David Cameron warns Africa of a 'Chinese invasion'

By Heiko Khoo
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 4, 2011
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At the Berlin conference of 1884, European powers agreed to carve up Africa taking 90 percent of the territory within ten years. They achieved this by combining the barrel of a gun with Christian missionaries. The European scramble for Africa was the precursor to the First World War, seizing the last unconquered landmasses of the world.

The shift in the world balance of forces following the First and Second World War gave rise to powerful revolutionary nationalist movements in former African colonies. In the 1950s and 1960s African independence movements swept the continent. Revolutionaries like Kwame Nkrumah the new leader of Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) raised the idea of a United States of Africa to overcome the scars of colonialism.

He wrote: "Only under socialism can we reliably accumulate the capital we need for our development and also ensure that the gains of investment are applied for the general welfare."

The advocates of a Socialist United States of Africa failed to gain a sufficient base of support across Africa, partly due to the weakness of the working class, but also because revolutionary movements were used as pawns in the international geo-politics of the Cold War. Between 1960 and 1968 there were 64 coups or coup attempts in Africa, the Pentagon admits it meddled in African affairs 47 times over the last 50 years, engaging in everything from coup plots and assassinations, to the present-day bombing of Libya. Nowadays, Western powers view Africa as either a terrorist threat or as a continent in need of aid!

After the end of the Cold War the imperial powers imposed so-called 'Structural Adjustment' policies based on privatization and rolling back the state. These policies caused economic chaos, and led to a plunder of public assets. Much of Africa spiraled towards disaster; by 1995 half of Africa was either in civil war or faced serious civil disturbances. Chinese investment played a positive role in helping to shift the balance of forces in Africa towards economic development.

Meanwhile British capitalism, the most experienced Africa hand, helped facilitate the systematic plundering of the continent while presenting an image to the world of democratic benevolence. In truth for every $1 of Western Aid that is given to Africa, $10 is illicitly transferred to Tax Havens, particularly British ones. A total of $437 billion was siphoned out of Africa in this way between 2000 and 2008. Thus the continent of Africa, where 50 percent of the people live on less than $1 a day, continues to subsidize the wealthiest capitalist countries.

In North Africa the British and their allies fly sorties and drop bombs on an hourly basis on Libya so as to oust Gaddafi, a man they claim is a murderous dictator, but it is no wonder Gaddafi's face appears bemused; as he was so pleasantly courted by the high and mighty of the capitalist world only twelve months ago. The former Egyptian and Tunisian capitalist dictators, Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali, amassed tens of billions of dollars from deals with the West and at the expense of the living conditions of the masses. But somehow British support for these dictators slipped silently from the memory of Mr. Cameron.

No-one is going to claim that all Chinese investment in Africa assists development. No-one claims that corruption, the misuse of funds, bad labor practices and environmental policies don't exist, but the main attacks on Chinese-African investment are not based on a study of the facts. They are based instead on a hatred of China's non-imperialist method of engagement with Africa. The support that Chinese infrastructure projects provide to African development is helping to weaken economic dependence on the old empires and to lay the material basis for a new and prosperous Africa.

The author is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn


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