China Loans in Africa

Africa and China have been headlining the international news recently, apparently for mutual benefits. After years of depending on IMF, World Bank, and the West for loans and/or grants for economic
developments, the sleeping continent has now found a new partner in the giant of the East. Hitherto, Western-type loans had come with some stringent conditions that were not easily met, or else were
implemented at the expense of the very people the loans were supposed to help. Up the creek without a paddle, Africa has now looked East. But has Africa found the angel in the East?

Since the dawn of the African Union, several African countries have developed economic development initiatives and China has funded several of these initiatives. Today, a majority of African countries owes huge amounts of money to China, mostly under Sino-African economic partnership program dubbed FOCAC. In this arrangement, several African countries have pledged significant deposits of precious
natural resources as collateral for these loans. It’s now clear that these loans have become an existential challenge for most African countries with Zambia, Kenya and others as prominent examples of bad
deals.

We can state that China has money and needs the resources of Africa more so than Africa needs China. Therefore, Africa must bargain from strength with thoughtful demands for value during these negotiations. Protecting citizens and enhancing the national interest of African countries should be the primary goal of any international negotiations, especially dealing with China.

Thoughtful African citizens are understandably concerned about the impact of the barter arrangements that surround some of these negotiations. By pledging huge natural resources for Chinese loans, these countries have in fact mortgaged Africa to China for peanuts.

Our nervousness stems from the fact that not only are we bent on depleting our precious natural resources, we are also causing serious environmental degradation at the expense of future generations. These existential challenges have compelled countries such as Sierra Leone to reject infrastructure financing from China. Instead of using
these projects to respond to the teeming unemployment rates in African countries, the Chinese are allowed to use their raw materials as well as labor from China. Sierra Leone and Malaysia saw through
the prophetic prism of mortgaging their countries to China and rejected plans to contract Chinese loans.

But probably the greatest challenge to Africa is not necessarily loans coming from China or the West. It is the implementation of our policies that have thrown most African countries into perpetual debt.
Servicing an infrastructural loan without optimizing implementation policies would always be an albatross on our government, irrespective of the source of the loan.

GHANA WILL NOT BURN! REALLY?
At a recent event in New Jersey, the keynote speaker Dr. George A. Agbango cautioned Ghanaians about utilizing social media platforms for parochial interests. He was alluding to an invective ranting of a person purported to be the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei-Mensah against the people of northern Ghana. The keynote speaker pointed out that no government minister would spew such a
diabolical venom and asked revelers to disregard same because “Ghana will not be divided.” We beg to differ.

No one should live in a dreamworld and conclude that Ghana cannot burn! We’ve seen it in one too many African countries. The yakkity-yak diatribe by the coward could have precipitated the youth – especially unemployed – in the north to attack anyone they identified as from the south, and a ripple effect could have consumed the country. There is no political expediency here if the country is on hell
fire. The Regional Minister came out to deny he was the speaker in that clip, but unfortunately some are still convinced that it was he.

Amandla believes such inflammatory narratives sitting on powder kegs must be doused and for good. We strongly think that Ghanaians, including government and all political party communicators, the
clergy, civil and civic organizations, should have promptly and forcefully condemned the narrative. We further suggest that either the government or some established group such as the Christian Council
should put up a monetary incentive or reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the warmonger!

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Posted by on Nov 13 2018. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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