Even though there is a perception that the United States gives large amounts of aid to Africa, the fact is that the Chinese and the Arabs are licking their lips at all of that mineral resource wealth that Africa holds, and are in the process of filling the
gap left by the West's lack of interest in the Continent.
Rest assured, if the US does not act fast and inject investment capital into African development, others will overtake you, and American dominance will only be further eroded as a result...
Sounds great, problem is in 10 years the rest of the world will scream about our empirical desires, even though we never claim the territories we have conquered. Why bother investing in war torn areas where we will just have to send troops to protect our interests while the rest of the world does nothing, thanks but no thanks. By the way, isn't that why the rest of the world hates us?
I meant shouldn't American companies be encouraged to invest in Africa. Naturally I wasn't suggesting that the US conquer anyone . Because I am pretty sure that Chinese and Middle-Eastern companies are already in there up to their knees, and once they've got firm footholds, you could find yourselves squeezed out of an entire continent.
There is a lot of civil unrest and outright war in most of these "mineral rich" regions. Nigeria, S.Leon, The Sudan....
Its not a perception, the US provides a lot of money to Africa. The US would send more if it weren't for all of the instability.
Besides giving people money so we can get their oil...haven't we played that game before? Energy independence. Thats the answer.
As far the rest of the world???? Let them eat cake.
None of what you write seems wrong as such, except the last sentence.
While I agree with a previous post, that Big Player companies (European companies, Chinese companies, American companies) tend to ignore human rights in places like Central America when they set up shop, as well as bleeding jobs out of America itself when they do, I still think that my overall general point is right: that China is definitely going to end up dominating the African economy in the future, making it an even stronger competitor for the US (so you can't really let the rest of the world eat cake -- that's how the Japanese took over both from GM/Ford and IBM in world dominance), and if I had to choose between a China that clearly doesn't care about human rights and an America that at least permits discussions like this one about human rights to even take place(!), I'd go for the latter.
The US does give aid, but I wasn't talking about aid, but commercial interactions (which might include the building of infrastructure, as you can't run businesses without this).
As for the military instability, again, Africa is many countries, and not all of them are unstable (Botswana, for example, has diamonds, and is pretty stable).
Finally, military instability is caused in part by poverty (which leads to warring over resources ultimately), partly by bored, unemployed young men -- both of which are economic issues.
I don't like how the last sentence sounds either. However I believe we are going to have to get our own house in order. Today's government in America is not capable of executing a fair foriegn policy. Further the US economy is in a lot of trouble.
Japan dominates the auto industry because of UAW GREED and the US Governments refusal to enter into sound trade agreements. In fact in every segment of manufacturing you find the same thing...Unions and corrupt foriegn policy.
I am no expert on this, but I would have thought that Japan had unions too. But, in any event, it cannot be denied that GM's arrogant attitude to the world's consumers, who were always bound to want fuel efficiency in the end, had much to do with Japan's dominance. That, and Japanese efficiency and standards in terms of manufacturing, much of it set up by Americans after the Second World War, in fact.
But the details are unimportant -- the point is the same: one way or another, a blindness to what goes on in the rest of the world is always going to end up endangering American industrial and service sectors.
What about the fact that the US, China, and any other country or business with power has been exploiting Africa, like, forever.
The problem is that the American government can't be as open and friendly with African warlords/dictators without coming under heavy fire from the public. China, on the other hand, can, and does, so they are kind of cleaning up right now. But don't you worry, Shell gas and other good American capitalists are screwing over - uhm, investing - in African resources very profitably.
African development will not come from this because these outside actors couldn't care less about development as long as the resources are flowing. For this, a harsh dictator does the trick. The only political action comes when this flow is threatened. If it were the case that outsiders want a developed Africa to trade with, European colonists would have developed Africa a long time ago.
Depressingly, this all sounds right.
There is also another factor that might bear some pondering, however, and that is one of "culture."
In this case I am referring to the culture (the attitudes, and outlook) of corporations, not of Africans (though Africans' cultures would be implicated). By this I mean that at the moment the corporate attitude to Africa does tend to be one of "exploitation."
However, given that corporations and their shareholders are interested in the bottom line, there is another way of looking at Africa -- Africa is a continent of millions of people who, if they had disposable income, would be *customers.*
A lot of times things happen because of attitudes and outlook on the world. The outlook on Africa includes certain perspectives, generally those to do with *resources.* But Africa *could* be looked at as a huge pool of potential *consumers*... (in other words, raising the standard of living of Africans, along with Africa's infrastructure, means increasing new markets for goods).
This is true, yet what products does America produce that would be desired by Africans. Once again American industry cannot compete with China when it comes to providing goods to sell. If America could compete Wal- Mart would not be filled with Chinese goods.
I hope what you say is possible. Reading over my message again, I may have come off a bit bitter and cynical, but it's hard not to be with Africa's history of foreign influence. I would love to see African development, even if it can only come when it is in others' interests.
I also agree with Arthur's post that until China isn't paying pennies per hour for labor it will be very tough for the United States to be competitive in selling goods to Africa.
