Sunday, March 9, 2014

The great China 'takeover' of Africa is greatly exaggerated

RE: The great China 'takeover' of Africa is greatly exaggerated

Good People,
Real facts and proof as on the ground does not lie. China take-over of Africa is real without a pinch of doubt and Africa must wake up before it is too late. To challenge facts, is a distortion of facts. Fooling the intelligence of Africans from real experience to gain the conspiracy of the scramble to Africa is in itself doomed. To deny the fact, is mockery of the highest order....." the pot is calling the kettle black" ......... Wake-up people and smell the coffee.......It is time to face reality, engage in positive competitiveness and challenge to protect Africa's interest and defend rights by standing up to be heard and fighting for dear life...... !!!
A logistic fact explains that, a Trading Partner must share business in a fair balance of exchange, where "Give and Take" is favorable to all without corruption or intimidation. With Chinese factor in Africa there is no balance and the situation is characterized with corruption with excessive under-cutting where the Chinese Labour-force is imported to Africa to off-set and displace local labour-manpower to an extend that the local markets and small trading is overtaken by the Chinese factor. At the end of the day, Government Contracts are wholly owned by the Chinese who evade paying taxes altogether. a Case scenario that has drastically reduced Revenue collection that are meant to improve public infrustructures and pay Government workers, teachers salary, medical practitioners, military and police force as well as public service maintenances.
Their free business protocol with Africa which are negotiated under unclear corrupt circumstances deals with politicians and maneuvres, are not transparent and does not recognize public mandate neither does it respect the peoples constitutionality rights, they are without discipline or policy boarder; for that, they are extremely dangerous to the local peoples livelihood and survival. The fact that they deal in undercover free hand without proper agreement, which they take advantage to do as they wish without observing the constitutional law and order that governs and offer regulatory policy and compliance, are the very reason for exessive corruption, environmental pollution, joblessness, currency flight, economic failure, the imbalances of GDP and as a result causes disruption of peace that are destroying Africa's livelihood and survival. They engage heavily on pirating and smuggling of ivory from Africa. They thrive more when the African countries are conflicting amongst themselves. They deal in hand-out but profit hugely while Africa people are slowly drifting decaying from extreme poverty, landlessness and homelessness and this is unacceptable.
Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Rival Ukraine rallies raise tensions as Crimea crisis deepens

Thousands took to the streets for rival pro- and anti-Kremlin rallies across Ukraine on Sunday as the West and Moscow dug in their heels over a deepening crisis in Crimea. The protests come after a new marathon round of phone calls by US President Barack Obama seeking to defuse the Cold War-style…

