Tuesday, September 22, 2009

China spreading it's largesse in Africa and beyond

I have posted on several occasions about the investments China has been making in infrastructure and resource development across the African continent. Initially, people were thrilled with all the news and hoopla attendant with the investments. However, there has generally been grumbling and resentment simmering and surfacing by locals in most African countries. Usually when there is this type of aid and development, the ancillary businesses which crop up to support the building of roads, mines, water systems, etc are local, so the local economies grow. In China's case, though, Chinese businesses tend to move in, do not hire locally, look down their noses at "inferior" locals, so that only the ministers who cut these deals with the Chinese benefit. In today's New York Times, there is an excellent example of what has happened in Namibia, especially after locals woke up:

"Namibia charged that the state-controlled company selected by China to provide the scanners — a company until recently run by President Hu’s son — had facilitated the deal with millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks. And until China threw up barriers when Namibian investigators asked for help looking into the matter.
Now the scanners seem to illustrate something else: the aura of boosterism, secrecy and back-room deals that has clouded China’s use of billions of dollars in foreign aid to court the developing world."

Be sure to read the rest of the article.

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