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Thread: China Flexes Its Economic Muscle In Africa

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default China Flexes Its Economic Muscle In Africa

    China Flexes Its Economic Muscle In Africa
    Nairobi - Xhu is using his arms more than his rudimentary English to haggle with two determined African women who want a discount on the hair extensions he sells in his busy but grimy shop in a suburb of Nairobi.

    After his customers leave with their purchases, Xhu confides that his plastic extensions used by African women for braiding their hair are particularly popular, as is his Malaika (Kiswahili for angel) range of cosmetics for African women.

    Xhu's African customers see nothing wrong in buying African products made in China.

    'I prefer the Chinese to the Indian shops here because they not as racist and give credit to their regular customers. We understand each other,' says Mary Okello, one of Xhu's customers.

    She lives in the sprawling slum of Kibera, said to be the largest in Africa with an estimated one million residents. She says she goes to see a Chinese 'needle doctor' (acupuncturist) when a member of her family falls sick.

    'Her clinic is not far from my home and she is much cheaper than the hospital,' Mary added.

    Xhu's brother runs a general supplies store in Narok, a Masai town some 600 kilometres from the capital Nairobi. Both came to Kenya five years ago after quitting their jobs as small traders and taking out loans to seek their fortune in Africa.

    'We believe more Chinese investments will come to Kenya due to the favourable business climate here, not only to increase employment and taxes for Kenya, but they also bring advanced technologies and management from China to Kenya,' said Shao Weijian of the Chinese embassy's economic mission in Nairobi.

    China's growing trade with Kenya in recent years not only cements its longstanding diplomatic ties with 47 of Africa's 53 states. As the world's second-largest consumer of crude oil, Africa's petrol deposits are particularly high on Beijing's shopping list.

    The Asian country of 1.3 billion people is currently the world's second-largest economy after the US, and has a vast domestic market that consumes some 6 million barrels of oil a day.

    Although trade with Africa only makes up 3 per cent of the Asian country's total foreign trade, it was worth a record-breaking 37 billion dollars in 2005, according to Beijing's White Paper on Africa released in January.

    Beijing says it seeks to establish 'a new strategic partnership with Africa on a basis of 'win-win' economic relationships with reinforced cultural exchanges.'

    China now gets 20 per cent of all its total oil needs from the Gulf of Guinea and Sudan. But its relations with 'rogue' African states has made the US and Europe suspicious.

    Western nations, when giving aid to developing countries, often take into account the recipient's human rights and governance credentials. China's policy on Africa makes clear that it has no interest in mixing politics with business with politics.

    Sudan is a good example. Beijing bought 50 per cent of Sudan's total oil exports in 2005, and its investments in the country include 13 of the 15 largest foreign companies operating in Sudan.

    The United Nations and human rights organisations have repeatedly accused Khartoum of training and arming Arab militias known as janjaweed, who the United States has accused of genocide in Sudan's western Darfur region.

    China opposed a UN Security Council resolution authorizing sanctions against parties trying to disrupt the peace process in Sudan, despite being accused of acting only to safeguard its economic interest in the region.

    Beijing also donated 3,000 tonnes of wheat to Zimbabwe, currently reeling from severe food shortages. Many believe the shortages are the result of President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme, which has seen new, often inexperienced, black farmers handed land that once belonged to whites.

    Mugabe complains Western countries have put Zimbabwe under 'illegal' sanctions to punish him for the land reform programme and has urged businessmen to 'look East' to Asian markets, especially China.

    Although China has also been involved in launching Nigeria's first space satellite, a milestone for African telecommunications, it has also been accused of being a major arms dealer on the continent.

    China's earlier aid to Africa was mostly aimed at showing Cold War-type solidarity, but its arms sales to Eritrea for example, worth an estimated one billion dollars, are purely for profit.

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Beijing Makes Play For Africa

    Beijing Makes Play For Africa
    PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has hailed China as his “second home” and praised Beijing for its refusal to link aid and investment to human rights or democracy as it scrambles for assets in Africa.

    Mugabe’s remarks came in an “exclusive interview” with the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, which rarely boasts of its exclusives but was eager to publicise his appreciation of China’s friendship in contrast to “western hostility”.

    The red carpet has been laid out for 48 African leaders, including Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, as China revels in hosting its biggest summit with the continent since the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949.

    “In most recent times, as the West started being hostile to us, we deliberately declared a Look East policy,” Xinhua quoted Mugabe as saying.

    “These were the friends we relied upon during the liberation struggle and they will not let us down,” he added. “For Zimbabwe, going to China is going to our second home. We regard China as a part of us.”

    Xinhua said China had just extended a £2.7m loan to Zimbabwe to refurbish its biggest stadium, which was built by a Chinese company.

    It has also offered £110m to finance agricultural production and the purchase of three Chinese-made passenger planes.

    Opposition groups and human rights activists say prestigious projects such as the stadium refurbishment are inappropriate when millions of Zimbabweans have been impoverished by inflation and disastrous economic policies.

    But the Zimbabwe deals are emblematic of China’s refusal to let political criticism stand in the way of its demand for oil, minerals, diamonds and timber from Africa.

    Xinhua frankly admitted that China invested billions of pounds in Zimbabwe because it is “keen to secure strategic natural resources to help sustain its mouth-watering economic growth of more than 10%”.

    Mugabe said such investment was welcome because it made Zimbabwe less vulnerable to “pressure and political manipulation” by the West.

