BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM
A couple of decades ago its rare or non-existent at all to see African cities with modern facilities like railway, industrial and ICT parks, among others. Of course as a product of modern technology these facilities need quite a considerable amount of money to afford. So not only these, even a TV set and cellphone could be surprising in many African villages.
Considering the importance of these technological facilities, many Africans should have experienced them many years ago. Africans deserve even more such technologies to lead a decent life, simplify their life and even help them compete with the rest of the world. They need to acquire more in education, science, agriculture, industry, transport, medicine …etc.
But its people are yearning for these technologies with a lot of eagerness. Most probably the accessories for these technologies could be from Africa. But the countries in the continent struggle hard to get the fruit of their producers.
Hence the question comes how come the continent fell prone to such paradox? Many of the countries have been liberated from colonization for decades. But it is clear to understand that they have been languishing in poverty, civil war, corruption … etc due to colonization.
Now the countries can see not only railway, industrial parks, 4G internet … etc due to their deals with China. No need to echo the myriads of talks by the west media about Chinese investment in Africa as they have said a lot about it.
What is important to mention here is why china’s investment and the loan becomes a question only when it is in Africa. Chinese banks and companies also invest in America, Europe and elsewhere. In addition, many countries in Africa or Asia have more debts not from China but other lenders like WB, ADB. But all eyes from the west spotlight on the loan and investment from China than these lenders. So it becomes clear that the focus of the west is more on protecting the legacy of colonialism than safeguarding Africa’s interest.
After all African countries are sovereign enough to do any business deals that they deem necessary for their future. No matter how the deal could have drawbacks it should be left for their discretion as they have to decide on their fate under any circumstance. They do not need a caretaker that makes decisions in their shoe.
Furthermore, it is up to them to do any remedial measures to their deals. Africa also makes similar deals with other growing economies like Turkey, Japan, Russia, and India among others. It is more in a position to determine its fate according to its interest and benefit. In all its undertakings with these partners, it sits on the table with its sovereign right, agenda and mandate.
So far through its partnership with the growing economic powerhouses, especially China and Turkey African countries are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in their long and baffling journey out of poverty, backwardness and dependence.
China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 years, even though bilateral trade declined 10.5% to USD 187 billion in 2019. It is also the fourth-biggest investor in the continent, according to IISD. This has been true despite the upsurge of the global pandemic COVID both in the continent and the world. For instance, Ethiopia can be taken as a good example in attracting Chinese investment as well as transforming its trade and economy to become independent from external influence.
As a result, Ethiopia has managed to possess dozens of industrial parks that play a big role in creating thousands of jobs, boosting its export trade and foreign currency earning. Furthermore, it has enjoyed an increased level of transport and communication, hydropower energy, telecom and railway infrastructure among others.
Owing to this Ethiopia is now in a position to beef up its partnership with China, Turkey, India and others to further ensure continuity of its economic growth. This is mainly because the country pursues and surely must pursue an economic partnership that can help it maintain its political independence rather than make it eternally tied to the coercion of the west. Yet, it is facing a series of challenges and attacks for the pioneering role in forming economic ties that eventually ensures that it will never fall to the coercion of the west.
Therefore, it is up to the countries of the continent to weigh the cost and benefit of their relations and partnership with any country including China and the emerging economic powerhouses and make a decision without any force dictating it behind. Any attempt against it would be a contravention of the sovereign rights of the countries and is nomore acceptable.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The
The January 4/2022