China to 'defend every inch' of territory: foreign minister

By Kelly Olsen March 8, 2014 3:05 AM
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, pictured in Baghdad on February 23, 2014, says China will defend its
 sovereignty, declaring there is "no room for compromise" with Japan over territory or history
Beijing (AFP) - China's foreign minister on Saturday said his country would vigorously defend its sovereignty, declaring there was "no room for compromise" with Japan over territory or history.
"We will never bully smaller countries yet we will never accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries," Wang Yi told reporters.
"On issues of territory and sovereignty, China's position is firm and clear: We will not take anything that isn't ours, but we will defend every inch of territory that belongs to us."
China is embroiled in disputes with several of its neighbours including the Philippines and Japan, with tensions centred on rival claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Beijing asserts that almost all the South China Sea is its territory but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
The dispute with Tokyo is particularly tense given historical animosities between the two countries over Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s and 40s.
Beijing and Tokyo both claim a small uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea, administered by Japan as the Senkaku Islands, but which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
Chinese officials and state media have this year demanded that Japan reflect on its historical aggression and atrocities, in much the same manner as postwar Germany has with its Nazi past.
"On the two issues of principle, history and territory, there is no room for compromise," Wang told reporters on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, China's communist-controlled legislature.
"If some people in Japan insist on overturning the verdict on its past aggression I don't believe the international community and all peace loving people in the world will ever tolerate or condone that."
Tensions between the two have risen markedly since 2012 when Tokyo purchased islands in the chain it did not already own from their private Japanese owners. Beijing has taken an increasingly hard line on the issue ever since.
Ships and aircraft from both countries regularly patrol waters around the contested territory and have on occasion come perilously close to armed clashes.
Some, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have mentioned the dispute within the context of World War I, when European powers Germany and Britain went to war.
Wang, a career diplomat who has served at China's embassy in Tokyo and speaks Japanese, discounted such a comparison at the press conference.
"I wish to emphasise that 2014 is not 1914, still less 1894," he said. The latter year marks the start of the First Sino-Japanese War, which ended in victory by Japan in 1895, marking that country's rise as a regional power after more than two centuries of isolation.
"Instead of using Germany before the First World War as an object lesson, why not use Germany after the Second World War as a role model?" Wang added.
The United States, China and Japan are the world's three biggest economies, while Tokyo has a security pact with Washington, which is treaty-bound to come to its defence if it is attacked.
Wang became foreign minister in March last year as China completed a once-a-decade leadership transition that saw Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping become state president.
He reiterated Beijing's calls for dialogue to resolve the issue of the nuclear programme of North Korea, which receives most of its trade and aid from China.
"All along, we have a red line, that is we will never allow war or instability on the Korean peninsula," he said, adding that "mutual mistrust", particularly between Pyongyang and Washington, was preventing a resolution.
Wang also stressed the need for discussions in Ukraine, where forces of China's ally Russia are in effective control of Crimea.
"The priority now is to exercise calm and restraint and to prevent further escalation of the situation," he said. "The parties should carry out dialogue and consultation to put the issue on the track of a political settlement."
Despite tensions with the US over issues including mutual suspicions related to defence and cyber security, Wang gave an overall upbeat assessment of ties.
"The Asia-Pacific should be the testing ground of our commitment to build a new model of relations rather than a competitive arena," he said.
azul23 minutes ago
Mr. chinese foreign sinister, we know you will defend your territory from any invader, but we also know that when you speak of "territory" you include the territories you stole from countries like Tibet, Malaysia, Phillipines, Vietnam, and other legitimate owners. Now, you try to show your cowardly bravado to the Japanese from whom you find it difficult to steal their islands because you are scared of them. Now, you are floating the idea of dialogue and consultation with the Japanese, obviously out of fear for another "Rape of Nanking". What a cowardly gesture, considering that you did not bat an eye when you just grabbed and invaded the territories of those other countries you stole those territories stole from. Mr. sinister, you are pathetically a comedy act, and a cowardly hypocrite.
Bob1 hour ago
Perhaps it is time for a diplomatic meeting among China, Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan. My first take is China and Korea win their debate with Japan over the various disputed islands. Then China loses the debate over the islands in the south China sea while Vietnam, the Philipines, etc retain their territory. Better to address and resolve diplomatically sooner, than have a few military accidents. Every side must give a little, especially Japan and China. China cannot continue to expand their territorial claims and Japan must limit their holdings to places closer to home.


The great China 'takeover' of Africa is greatly exaggerated

Investors from South Korea to Brazil and from India to South Africa are the new kids on the African block. Nor have old investors like the US, UK, France and Australia pulled out.

