Jan 25 2007

Chinese-African trade: it is what it is

Published by at 12:14 am under Current Events,human rights,WorldView

A flood of low-cost Chinese labor is hurting the economies of many African countries.

This critique of Chinese intervention in the continent would be laughable if the situation wasn’t so tragic. China’s government and business leaders make the case that these countries wouldn’t be letting them do business if it didn’t benefit their nations. Of course that’s true – starvation wages are evidently better than no wages at all for many Africans.

In doing business in Africa, China is setting up strategic footholds in resource-rich but economically backward parts of the world (Very much like China’s recent effort to acquire a controlling stake in our own Canadian mining companies). Westerners and some other Asian nations with a vague fear of Chinese domination may condemn the Dragon for its opportunism and ruthlessness.

But doing business with regimes where human rights are more of a passing thought than an enforced principle is a little more understandable when the investor is itself a geriatric thugocracy. China is really just doing what pretty much every other country traditionally does to Africa – only with a little more honesty.

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