Fareed Zakaria wrote a book about the future "decline" of America (forgot the name) a few years ago saying that a rising competitive China is not necessarily the end of the US if we can accommodate instead of compete. It's pretty interesting... considering it's either that or WWIII!
I hope China, India, and the Latin American socialist union give these imperialist a run for their money. I am so tired of seeing Africa struggle. Its time. Selling out begot slavery and all other woes. I rather be a dead lion than a live dog!
China is just getting into this. We are far more invested in Africa already.
China has major advantages in world economic terms. It has money, and a vast developing domestic market that keeps the motors running when exports fall, with a rolling development of infrastructure, commercial and domestic property to keep it on the up. The west is mostly in a similar position to America who has been a net importer for over 20 years now.
We need to get used to the idea that China will show up in more places everywhere, and that they could be the biggest economic fish in the pond soon; along with all the other 'tiger' economies being Asian.
The 'rich' nations got rich and maintain their riches by taking it from others, including Africa. I hope that China in these markets and areas will force us to consider their different solutions to our tired old problems.
"a vast developing domestic market that keeps the motors running when exports fall"
China's domestic market is nowhere near the level where it could prevent a total disaster for China if exports were to fall greatly. Not even close. Outside of the almost-overdeveloped coast, China is still a very poor country. Development continues to be very lopsided, which carries dangers for both the coastal regions and the vast interior lands. Still, it's good to see The Middle Kingdom growing. Who knows where they'd already be by now if not for the disastrous turn to Communism.
Give it a little more time and I think you'll start to see African countries questioning some of the investment deals they are happily making nowadays.
And when China becomes a significant presence in Latin America - let the culture clashing begin!
Still, all these things will work themselves out eventually.
The United States is very interested in Africa, otherwise we would not be there, or watching all the various battles that are going on there. Or, trying harder to stop the smuggle of the goods you mention from reaching the United States.
One of the reasons we are not as interested in Africa as we are in other nations, is there is little strutcure. Everything is primitive, There is little in the way of highways, airports, hospitals, and even running water. and a majority of the people there are poor. And, with all the militant groups running around, giving them any kind of wealth would just lead to more fighting and power struggles.
Another reason is the minerals that you are talking about. If they were to encourage those countries to mine gold, diamonds, and other minerals that they are finding there, they would be free to flood the markets with their materials, thus bringing the prices of those items down in the United States, and elsewhere. However, if this was about Oil, I would think we
would be trying to make as many friends over there as we can.
I think they are waiting for these countries to build themselves up, so that we can work with them when they are more productive. Also, being over there with any presence right now, when we are already fighting 2 wars, and neglecting our own citizens more and more, would not be a good image. But, you know they are thinking about it.
This is a well-thought-out answer. Thank you for it.
There is indeed little structure, but perhaps this is exactly a reason to help them *build* such infrastructure. Once such infrastructure is in place, then an entirely new playing field for economic activity opens up.
This helps America in a number of ways, including the fact that American companies can set up shop there, and the fact that as Africans' incomes increase, their buying power increases, which includes the ability to buy American goods.
As to the military groups operating there, I don't know the stats, but I do not think that most countries in Africa are actually in the process of civil war at the moment (in contrast to even a decade ago). To be sure, you need a strong civil society to be able to do business there, but certain countries have the beginnings of this.
As to the minerals, I was suggesting that it be the American companies who excavate these -- because as it stands at the moment, it will be Chinese companies who underake this in Africa: who will flood your markets with their products anyway. As for oil, the Chinese are in the process of exploiting oil in Africa as we speak.
As to overseas presence, I was not suggesting any military presence on behalf of the US. I also wonder if American skilled workers could not be employed IN Africa (by American companies, or African companies), thus helping the employment situation in the US.
But my point overall is that all of these things listed above will very definitely be done by the Chinese in Africa over the coming years; and it is the Chinese who are going to gobble up the world economy, and take it away from you folks.
I think DeBeers already owns every Diamond and Gold mine from Morocco to South Africa. So the U.S. is going after the oil and poppy's in lower asia/middle east. There's no room in Africa for two superpowers who are friends. We would just make enemies with already peaceful allies!
The reason I started this thread is because of the facts as they stand today -- these facts are that the Chinese have every intention of making out of Africa a fully-developed resource base for their own companies, and their own economy. So Africa will get developed. But it will be an Africa tied to China if this is not headed off.
This will mean that, in addition to China, Japan, India, the Asian Tiger economies, and the European Union, America will have an African Continent tied to the Chinese and Middle-Eastern Gulf States economies to contend with.
Frankly, from a humanitarian point of view, I would rather see Africa dominated by America than by China. This is because China doesn't even respect the human rights of its OWN citizens. America, however, while often accused of much wrongdoing, is more likely to uphold human rights in Africa than is China.
But also, it is in America's interest to get in there fast. Africa is full of promise. It is a continent crying out for road construction, for example, to name only one sector of many.