By Heather Murdoch, Correspondent / March 2, 2014
An official from MTN (bottom, l.), a cellphone company, registers customers’ SIM cards in Abuja, Nigeria. Cellphones have revolutionized communication in Africa.
Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters/File
Abuja, Nigeria
Thatch covers the wooden roof of The Clubhouse in Abuja and the tables are decorated with animal-print cloths. The casual restaurant in Nigeria's capital looks archetypally African, but it is also distinctly Lebanese, serving dishes such as hummus and shish kebabs.
Early on a Saturday night, a young man in traditional clothes taps on his smart phone while manager Assaad Abi Antoun sips Lebanese coffee at a nearby table. "Lebanese can do hospitality at the top level," says Mr. Antoun, who has been here for four years.
The Lebanese are well known in West Africa for owning posh hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. But, like other immigrant groups working on the continent, the Lebanese are not nearly as famous worldwide for investment in Africa as the Chinese, who are popularly believed to be "taking over Africa."
The great China takeover, however, may be something of a myth, according to Bright Simons, an honorary fellow at the Ghana-based IMANI Center for Policy & Education. China is Africa's biggest trading partner – it took the top spot from the United States in 2009 – and a large source of capital. Trade between Africa and China, which totaled $10.5 billion in 2000, ran $166 million in
But Canadians, Americans, Britons, the French, and Australians still represent a heavy footprint in Africa. And a plethora of investors from other emerging economies are becoming more integrated into Africa's social and political life, Mr. Simons says. While not eclipsing China, these new kids on the Africa block are showing a dynamism previously hidden by China's shadow.
African trade with South Korea and Brazil has moved from single-digit billions in 2000 to more than $25 billion each in 2011. (Korean giant Samsung peppered the continent with $150 million in shops, technology, and employment between 2010 and 2012, the company says.) India's footprint is small, but growing at 400 percent a year, according to Páidrag Carmody at Trinity College Dublin in his 2013 study "The Rise of the BRICS in Africa."
Investment by the emerging economic powerhouses of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) has doubled since 2007 in Africa, though numbers are notoriously poor (see accompanying story). A 2013 United Nations study shows African foreign direct investment grew 5 percent, to $50 billion, while shrinking in nearly every other region.

Africa's 'rise of the rest'

Africa auctions off mining and oil exploration to a "broad array of companies from around the world that you did not see before," says Todd Moss, a former senior State Department official dealing with Africa who is now at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
The push is being called a "rise of the rest" for Africa, or a new "South-South" partnership. Partly the story is of high rates of growth. New "greenfield investments" – business start-ups – from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates have eclipsed those of China, according to a new Ernst & Young study.
"People have said China is bolstering its 'soft power' through the use of charitable projects, Confucius Institutes, donations of medicines, etc.," Simons says. "But the truth is that most of these projects are lackluster."
To be sure, China's role in Africa will never be insignificant. Large-scale symbolic projects such as the highway across Nigeria or the new African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, built by China at a cost of $200 million and the tallest structure in Ethiopia's capital, are hard to miss. With trillions in cash reserves and few legal restrictions on public-private partnerships, China's presence in Africa grows daily.
But the idea that China and the West are the only competitors in a battle for Africa's resources and markets is outdated, says Ben Payton, an Africa analyst at Maplecroft, a Britain-based global risk analysis company. "In addition to Africa's traditional partners in the West, there is growing interest in Africa's resource wealth from companies in countries such as Brazil, India, Singapore, and South Korea," Mr. Payton says. "By some measures, Malaysia provided more foreign investment in Africa than China last year."
Nations like Malaysia appeal to African states, says Mr. Moss, the former US-Africa trade official, as an "Asian model" that emphasizes strong political control and wealth. "Americans want both political openness and open markets, but Asians stick to a commercial relationship," he says.
With only Asia growing faster as a region than Africa, foreign investment can be successful on the continent despite troubles such as constant power outages and muddled trade laws, according to Thomas Hansen, a senior Africa analyst at Control Risks, a security assessment firm. "It's one of the few places in the world now where you can get a relatively high return on your capital," he says.
South Africa understands
In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, with more than 160 million people, Indians own many of the supermarkets and computer shops. South Koreans are well known for making affordable electronics available. Brazil and Russia are growing players in Nigeria's gas and its 2.2 million-barrel-a-day oil export industry, the largest in Africa.
South Africa, the largest economy in Africa, stands out as one of the most successful investors, leading the telecommunications industry on the continent and building shopping malls and supermarkets, according to Simons of IMANI. South African investment tends to be visible in terms of social impact, he adds.
"South Africa has the exceptional capacity to understand Africa," he says. "South African investments tend to be savvy."
At a cafe in Abuja on a Sunday afternoon, waitress Becky Utase flips her BlackBerry in her hand. Despite rapid economic growth, the African continent is still the poorest in the world. Ms. Utase says foreign investment only matters to her if it somehow helps Nigerians live better lives. Mobile phone networks, she adds, mean the world to her.
Before cellphones, much of Nigeria and the continent was not connected by land lines. Utase says she remembers when posted letters or physical visits were the only way to keep in touch. "Communication is easier," she adds, sitting on a couch overlooking her dining customers on the patio. "Even work is easier. Back in the day all business needed to travel."
South Africa's MTN leads the telecommunications industry, and other major phone companies in Africa are based in the United Arab Emirates and India. Nigeria's own Globacom Ltd. provides mobile phone service in three other West African countries.
All these non-Chinese telecom companies, however, sell equipment such as handsets, headphones, and chargers made in China. Among the many innovations in mobile technology especially suited for Third World customers are popular prepaid flash modems, almost exclusively produced by China's behemoth Huawei Technologies.

