China's presence in Africa has become more visible especially in the last decade. This was fueled by the new trade tariffs put in place recently by the U.S. President Donald Trump; the new legislation opened a crack which China gladly exploited.
African countries had become so dependent on foreign aid that when the U.S. President announced the new Trade Tariffs and reduction in aids from the United States, Africa was in jeopardy and her leaders began to run from pillar to post in search of help they do not need. This led them into the waiting hands of China who willingly offered to help by establishing a China-African Trade agreement, No interest loans, and the promise to provide 'help' through infrastructure and economic support across the African continent. At what cost though?
In a video documentary by Al Jazeera (English) published on July 23, 2018; the Media outlet showcased China as a savior of the African continent. It further said that China had built roads and assisted the continent with funds that has helped to boost her economy.
It referenced the four-nation tour of Africa with stops in Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius by the Chinese President, Xi Jingping. It also quoted Senegalese president, Macky Sall, who had described China as 'Africa's natural ally' at a joint news conference with the Chinese president - whose trip to Senegal was his first to West Africa as leader.
But the question still remains, who truly benefits from this relationship?
Just a few days ago, the Chinese ambassador to Zambia, Li Jie, has said that China will continue helping Africa with no political strings attached to the aid. Mr. Li said that no political strings includes non-interference in the internal affairs of those states. But the activities of China in Zambia is a complete contrast of his claims.
He was speaking during the sixty-ninth Chinese National Day in Lusaka.
According to him, the Chinese government has set aside 60 billion United States Dollars to offer financial support to Africa in terms of governmental assistance and investments in companies.
At the same function, the Minister of Higher Education in Zambia, Nkandu Luo, said that Government remains committed to further strengthen the bilateral relations and cooperation that exists between China and Zambia based on mutual respect.
Professor Luo said Zambia values the technical support from the Chinese government in infrastructure, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Education among other sectors.
This came just a day after the great Legal luminary, speaker and Pan-African Activist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba of Kenya was refused entry into Zambia as a result of his stance that China's presence in Zambia is pernicious.
There are unconfirmed reports that his deportation was carried out on advice from the Chinese authorities who convinced the Zambian government that allowing the Professor to deliver his proposed speech in Zambia on the topic “Africa in the age of China's Influence and Global Geo-Dynamics” will raise the consciousness of citizens, and spur national conversations which may not be healthy for its relationship with Zambia.
Why would Zambia deport an African who is legally eligible to enter into the country, just because he has spoken against China's pernicious dealin…
China has taken advantage of the debt situation in Zambia to completely gain control over the country. Today, Zambia is a country in the jaws of China - who continues to control its economy and citizens.
When we talk of Neo-Colonialism, our attention often shifts to the conceptual West. Little did we know that our enemies are not only the West, but Asia as well. China has turned many African citizens into slaves in their own country. Through the control of leaders and economies, China has turned Africa to a market for its substandard goods while it exploits her human and mineral resources as compensations for the bribes it allocates to African leaders in the guise of loans.
In an article published recently on The Zambian observer titled "The Chinese Debt Trap & The Economic Take Over Of Zambia," it is obvious that China has made Zambia a puppet and controls all its mining sites. This is as a result of the huge amount of debts Zambia owes to China.
A list of the 'official' loans which China has given to Zambia in the last 5 years include:
- Kenneth Kaunda International Airport: $360 million (2014)
- 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower Power Plant: $1.7 billion (2015)
- 360MW Kariba North Bank Power Plant Expansion: $430 million (2014)
- Lusaka L400 roads: $300 million (2013)
- Copperbelt International Airport (Ndola): $400 million (2017)
- Lusaka de-congestion: $286 million (2017)
- Communication towers – the Topstar deal: $280 million (2017)
- Copperbelt C400 roads: $418 million (2015)
- Chipata-Serenje railway line: $2.3 billion (2017)
- Mongu-Kalabo Road: $287 million (2011)
- 2,000 Military Houses: $157 million (2017)
- Mansa-Luwingu road: $242 million (2012)
- Mbala-Nakonde Road: $180 million (2011)
- Lusaka sanitation project: $130 million (2015)
- Kafubu water and sanitation project: $104 million (2014)
- National Heroes Stadium: $94 million (2011)
- Levy Mwanawasa Hospital Expansion: $90 million (2015)
- Kafulafuta Dam water project: $449 million (2017)
- Housing project for security wings: $275 million (2015)
According to the article by Daimone Siulapwa, Editor-In-Chief of the Voice Newspaper in Zambia:
"The Chinese have become so powerful and influential in Zambia such that they can get anything they want at the expense of the citizens, their influence is so powerful such that a few months ago the Zambian government appointed 8 Chinese nationals into the police force, an act that brought out a national outcry.
"The Chinese police appointments were withdrawn within 24 hours of appointment due to the national outcry and the security concerns issued raised by the citizens who took the commissioner of police to task.
"In June last years, some Chinese nationals, working for copper smelting companies on the Copperbelt Province were detained by police for suspected illegal purchase of copper tailing raw materials as well as for the torture of innocent illegal Zambian miners.
"In show of authority and to prove the extent to which the Zambian government has sold its soul to China, China is said to have threatened to withdraw its investment and slash financial support to Zambia if it’s national arrested in Chingola for illegal mining activities were not released."
Africa through the African Union must come to the aid of Zambia in repaying its debt to China and begin a continental revival to release the continent from the hands of China. This is because Zambia is only a reflection of what is going on in many countries across Africa.
The issue of Chinese debt-trap is putting Zambian sovereignty under threat as it has been reported that talks are underway for a Chinese company to ta…
Source: Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, The Zambian Observer, The Voice Newspaper
Header Image Credit: Eric Olander/ Medium.com