Monday, April 18, 2011

Is China Creating Puppet Nations in Africa?

While the U.S. and Europe play in the Middle East, is the government of China making its play in China?

David Henderson reports on a speech by George Ayittey:
 He listed a number of things the Chinese government was doing in Africa that he didn't like: making deals with the government for mineral rights in return for fixing a railroad system and giving government officials palaces and soccer stadiums in return for favors, to name two. He also stated that the Chinese government wants to settle 12 million Chinese people in Africa.
Henderson then goes on to charge Ayittey with being a mercantilist, which he may very well be. But if Ayittey's reporting is accurate and the Chinese government is cutting deals with African governments, then it is another sad commentary on the state of the world. For private Chinese entrepreneurs to cut deals with private operators in Africa is one thing, but government2government deals are always about coercion and economic distortion and are always done on the road to serfdom.


  1. I think the U.S. is making its own backdoor play in Africa too.

    "The Journal begins the article with Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank's Vice President for Africa who was speaking to reporters "at the launch of the World Bank's new 10-year strategy for the world's poorest continent, which grew by an average of 5% over the past decade." Her quote: "All of the better performance over the period of a decade has not been sufficient to tackle deep development problems that challenge the continent." So what is needed? More government and ... more money. "The strategy will be financed by half of a $49 billion package agreed in December by the International Development Association, the World Bank's lending arm for poor countries."

    ...Africa is going to be targeted for the world's next big monetary inflation. That's the reason for the World Bank's involvement now. Africa is to become, in our estimation, the world's next China...

    ...It is not the Africans that will drive this transformation. It will be fiat currency that pays American and European multinationals to set up shop in Africa, much as they have done so in China.

    The rotting corpse of the African marketplace will basically be left untouched. Governance will be updated and the Anglosphere will build the African miracle on top of the detrius of today's "dark continent."

    This is exactly what has happened in China. If you believe the Chinese economy is other than a fraudulent mimic of what Western free-market economies once were (a hundred years ago) we have bridge to sell you... "

  2. (1) China made a play for Africa in the 1960s, but the "Cultural Revolution" sidetracked the effort.

    (2) It is arguable which "private" enterprises in China are not just make-overs of SOIs (State owned industries).

    (3)"Today, some 50 years after the beginning of the independence era, Africa is far more complicated than the image of Africa in the popular imagination. All too often, Africa is still seen as the basket-case continent of Darfur and Zimbabwe, of “blood diamonds,” “resource curses,” and “poverty traps.” In reality, however, Africa is a humdum continent, and is part of the general trend toward economic and political progress shared by other parts of the world.
    "Over the past 20 years, the number of internal wars and their civilian death toll have actually decreased globally, according to specialists who systematically track this sort of data. Africa is part of this trend, especially since 2003, which roughly marked the end of three bloody regional wars that raged through the 1990s: the West African civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone; the Central African Wars in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and the civil war in Angola. All of these countries have since held elections: Sierra Leone in 2002 and 2007; Liberia in 2005; Rwanda in 2003 and September 2008; Burundi in 2005; the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006; and Angola in September 2008.
    "This trend began in 1989, at the same time liberal revolutions swept the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Benin’s military ruler Mathieu Kérékou, began reforms in 1989 and held elections in 1991, which he lost, making him the first African leader to be defeated at the polls. Also in 1990, one of Africa’s most notorious Big Men, the Côte d’Ivoire President Houphouët-Boigny legalized opposition…” (Sieff, Michelle. “Africa: Many Hills to Climb,” World Policy Journal, Fall 2008. 185-195. page 185.)

  3. Sounds like the Chinese are trying to move in an usurp the toe-hold the old Soviet Union once tried to build up in Africa. 12 million chinese settled in Africa? That's actually quite a bit, depending on where you settle them and have them setup shop.