should put our countries first and make smart decisions which we would benefit from.

African workers lawyer: How, are we benefitting? China has been robbing our continent of its natural resources, bringing workers from their country instead of employing locals, not only that but, maltreating and under paying them. Recently, there were violent protests from local workers. Presently, African traders are complaining that Chinese traders are giving the natives unfair competition; cheaper, low quality Chinese products are entering the markets. Currently in Zambia and Tanzania, the complaints are that Chinese traders are in businesses meant for natives. A time has come where Africans must examine the reality on the ground. I would then ask, are we allowing the Chinese too much ground in our affairs? Policy makers should address these serious concerns.

Chinese Lawyers: Chinese see Africa as a place for opportunities for entrepreneurship which does not exist in our over populated country unfortunately. People complain about how we are taking the jobs from the Africans to the extent where some of us have to close down our businesses. Some Chinese businessmen are not very bothered about this because they are looking beyond Africa for other opportunities. In an interview with the Economist, a Chinese construction manager in Kenya, He Lingguo said “This is a good place for business but there are many others around the world”. He is hoping to move to Venezuela soon. China’s president has also promised to invest $250 billion in Latin America over the decade. So we are not only focusing on Africa, sorry but this is business.

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Judge: I have heard the complaints of the plaintiff, where they believe that the Chinese only want to exploit and colonize Africa in the name of aid, and the defendants, who argue that China does not have bad intentions, where they have come to solely trade and help in Africa’s development. After hearing the sides of the Westerners’ lawyer, the African Leaders’ lawyer, the African Workers’ lawyers and lastly the Chinese’s lawyer.

My verdict is:

Only time would tell (只有时间会告诉).

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21639554-china-has-become-big-africa-now-backlash-one-among-many

http://datum-recruitment.com/blog/2012/08/29/are-the-chinese-stealing-african-jobs-and-trade/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/21/africa-china-idUSL6N0FI3TE20130721

http://www.ibtimes.com/china-africas-new-colonial-overlord-says-famed-primate-researcher-jane-goodall-1556312

http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-09-18-multi-billion-dollar-deals-chinas-27-biggest-active-projects-in-africa

By Gifty Mate-Kole & Roslynne Amoah.