Practically every nation and peoples on Earth were once thought backwards and not worth the time of day.
China's economic colonialism in Africa is infinitely more humane; the Ottomans were similarly good at assimilating the cultures they enveloped as their empire spread, this contributed to their strength. They allowed their subjects to prosper, pay taxes and live peacefully. The Chinese know that you can't collect taxes from the dead, there is no market in a penniless population. They've learned from history and it will serve them well.
Market the Beast Beast Market! Zimbabwe $
It was only a matter of time. I'm looking forward to people complaining about American jobs being shipped to Angola.

@1 Really, how many genocidal wars have their been in Africa since during the 20th century? I'm guessing about the same amount as Europe. It seems you are buying into to the monkeys with guns version of Africa mentioned by Charles. Europe was a continental wide industrialized death camp/ war machine for 30 years but its the Africans that are a bunch of savages?
I'm confused, are you actually arguing that capitalism is the answer for Africa? I would totally agree that foreign aid has been a disaster of unintended consequences for Africa, but investment and trade are the very roots of capitalist economy. You might be right, but if China + Africa ends up as a large scale version of Royal Dutch Shell + Nigeria, it ain't going to be pretty.
@6, there you are wrong. this is what capitalist do not get about marxists who are not leninists. there is a big difference between trade and capitalism. capitalism often blocks and distorts the former.
I hate those neoliberals at the Wall Street Journal. Basically, this is puffery to push some run on the market. With the history of Africa, do you really expect one-sided deals between the Chinese government and African dictators to benefit the average person. Considering that the US can't work out fair trade deals with the Chinese govt, what are the odds these are good deals?
Ok, genuine question here Mr. Mudede - why do you hate microloans so much? What's wrong with trade AND investment AND microloans, all working together? If a women's collective in central Africa says they need a thousand bucks to grow their business, and me and a bunch of other people loan it to them (as we did, and the loan was paid back in full), how is that a problem?
@7, I'll bite. What part of what the Chinese are doing in Africa will end up with Africans owning the means of production? Why do you believe that Africans will end up with the "surplus value of their labor", especially since the Chinese state is exploiting the hell out of their own people?

The Chinese are doing deals with African states, not the African people. Chinese interests are a major factor why the evil and oppressive Sudanese regime operates virtually unchallenged. China may be less bloody in how they exploit Africa, but it is naive to suggest that they will be any less efficient than the colonialists.
Mudede and @3, you guys don't have a f'g clue as to what's going on in Africa. Jesus, at least go there before you start writing this inane shit.
"All of this time you pretty much painted Africans as chimps with nations and guns"



3 years' jail for diesel diviner who took Robert Mugabe for a ride

IT was a miracle hailed by the authorities as a solution to Zimbabwe's problems.

Nomatter Tagarira, a spirit medium, had apparently been blessed with the power to conjure diesel from a rock - providing fuel for a country suffering dire shortages.

Unable to contain their excitement, President Robert Mugabe's officials invested in Tagarira's extraordinary abilities, lavishing her with a $2.7 million cash gift. It was more than a year before they realised they had been fooled.

On Wednesday, Tagarira was sentenced to 39 months in jail for defrauding the government and supplying "false information to the state", according to court documents. "Many people became gullible," magistrate Ignatius Mugova told the court.

"The state channelled immense resources toward the diesel project."

What Tagarira, 35, neglected to mention after revealing her supernatural abilities in 2007 was that she had earlier filled an old fuel bowser with diesel, attached a length of pipe, and hidden it. Then she let it be known to local functionaries of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party that ancestral spirits had given her the gift of spiriting diesel from a rock 96km north of Harare.

Mugabe dispatched a taskforce to investigate what was already being talked about as a source of fuel for the nation. The ministers of State Security and Defence watched as Tagarira struck the rock - the signal for a hidden assistant to open the tap from the bowser - and a fountain of diesel gushed out.

The ministers, accompanied by the deputy commissioner of police and an array of military commanders, removed their shoes, sat on the bare ground and clapped in unison. They returned to report to Mugabe that the nation's fuel problems could be at an end. Sentencing her, Mr Mugova said Tagarira had lied to the government and the people. "Her trickery brought despondency in the nation," he said.

At one point, ministers supplied a 50-vehicle convoy for her on a 465km trip for night-time rituals to consolidate the "project", he said. She was flown about in air force helicopters. As well as the cash gift, she was given a farm seized from its white owner, cattle and large quantities of food. A permanent armed guard was stationed around the rock.

The ruse came to light after Mugabe, not entirely convinced, sent a second taskforce. This time, it reported she had "failed to prove the existence of fuel".

Tagarira immediately absconded. She was caught, and escaped but was recaptured after nearly three years on the run.

Even after her first arrest, some remained convinced of her supernatural abilities. At her first court appearance, she went into a trance, growling apparently possessed - causing several spectators to flee the room.
@8, you have to understand HOW these deals will benefit "the average person". The Chinese don't give a crap about poverty; they just go in and make their infrastructure proposals. They don't even mention "the average people". They treat African nations as if they were just like anyone else.

The benefit comes from the resulting economic development. Some Africans work on the construction projects; that helps. Others work in the mines. Mine work in Africa can be horrifying but the past fifty years have proven that the horror of the mines is nothing compared to the horror of the alternative, which is NOTHING, an economy built entirely on aid, and on graft. A crappy job is better than no job, and generations of no jobs.

