China’s monetary policies in Africa has latterly driven the focus of the international community, but Javier Clemente notes an opinion that shifts the debate to the nub of Western schemes on the continent.
The United Nations declared 2015 to 2024 the Decade for People of African Descent (which is actually nine years and not ten)
“The Decade is a unique platform that emphasises the important contribution made by people of African descent to every society, and promotes concrete measures to stop discrimination and promote their full inclusion.”– Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights | Human Rights Council, 43rd session, 13 March 2020
So, what has really changed?
First of all, Africa doesn’t have a unified foreign policy front, although China holds more than 20% of African’s foreign debt, it is somehow said that China controls Africa’s foreign policy, which is not at all the case. Most of the countries are financially, politically and economically controlled by their former colonial enslavers.
When I read about “unfair terms and deals” regarding China and Chinese companies in Africa, I just look at my country Equatorial Guinea, where oil rich resources are being run mostly by American companies.
“U.S. companies are the dominant producers of Equatorial Guinea’s crude oil, although European and Chinese companies have started to play a role in the sector.”– EIA profile on Equatorial Guinea
Recently, one of those companies have been making big news in the oil sector, regarding their “new big deal” in Equatorial Guinea, being awarded a sharing production agreement with the local government, and owning 80% of the productions while “the government” only owns 20%.
Again, every time people talk about the Chinese companies taking Chinese workers to work in Africa, my mind goes back again to my country where thousands of foreigners, mostly American, British or Canadian citizens. They enjoy having most of the jobs in the oil industry of the country as well as the majority of the service contracts in the country’s oil and gas industry.
Not At all I am saying that China’s relationship and cooperation with Africa is perfect. But what wonders me is how easy is to express worries about China’s operations in Africa while doing nothing at all to fix the American company’s operations in Equatorial Guinea. Which at the eyes of the western governments and people, are closed to perfection in caring about the local population’s interests as well as the United Nations’ commitments.
When the IMF Executive Boards approves loans of millions of dollars for a country which economy generates billions of dollars of revenues for oil and gas productions, then it becomes a worry. They do not even care asking where the money goes at all or even find solutions to this issue by putting into practice the necessary remedies and steps.
That means they have by default become part of the problem as well, and that’s what history is going to say: the impoverishment of a very rich country.
Every time we start hearing a lot of noise about the country in the international media, suddenly there is a new oil concession in favour of American companies (practically the only ones operating in the hydrocarbon sector in the country) with the same questionable contractual terms that for no one is a problem, because it only affects the real owners of these resources, the people of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The fact is, if it were Chinese companies operating in the oil industry of an African country taking 80% of the benefits of production that would be a scandal that would be sanctioned even in the United Nations, a model of economic colonization that no one would admit or accept, but it is not China in this case, but America, so no one says anything, while the people die of poverty.
I believe that American companies are the best in the world when they want to, and can also do the most harm when they want to; and if they wanted to, they could help making Equatorial Guinea a small paradise that Americans and other foreigners would be proud to visit and see, and read good news about, but is that really the case?
I remember having some Nigerian friends visiting the country and visiting some sides within the oil industry, and they kept asking me, “why and how come there so many foreign Westerners everywhere? This doesn’t happen in Nigeria or Ghana”.
That is why it is so important to know and visit countries like Equatorial Guinea before simply criticizing or calling a whole nation corrupt without really knowing where the corruption comes from and who is really the creator of poverty and corruption.
In a global economy where every decisions can affect the lives of millions of people in a positive or negative manner, corporation shouldn’t be so negligent on betting against a country’s people and caring only about their financial gain, because that is a criminal offense in the long term and is like building your own criminal case, and what for?
If the resources of a country are abundant, why would you want to take the majority of it for yourself? What is your justification? Because your country has a bigger and stronger army? Because you will defend a political regime even though it doesn’t serve its purpose to their people? Is this the kind of example and the kind of world we would like for our children and for the future?
Africa deserves to have peaceful and prosperous countries and communities, and some happy endings, or certainly American freedom, good legal practices or is simply that respect for human life only exist in the Hollywood movies?
The international community, the United Nations, and any international economic actor should be considerate and supportive of the cause of good practices in the exploitation of natural resources available in the world, which are limited and needed for all, don’t you think?
If China is really a threat for the United States, they just shouldn’t have any diplomatic nor commercial cooperation at all, that’s the proper behaviour regarding enemies. But if that is not the case, Africa should be allowed to be let to grow and expand to its maximum potential.
Written by Javier Clemente Engonga Avomo
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheAfricanDream.
Arakunrin Lekan is a Managing Editor & writer at the TheAfricanDream LLC. He’s also a freelance poet, graphics designer, and a business man.