Anti-China platforms

People in Africa often say they like China because the country's investors build roads, the needed predecessor to development and economic growth. But that doesn't necessarily translate into winning hearts and minds, according to Payton, the Africa analyst.
"Chinese companies are generally far less concerned with respecting internationally recognized labor standards than their Western counterparts," he says. "As a result, workforces and local communities in countries such as Zambia have become increasingly hostile to Chinese employers [see sidebar]."
This hostility feeds on itself when African governments use it to distract the public from their shortcomings, according to John Campbell, former US ambassador to Nigeria now at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Both Zambia and Malawi have elected presidents who ran on anti-China platforms.
"The tendency," says Mr. Campbell, is "to blame the Chinese for certain domestic shortcomings, particularly about whatever government is in power."
The main difference between Chinese investors and all the rest, according to Mathew Agabi, who works at a popular Indian-owned supermarket in Abuja, is that Chinese companies are known for importing their own workers, and that angers many Nigerians. Locals employed by Chinese companies also are expected to work what Nigerians call "slave hours."
When Chinese companies don't hire locals and teach them technical know-how, Mr. Agabi says, they leave behind a community of workers that can't handle or maintain high-end operations. "South Korean companies don't have those issues," he says.
Chinese investors are not alone in angering Africans. Nigerians complain that most foreign companies may hire a majority of locals, but then give choice positions to expatriate workers. Nigerians particularly loathe Western clothing companies that prefer to open factories in Asia and overlook a massive pool of unemployed laborers in Africa. "They should build factories," Agabi says.
Investment anxiety, however, targets China because it tends to be the least accessible culturally, according to Payton. Few Africans speak Mandarin, and many fear that Chinese investments allow African governments to evade Western demands for compliance with human rights standards.
"In the long term, there is a risk that anger at perceived Chinese exploitation could escalate into a perception that China's political and economic clout enables it to exert a form of neocolonial domination over Africa," he says.
On the other hand, he adds, China has championed poverty-alleviation programs at home and could serve as an example for policymakers in Africa.
"Chinese investment is not only providing Africa with new infrastructure and new sources of capital," he says. "It is also altering the horizons of policymakers and driving a new confidence in the continent's economic outlook."
Back at The Clubhouse in Nigeria, manager Antoun says China may not be literally taking over Africa, but its presence is certainly palpable. A few years ago, Antoun says, he had one-fifth as many Chinese customers. Most of their work is in construction, he adds, and infrastructure draws other investors.
When his place opened about seven years ago, it had been a canteen for a construction company, without air conditioning, reliable electricity, or even a fan.
"There was nothing, from decoration to infrastructure," he says.
Antoun is not concerned that Chinese investors will drive others out because the Chinese tend to keep to themselves and avoid businesses with a high public profile, he says. In Nigeria, he adds, foreign companies struggle more with dealing with the country's chaotic business policies and poor infrastructure than competing with each other.
Hurdling those barriers, he says, is one thing Lebanese excel at. But he is sardonic about his reasons for working in Africa. The Nigerian economy is growing more than four times as fast as the Lebanese economy, according to the CIA World Factbook, and insecurity in the Middle East is making things worse. "We have to do something outside [Lebanon]," he says, lifting a single finger in the air, "because the chances in Lebanon are between zero and one."

Libya threatens to bomb North Korean tanker if it ships oil from rebel port

By Ulf Laessing and Feras Bosalum TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya threatened on Saturday to bomb a North Korean-flagged tanker if it tried to ship oil from a rebel-controlled port, in a major escalation of a standoff over the country's petroleum wealth. The oil dispute is just one facet of the deepening…

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