Claim of Sino-imperialism in Africa is a lie
Updated 19:11, 24-Nov-2019
Ngovi Kitau
Diesel train cars at the container terminal of the port of the coastal town of Mombasa, May 30, 2017. /VCG Photo

Diesel train cars at the container terminal of the port of the coastal town of Mombasa, May 30, 2017. /VCG Photo

Editor's note: Ngovi Kitau is the former Kenyan ambassador to the Republic of Korea. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN. 

On November 20, 2019, The National Interest (TNI), the American bimonthly international affairs magazine published a nonsensical and scandalous article: "China is not in Africa for charity, but to control its resources." A detailed analysis reveals that this is a distraction to bulwark the real culprits.

The narrative can be summarized into two substantive accusations: One, "In much of Africa today, China is the imperialist power." Secondly, "the greatest threat Africa faces today is Sino-imperialism. It is now in danger of being captured by China's sinister Sino-imperialism that will keep Africa from entering its renaissance."

These frivolous depositions are not only a failed attempt to demonize the Chinese, but also an outright insult to intelligent and knowledgeable Africans. Most Africans, who are not in cahoots with imperialists understand the modus operandi of imperialism: Divide and conquer, divide and rule, divide and ruin. Where in Africa are the Chinese perpetrating this evil?

Let us now deal with the first accusation and see who are the real imperialists in Africa. To start with, the Chinese have never had interest in colonizing Africa. During the Ming Dynasty, Admiral Zheng Ho visited the East African coast in the early 15th century, and his voyage did not lead to Chinese expansion. Vasco da Gama came a few decades later and Africa is yet to recover from the plunder by the imperialists.

The real imperialists on African soil today is the UK and the U.S. These two countries, forcefully removed the African Chagossians people from their ancestral land, to create room for construction of a joint military base, between 1968 and 1973, and have defied UN demand and the International Court ruling that they vacate the Chagos Archipelago, which they acquired illegally, and belongs to Mauritius.

On June 23, 2017, UNGA voted 94 for, and 15 against, and approved for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to clarify the legal status of the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean. In February 2019, the ICJ in the Hague ruled that the UK should transfer the islands to Mauritius as they were not legally separated from the latter in 1965.

In May this year, the UNGA voted by an overwhelming majority of 116 to six countries in favor of a motion condemning Britain's occupation of the Chagos Archipelago, which belongs to Mauritius, and demanding that the Islands be reunified with Mauritius, by November 22, 2019. UK has defied the UN.

The failure by the UK to give effect to the ICJ ruling and the UNGA is deeply regrettable, and should be condemned by all. I see no reason why the UN and AU should not impose sanctions against the UK.

The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo opens in Changsha, China's Hunan Province, June 28, 2019. /VCG Photo

The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo opens in Changsha, China's Hunan Province, June 28, 2019. /VCG Photo

The second issue is, who is stopping Africa from entering its renaissance? The answer to this question can be found in a research report published by Global Justice (which is an international human rights and humanitarian law organization) under the banner of Honest Accounts 2017, which is a follow up of another report released in 2014.

In the 2014 report which covers 2012, 58 billion U.S. dollars left Africa (SSA) to support developed countries in the Western World. And in 2015, another 41.3 billion U.S. dollars followed. The figure in the second report is slightly smaller, largely because of the fall in international prices for raw materials, the main export of most African (SSA) countries, since mid-2014.

Both reports confirm that the countries of Africa (SSA) are collectively net creditors to the Western world, meaning that much more wealth is leaving the world's most impoverished continent than is entering it, despite the grandiose rhetoric of aid to impoverished African countries.

The second report elaborates that "African countries received 161.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 – mainly in loans, personal remittances and aid in the form of grants. Yet 203 billion U.S. dollars was taken from Africa, either directly – mainly through corporations repatriating profits and by illegally moving money out of the continent – or by costs imposed by the rest of the world through climate change."

The British government bears special responsibility for this exploitation, being the head of a giant network of overseas tax havens - more accurately described as secrecy jurisdictions facilitating this theft.

The report has identified 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange which control 1.05 trillion U.S. dollars' worth of resources in Africa in just five commodities – oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum."

The 101 companies have mineral operations in 37 African countries and are mainly British, with 59 incorporated in the UK. However, some 25 of the 101 LSE-listed companies are incorporated in tax havens, principally the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey."

The shifting balance of wealth and power away from the U.S. and Europe to rising China is a reality imperialists will have to live with. In addition, Africa's growing importance in the global supply chain, its growing relevance as a market and its centrality to the new international order should not be misconstrued.

In conclusion, the propaganda caricature and yellow journalism being propagated by Western media will not sway Africans who have survived centuries of humiliation in the hands of imperialists.

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