The Strategist

USA: China is deliberately driving Africa into a debt hole

03/09/2018 - 06:28

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized the model of China's economic development in Africa, saying that it encourages dependence and deprives the government of the opportunities for long-term democratic growth.

U.S. Department of State via flickr
U.S. Department of State via flickr
Tillerson noted that China is using methods of corruption and bonded lending to undermine the governments of African countries and drag them into a debt trap. All this is happening against the US efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, enhance the rule of law, the management system and implement long-term security goals.

On the eve of his first official trip to Africa, he gave a speech at the George Mason University in Virginia. Tillerson demonstrated China's growing participation in Africa in the last decade. The country financed large infrastructure projects, built railways in countries such as Kenya, established factories in Lesotho, Namibia and Ethiopia. In Africa, China is making its first major steps as a global power, opening a base in Djibouti and sending peacekeepers to Southern Sudan, Mali, Liberia and the Congo.

Beijing also invites thousands of African leaders, officials, students and businessmen to China in the hope of developing a new generation of African leaders.

However, China is also accused of supporting authoritarian regimes, in the process of creating bad roads and infrastructure built by Chinese workers, and also in focusing on countries that have oil, minerals and other resources that China needs. In January, China was accused of wiretapping the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia.

"Chinese investment could solve the problems of the lack of infrastructure in Africa, but this approach has led to an increase in debt and a small number of jobs in most countries. In addition to political and financial pressure, this threatens Africa's natural resources and its long-term economic political stability," - noted Tillerson.

Tillerson for the first time outlined a number of policy rules for the Trump government.

During his meetings in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria, Tillerson said he would engage leaders on a wide range of issues, from the fight against terrorism and governance to trade and investment. He also praised the success of the signing by George Bush and Barack Obama of programs such as Power Africa for electricity supply, the Young African Leaders Initiative, which is being implemented in support of a new generation of leaders and the PEPFAR initiative to combat HIV/AIDS.

Tillerson also announced allocation of $ 533 million for food and medical assistance to Somalia, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Western and Central African countries on the border with Chad.