Written and researched by Robert Asketill
Seemingly US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has entered the African continent in the spirit of the Peace Corps, and President Barak Obama will think no other way, but are they too late? The fact is that today to be an African is to carry the burden of the foreigners’ troubles. After a long fight with the colonialist, as we saw in Angola, the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, with the dream of being truly independent and then to become the bread basket for an overpopulated planet, they see their valuable tracts of cultivation and mineral wealth swept away and in whichever direction one tends to look, one can only see Africa being fast manipulated as the treasure house for foreign investors.
There is no question in the early days the hope was in the mighty United States of America, but their internal squabbles and the passion for issuing sanctions that prevented American industry and commerce helping out in the new Africa, has led to the emergence of the dominant party system, excessively authoritarian and corrupt, and unable to provide any reliable tools for effective oversight, accountability and accountability. It imposes on the country the law of the jungle in which the absolute power does not respect the laws and the Constitution and transforms the country’s wealth in a family property.
The democratic system in Angola does not respect the rules governing the universal suffrage: the election administration is done by establishing mechanisms supporting prior levels of representation in Parliament, according to the personal will of the Sovereign and the international community pretends to be unaware of the reality of this ‘democracy’. In a true democracy, law rules and public administration is nonpartisan. In Angola, the reality is otherwise. Despite her many pronouncements, Secretary of State Clinton is lost in an African jungle made by themselves. Now today, China’s investment in Africa is the single most important development for the continent and has not been hindered by such damaging USA sanctions but it is a little worrying that Madam Clinton cannot fully acknowledge the fact that Africa needs investment and it is not wise at this time to state: “We are concerned that China’s foreign assistance and investment practice in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance.”
There is a taint of colonialism talking this way. China has close on 2000 companies stretched over most of the continent with dollar investments going into many billions of dollars. Nigeria and South Africa are fast becoming respected trading partners to China and as we saw recently Lagos in Nigeria has its own Chinatown that imports, exports and manufactures products. There are some 50,000 Chinese nationals working in Nigeria which boasts of two Chinese-funded special economic zones. America must work fast to catch up, but again, we mention “Sanctions”.
The USA has, as we have seen in North Sudan, crippled its scope of investment and friendship due to economic sanctions. The Chinese investor could see the hidden mineral wealth and has steadily taken advantage of the position that the Sudanese government needed investors and certainly needed those from the USA but sanctions prevented this. However, this year the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control removed the private Bank of Khartoum from sanctions. This could be a good sensible start for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to promote the benefits of U.S. economic partnership for Africa. We can only hope.