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An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Tuesday, May 23, 2006
        China – again!
        Black River Eagle at Jewels in the Junglehas asked me to return to the topic of China in Africa. I can oblige now. My first post on the topic, East-West pull on Africa, was about the contradictions of international aid for Africa. While I was reading different online news and analysis on the Sino-Afro intensifying love affair, one thought that persisted was how good a mixture of Sino-West international aid policy would have benefited Africa.

        Good things from China
        China is not afraid of investing in what the West has been shying away from or deliberately ignoring. China is not intimidated by railways, power stations, free trade, debt cancellation, bridges and roads. These are infrastructures and policies that Africa desperately needs. In short, China goes way beyond band aid treatment to address poverty in Africa.

        Worrying things from China
        I still find China’s disregard for human rights both domestically and internationally worrying. However, I do not hold China personally accountable for human rights violations in Africa. At the end of the day, it is African leaders who should be responsible for the people of Africa and should be held accountable for the mess they create. Still, it would help if China dangles the carrot slightly out of reach every time African leaders violet human rights if anything out of humanity to the people of Africa.

        The line between China and some Western countries is very fine and at times non-existent regarding human rights. The US has some troubling human rights records as well even though it is good at wagging its fingers at other countries. I am sure it was embarrassing for the US to be voted off the UN Human Rights Commission in 2003. It is continuing ignoring human rights violations by continuing to support governments which clearly violet human rights. The US is looking away while human rights are clearly violated in Ethiopia because it is an ally in the war against terrorism (via Meskel Square) The Swiss and other Western European banks happily stash away money stolen from African poor people.

        This does not mean that China’s renewed love affair with Africa, given its own human rights records, should not worry us. It is just a matter of choosing a lesser evil.

        How about India? May be Africa should turn to India – the oldest democracy, understands the aftermath of colonization, should have empathy about the complexity of ethnic diversity, is huge on education and can provide affordable medicine. If anything both China and India should inspire Africa to come up with its own type of development. Now is the time to do it while the African Commission is staging a meeting on development to "discuss how to put development into practise." Screeeeeetch! Excuse us for the technical difficulties over the last five decades, folks. We’re starting all over again!
        posted by Fikirte @ 7:04 AM   Digg!
        • name<="c114847261992556519" id="c114847261992556519">

          At 8:10 AM, Blogger Black River Eagle said…

          I have only a few minutes to respond to this post today due to time constraints. BBC News online has two recent articles on the China-India & Africa trade and investment drama, plus BBC News Have Your Say will broadcast a special program on May 25th (tomorrow) featuring a Q&A with Hilary Benn, the U.K.'s Secretary for International Development. There are already 7 webpages of questions and comments submitted by BBC News online readers. Here are the links:

          India & China to boost Africa - May 22, 2006

          Nigeria gets $1bn China rail loan - May 22, 2006

          Have Your Say - Ask Hilary Benn May 25, 2006

          Well, there goes the farm... I will be back, later.
          General Douglas MacArthur :-)

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