    That theme was underlined yesterday when China promised to double its aid to Africa and pledged billions of pounds in loans to forge a “strategic partnership” between the two giants as a political and economic counterweight to western power.

    The announcement came in a speech by President Hu Jintao to his guests that also challenged the West’s attempts to link human rights and democracy in Africa to aid and development.

    Mugabe and Sudan’s Bashir listened with evident approval as the Chinese leader talked of “a regular high-level political dialogue . . . to enhance mutual political trust”.

    In Sudan, China’s strategic interest in securing oil supplies has led it repeatedly to block any efforts by the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the conflict in Darfur, where aid agencies say a human catastrophe has occurred.

    Hu blandly told the Sudanese leader last week that he hoped Bashir’s regime “can find an appropriate settlement, maintain stability, and constantly improve the humanitarian conditions in the region”. Chinese diplomats have also frustrated any UN sanctions against either Sudan or Zimbabwe.

    Hu preferred to focus on “win-win” economic growth — China and Africa conducted £22 billion worth of trade in the first nine months of this year, up 40% on a year earlier — and of “cultural enrichment” through exchanges of ideas.

    The latter has baffled many Beijing residents as their capital has abruptly been plastered with propaganda posters promoting all things African — although some of the African visitors may not be wholly pleased by the visual emphasis on elephants, jungle, warlike tribesmen and colourfully clad women of ample proportions carrying outsize bundles on their heads.

    However, both sides are determined to overlook any unfortunate cultural misunderstandings in their enthusiasm for doing business without strings attached.

    The Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao said China’s aid to Africa would, as always, be “sincere and altruistic” and China has just announced it will cancel about £1 billion in debts owed by some of the poorest African nations.

    However, China has also revealed itself extremely sensitive to accusations that it is behaving like a modern colonial power. Xinhua yesterday dedicated a commentary to refuting what it called “the fallacy that China is exercising ‘neo-colonialism’ in Africa”.

    “The forces that are circulating the fallacy are fearful of China’s fast growth and the positive development of Sino- African relations,” it said, identifying the culprits as “some people from the West”.

    Their aim, said Xinhua, was to “block China’s peaceful development so as to maintain their established interests in the world arena”.

    China has devoted an extraordinary effort to make Beijing pristine, pollution-free and devoid of traffic jams for the summit, in a useful dress rehearsal for the 2008 Olympic Games.

    For Mugabe, the reference to China as a “second home” may be more than a pleasantry. Some diplomats in Beijing think the Zimbabwean leader would be assured of a safe refuge there should he ever fall from power.

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    Default Re: Beijing Makes Play For Africa

    China Doubles Its Aid To Africa
    China has pledged to double its aid to Africa and provide $5bn in loans and credits over the next three years. Chinese President Hu Jintao made the announcement as he opened a summit in Beijing attended by nearly 50 African heads of state and ministers.

    The summit is focusing on business with more than 2,000 deals under discussion.

    African leaders welcome their booming trade links with China, but critics accuse Beijing of dealing with repressive regimes.

    Beijing says it is just doing business and has no political agenda.

    'Historic'

    "Our meeting today will go down in history," Mr Hu told the China-Africa summit.

    "China will forever be a good friend, good partner, good brother of Africa," he said.

    Beijing means business

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi remembered China's support during many African countries' fight for independence.

    "Our main challenge now is not to fight colonialism, but fighting poverty and backwardness and achieving economic independence," Mr Zenawi said.

    "Africa needs the support of its friends to overcome this challenge."

    The city has been smartened up for the arrival of the African leaders, the BBC's correspondent Daniel Griffiths in Beijing says. Red lanterns hang from trees and posters celebrate Sino-African friendship.

    Trade boost

    Mr Hu said that China would double its aid to Africa from its 2006 level by 2009, although he gave no figures.

    Beijing will offer US$3bn (£1.5bn) in preferential loans and US$2bn (£1.5bn) in export credits over the next three years, President Hu said.

    It will more than double the number of goods which do not attract tax when imported to China from Africa.

    China will train 15,000 African professionals and set up a development fund to help build schools and hospitals.

    China's drive to buy African oil and other commodities has led to a big increase in two-way trade, worth $42bn (£22bn) in 2005.

    Africa is also a growing market for Chinese goods, but critics say Beijing is stifling African manufacturing.

    Some analysts have said Africa is the only place left to go, as most of the world's other big oil reserves are already being developed by major Western energy companies.

    The three-day summit is concentrating on the rapidly expanding economic ties between the two sides, and many new business deals are likely to be announced over the weekend.

    Many of them are expected to revolve around China's hunger for African mineral resources, particularly oil.

    'Exploitation'

    Some critics have voiced concerns over how Chinese-owned firms treat African workers.

    Protests broke out in Zambia in July about the alleged ill-treatment of workers at a Chinese-owned mine, and there have been reports of pay disputes in Namibia.

    Human Rights Watch said that all powers involved in Africa, including China, should place human rights at the centre of their policies.

    "Africans do not need another external power enabling abusive regimes," the group said in a statement on Saturday.

    Many economists argue that overall, China's growing economic ties to Africa are benefiting the region.

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    Senior Member samizdat's Avatar
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    Default Re: China Flexes Its Economic Muscle In Africa

    yeah- Africa's being "shanghaied".

    canto XXV Dante

    from purgatory, the lustful... "open your breast to the truth which follows and know that as soon as the articulations in the brain are perfected in the embryo, the first Mover turns to it, happy...."
    Shema Israel

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