Has China’s push for raw materials become a “new form of neo-colonialist adventure” with African raw materials exchanged for low quality manufactured imports and little attention paid with truly developing an impoverished continent?
Quote from Africa/China Relations Article on The Independent
China deals with just about any rogue and unsavoury regime in Africa. It supplies jet fighters, military vehicles and guns to Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ethiopia and other repressive governments. At the UN, China has used its veto power to block sanctions against tyrannical regimes in Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The nature of China’s contracts is most objectionable. They are secured through outright bribery by building presidential palaces (Namibia, Sudan and Zimbabwe) and sports stadiums (Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea). Namibian prosecutors are investigating allegations of bribery and kickbacks on government contracts with China to supply Namibia with scanners at security checkpoints. Nuctech, the Beijing-based manufacturer and headed until 2008 by the son of Hu Jintao, China’s president, is accused of paying $4.2 million in kickbacks to a Namibian front company (New York Times, July 31st 2009, p. A4). Another investigation involves a Chinese contract to build a key railroad link.
Most alarming, the deals are opaque and on barter terms dictated by China. For example, in exchange for oil exploration slots, China will rebuild Nigeria’s dilapidated railway system. But China will supply nearly all the equipment and technical personnel at prices determined by itself. There is no protection against overcharging or cost overruns. As with other projects in Africa, China will supply most of the workers. The potential for exploitation and plunder of Africa’s resources is enormous in such contracts, leading irate African commentators to denounce what they see as “chopsticks mercantilism”. With chopsticks dexterity, China can pick off mineral dumplings with relish in Africa, all to its advantage.
Further, China’s engagement has devastated local industries in Lesotho, Nigeria and Zambia. In Nigeria, the influx of Chinese products has destroyed Kano’s manufacturing sector. In 1982, 500 factories churned out textile products in Kano, but fewer than 100 remain operational today, most at far less than full capacity. In South Africa, the textile union says some 100,000 jobs have been lost as Chinese synthetic fabrics replace cotton prints in street markets across Africa.
Angry Africans are sounding off. In 2007, South Africa’s unions threatened to boycott anyone selling Chinese products. In April 2007, nine Chinese workers were killed in an attack by armed men on an oil field in eastern Ethiopia. In Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has vowed to expel all Chinese workers in the area. (Quote from The Independent)
DISCUSSION: Which would you rather have as the World Cup Anthem – Shakira’s “Waka Waka” vs K’Naan’s “Waving Flag”
So much controversy has surrounded the change of the Official World Cup Song from Somalian Artist K’Naan’s “Waving Flag” to Colombian Artist Shakira’s “Waka Waka”. Some prefer the former while others prefer the latter and then there are those who say it should have been sung by a South African. Which would you have chosen? Shakira’s song which features South African band Freshly Ground or K’Naan’s “Waving Flag” featuring Will.I.Am and David Guetta?
WAVING FLAG Video
WAKA WAKA Video
DISCUSSION: Which of the qualified African Teams do you think stands the best chance of winning the World Cup in 2010?
In 2010 Africa will be hosting the World Cup for the first time. Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have qualified to compete in this historic event. Will Africa set a new record by winning the cup for the first time in history? And if that were possible, which team will most likely bring about soccer victory to the continent?
“I have a huge problem. My wife has lost interest in intimacy and sex ever since we got married and had our first child who is no 9 months old. No matter how much I try to talk about it with her or address any issues she might have, she refuses to entertain the subject. “Is that all you can think about?” is all she will say and walk away. It seems she doesn’t care about how I feel about it. Do I have the right to cheat? I love my wife but I also have needs. I just can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with no intimacy. I feel really guilty about it, but something’s telling me I have earned the right. I had no idea my wife would be this way about sex, and it just kills me. It even puts me in a bad mood sometimes.” – Jon
“Bride Price” should be made unconstitutional. That is what Ugandan Deobrah Awori is requesting in a Ugandan court this month. Awori told the court that she tried in vain to stop her husband from forcefully marrying off their daughter, Evelyn, so that he could benefit from the “bride price” she received. The petitioners argued that demand for payment of a “bride price” by the parents of the bride from the groom – a tradition practiced by many communities in Uganda – gives rise to conditions of inequality during marriage. These, the petitioners argued, were contrary to the provisions of the constitution. The full report can be found at this link.