Another thing the Chinese do is live like the Africans. Chinese workers don't have the same expectations of living standards that Americans or Europeans do. When we go in, we set up camps, with our own generators and food and Range Rovers and dance parties and security operations and so on, while the Africans are locked outside the compound watching the party inside. This is equally true for development missions and aid missions. Almost all of the money that goes to aid actually goes to support the white aid workers.

The Chinese don't work like that.

The question of whether the Chinese push in Africa is just a "new colonialism", as the British government aid establishment famously said a few years ago, using Africa just to extract the mineral wealth they need, just as the century of Europeans did (to say nothing of the centuries of human extraction before that), hasn't been answered yet. The African nations for the most part still don't have a political culture. The money still goes into the pockets of the ruling clan. Whether they use it wisely or not remains to be seen. The Africans don't have the institutions. But the Chinese don't care; they never mention it, they never ask.

The Westerners, on the other hand, never stop talking about it. The aid-centered West only ever wants to talk about poverty and structural collapse. In country after country, "poverty" is the only subject the West wants to talk about, and "here is how we're going to alleviate your disaster" is the only way we ever address them.

But if anything has been proven beyond a doubt over the past fifty years, it's that aid has destroyed Africa. Literally destroyed it. Food aid puts farmers out of work, forcing them to move to the burgeoning mega-slums. Food aid's main purpose, anyways, has always been to prop up WESTERN farmers with subsidies. Even something as simple as sending a million free mosquito nets -- who could be against free mosquito nets? Well, the guy in Africa with a mosquito net factory that employs fifty people who are now unemployed, that's who. (This is not a theoretical example). In five years those free nets will all be ripped and ruined, and there will be no replacements.

The old wave of aid agencies know all this, and don't care; they're more about raising funds for themselves. Bob Geldof's entire career for a quarter century has been about promoting himself under the guise of "helping Africa". Bono, Madonna, Angelina and the rest of the celebrity train are just as useless, indeed counterproductive.

What helps Africa is bringing them into the modern economic reality. Building their economies. Amazing opportunities abound; the market penetration of cell phones, in countries where it is impossible to get new landline phone service and even the existing service is collapsing (they steal the copper wires, never to be replaced), is shocking. The best aid is not aid but doing business. Even in the aid spectrum, new ideas are taking hold, of for instance using the aid money not to prop up Western farmers or Chinese manufacturers but to give business to Africans. Buy those nets from the African manufacturer, not the Chinese one.

The single biggest help the West could give Africa is, of course, KILL YOUR AGRICULTURE SUBSIDIES, but that will never happen. Until it does, Africans will always look with extreme skepticism whenever Westerners start telling them what to do.

I've recommended a book called "Dead Aid" here before. It's by a Zambian woman named Dambisa Moyo and it's short and snappy. Her point of view is the opposite of Charles's -- she is a former employee of the World Bank and Goldman Sachs -- but her argument resonates with his.

Another useful book for understanding the differences between the Chinese and Western approaches to Africa is "The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence" by long-time journalist Martin Meredith.

"Even when 10 tried to explain this to you, you took a very stupid inference away from his post. Nobody is engaging with you because you have proven yourself incompetent,"

Please explain what my "stupid inference" was. He said most violent criminals don't get arrested and prosecuted, I agreed. Logic dictates that this means that the black violent crime rate is even worse that portrayed by statistics. Please explain in detail why my inference is "stupid". If you can't do it, then I am right and you are wrong.

"Nobody is engaging with you because you have proven yourself incompetent"
Please explain in detail exactly where I am "incompetent" or even where I am incorrect. If you can't do it, then I am right and you are wrong.
oops wrong thread! Sorry ha ha
@15, and how do you think Mugabe got that way? How do you think he came to power in the first place? Where did he come from? Whose agent was he?

You don't know anything. You're not participating in the discussion.

No argument that Europe put Africa in the state its in, and agricultural subsidiaries are uniformly against the interests of everyone other than a few huge corporations.

On the other hand, the junior economist's conclusion was that the Chinese were somehow doing things more fairly, based on nothing more than ad hominem attacks. I think you've at least tried, but it doesn't amount to more than Thomas Friedman's flat earth meets Ronald Reagan's supply side economics.
China is gonna fuck Africa up the ass like the rest did.
@ "Fnarf" @ 17

I know that Robert Mugabe went to Oxford. He must have been admitted under some kind of Super-Affirmative Action Program On Steroids or something.

He and his government and ministers are supposedly the "best educated" and "smartest" people in Zimbabwe.

If Mugabe and a bunch of high-ranking government officials who report directly to him got fooled by a goofy trick that would not fool a 5-year-old at birthday party here in the USA, just think about how dumb all the common folk in Zimbabwe must be!
I wonder how much of this economic growth comes from exploitation of mineral resources. That kind of economic growth is actually not good for the masses-- it tends to concentrate wealth into mining operations and leave the locals with nothing.
Fnarf and Chuckles, which country was it that exported hundreds of thousands of machetes to Rwanda in the weeks before the genocide began? I'll give you one guess.
Why the characterization of microlending as "stupid and useless"? The practice is pretty widely recognized as an engine for economic development. I met with some member-lenders of Jamiibora in Nairobi earlier this year and certainly saw that access to capital allowed entrepreneurship to exist where it couldn't before, and entrepreneurs to improve their own quality of life.

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