Can Africa benefit from the Chinese ‘World Bank’?

It is always a good thing to have more and ideally competing providers of essential services, including in global development finance.
Chinese companies have won public works tenders across Africa. (File)
Chinese companies have won public works tenders across Africa. (File)

Editor,

Reference is made to Kenneth Agutamba’s article, “How will Africa benefit from the Chinese ‘World Bank’?” (The New Times, April 19).

It is always a good thing to have more and ideally competing providers of essential services, including in global development finance. Of course in setting up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) China isn't driven by altruistic motives but by cold calculation of how best to advance its geopolitical and global economic interest by reducing the stranglehold Washington and its allies have over global finance.

Africans can only benefit from this competition between these global economic behemoths, if our leaders are adroit enough to navigate the collateral damage of this kind of fight.

But prudence, just because two predators are fighting over you doesn't mean either is doing so in order to defend you. They are just tussling over who has the right to devour you. You can still exploit their fight to your advantage, but to succeed in doing so you need to be wily—and lucky.

Mwene Kalinda

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I agree with Mwene Kalinda. By launching its “World Bank”, China seeks to create conditions that facilitate access to raw materials from Africa to Chinese booming industries and to facilitate the movement of China’s exports across the “developing world”. But with corrupt leadership in many part of Africa, the AIIB will probably change nothing.

Many Africans will continue to die of hunger and drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to seek greener pastures in Europe. On the other hand, the United States of America will fiercely fight back by using the usual weapons—democracy and human rights.

And then the African countries that will try to benefit from the AIIB will be labeled kleptocrats with endless reports of alleged human rights abuses. As the Kinyarwanda saying goes, “Aho inzovu ebyiri zirwaniye ibyatsi nibyo bihababarira” (When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers).

Butare

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