This is a debate that has been ongoing on different fronts. The Sunday Monitor recently did a study on the pros and cons of “Bride Price”. Below is an excerpt from the article done on the subject this week.
Examples of the negative aspects were varied and ranged from the denial of education to the girl by the parents in a bid to extract wealth from her, promoting early marriages and young men borrowing money to finance the bride price hence starting the new family in debts.
It was also noted that a man who fails to pay bride price is often looked at as inferior and in case of tragedy, to such a man in the form of death of his wife, he would be required to first pay bride price before being allowed to bury his wife. The same report noted that bride price has left many men unmarried because they can’t afford it which makes the having of children impossible for them.
Many women may also fail to return to their homes even under improper treatment from the husband because bride price was paid while others fear that their parents may not be able to refund the bride price they were given thus occurrence and continuation of domestic violence.
In the same report, interviewees shared real life experiences of bride price. Some couples revealed that they have been pursued by the bride’s family for failure to pay bride price while many women have been inherited after their husband’s death and some brides families requested for the return bride price after the death of the wife. Widow inheritance and victimisation of infertile women were among the many experiences shared.
On the positive side, it was noted that bride price has stabilised and resulted into loving relationships between the two families. The report also looked at the connection between bride price and HIV. It found out that women or young girls who are forced to get married for wealth accumulation by their parents maybe presented to men who are already infected since their goal(parents) is just to get wealth. It also noted that wife inheritance as well has accelerated the spread of the disease especially where bride price was paid.
Also looked at was the connection between bride price and domestic violence. The result revealed that 99 per cent of the interviewees had experienced domestic violence, mostly the widowed women.
Read the entire article at this link.
DISCUSSION: Are adoption laws in Malawi unreasonable? Is Mercy’s father ungrateful to Madonna for wanting to raise his child?
Pop Singer Madonna, who adopted a son from Malawi in 2006 has been given the right to adopt a second Malawian child by a Malawi appeals court.
Normally, an adoptive parent has to live in Malawi for 18 months before being awarded a child for adoption there, assuming all else is in place.
The Nyasa Times reports from Blantyre that the Supreme Court of Appeal in Malawi handed down a ruling Friday which overturned a lower court decision preventing Madonna from adopting three-year-old Chifundo (“Mercy”) James from an orphanage in southern Malawi.
In April Judge Esmie Chombo said the pop star could not be granted custody because she was single and she had not lived in the country for the minimum period prescribed by inter-country adoption laws.
The little girl’s father, who placed his daughter in an orphanage because he cannot afford to care for her is devastated that Madonna is able to adopt his daughter and take her out of the country according to the Daily Mirror, a British newspaper.
Mercy’s dad, James Kambewa is quoted as saying, “I am devastated. I did not even know that the judges were making a ruling about Madonna adopting my child on that day…I feel betrayed by my countrymen who gave me a deaf ear because I am poor and Madonna is rich.”
We’ve heard it from Oprah and many others “If he hits you once, he will hit you again” but how true is that? Can a domestic abusive person change for the better? We would like for you to weigh in on this discussion.
DISCUSSION: Is President Gadaffi’s “United States of Africa” a pipedream or simply a matter of time?
For decades, Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi has pushed for a United States of Africa, something all of AU’s 53 states have said they agree in principle to although they can’t seem to agree on a timeline. Estimates for how long this will take vary from nine to 35 years.
Now that President Gadaffi has finally won the top seat at the African Union, he is promising to accelerate his drive for a United States of Africa, saying that if there was not a majority opposed at the next summit in July, this would mean the idea was approved – somewhat discordant with the AU’s traditional way of making decisions by consensus. “I hope my term will be a time of serious work and not just words” he said at his inaugural but will he be able to overcome the reluctance of many African nations especially with his not so favorable past?