Imagine if American companies could get their hands on the economic opportunity of building the roadway system of an entire continent...
I watched a documentary the other day about the smuggling of Diamonds in African nations. This where I got my information from. A lot of the relief efforts over there in these areas
are lead by American and Britsh interests.
There was never any mention of the Chinese, Asian, or Arab nations being involved over there. The main problem they are having is with militants raiding the mining fields, getting their hands on the minerals and taking them across the border into a neighboring country, where they are then exported abroad
by people who are good at hiding it.
This is the reason there is little involvement. One of the things they don't know, is how much the neighboring countries
of the ones that are mining, are involved in the trade. Until
they figure everything out, they are going to move in slowly.
It is possible that going all out on development in just one country that needs aid, will have the countries around it crying foul. Or, what are you going to do for us?
This would also further inflate our image as the pirates of the world. If you have anything of value we want, we will pretend like we are there to protect it, when really we are there to eventually move in and take control of it.
I you ask me, if we have an american company in africa for the sole purpose of extracting their minerals, just so that they can
end up in the american markets is a selfish idea. Why should we have sole right to be the ones to manipulate a country into giving us what they should be able to cultivate and sell to us without us being there.
America is part of the problem. It is our desire for these elements that not only fuels the fight to get them here by the militants. It is quite possible that the countries you speak of want to get their hands on it, is so that they can export it to us. So. I wonder what you think of that?
The manipulation factor is definitely an important issue to raise -- my point is that China is going to do this manipulating in your place if you are not in there as a strong player... and in China they don't give a stuff what you think; whereas Americans actually have a lot of lobbying power (usually not used because Britney Spears is too interesting... true of Canadians and Europeans also), and in America there are interest groups watching what goes on, and ready to cry foul -- China could care less about such groups, however...
"But also, it is in America's interest to get in there fast. Africa is full of promise"
A few people have already pointed out to you that America is already "in there."
I just wanted to comment on your suggestion that America is better at human rights than China. All you have to do is go south of the border into Mexico, or over to India where a lot of our jobs have been exported to, and you'll see how much America cares about a country they are investing in.
People who work in what was once in america are working for pennies on the dollar down in mexico, and, pretty much avoiding a majority of the regulations that they faced in the United States. No health care, no pensions, no profit sharing. Working overtime without getting paid for it. You name it.
Why do you think so many companies were so anxious to leave when the Nafta treaty was created. Because they could care less
about their workers. And, moving into africa, I'm sure they would bring even less of a worker incentive attitude, and probably pay them even less. With zero benefits.
One of the reasons why companies in America are so ready to hold their thumbs on top of the working public, and try to wiggle out from under our current laws, by saying. Hey, if you don't like us now, you'll love us even more when we close everything here down and go to Mexico. Give us a deal, and maybe we'll stay another 5 years.
The only reason American companies would build in Africa, is if they were sure that they were going to get a free ride. Which would not only include our military protecting them, but, also allowing them to do whatever they desire when it comes to their
business. Which would be the same as here, doing whatever they legally can to shaft their workers while making huge profits.
Sound like fun?
The Chinese are already heavily invested in the African continent. I know when the Portuguese pulled out of Angola China stepped in to aid them with the rebuilding of their infrastructure. The country had been at war for 25 years and there was not much left. China came in and allowed Angola to borrow billions as long as Angola hired Chinese companies to rebuild their country. Then China sends thousands of its citizens into the country dominating the work force. They let Angola pay back the loans through mineral rights. The Chinese work themselves into the community and become part of the culture. There is a billion of them so one day we may find many countries peacefully occupied by a huge Chinese population. A great strategy to domination.
I agree. I think most of us Westerners walk around with blinders on. In Europe most of the news is about... Europe. In Canada it is mostly about America and Canada. And in the US, well... you know...
To watch Western news you'd think there were four places in the world: America, Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan... oh yes, and of course Israel.
But to truly understand anything about the future, we need to understand China in particular, but also India. We could also stand some understanding of the Arab world that was not limited to terrorists threats, because I am sure we will one day see an Arab Economic Union like the one in Europe, that has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with being a strong economic player on the world stage.
Americans need to worry about these sorts of things, because they tell you about the world your children will be living in... a world in which most of you will be retirees, and therefore *also* dependent on economic trends.
How could America possibly compete with China influencing the African continent. We would have to borrow the money from China to aid the continent. Unlike us China has huge liquid capital they can invest interest free.
I agree, except that it is corporations that should do the investing, rather the government. And they do have access to capital.
Africa needs investment. The more investors the better. The Chinese are the first serious investors to put money in the intra-structure. America should invest too, not for fear of the Chinese. Very few Africans speak Chinese.
Well, there is one sense in which the British, Americans, and French have already one the contest for domination -- try travelling the world without either English or French, and you'll see what I mean. Far more Africans speak English (and speak it well) than do Chinese, percentage-wise, is my guess. But the Chinese realize they have to learn English, if they are going to get anywhere, and are doing it super-fast.
The Chinese are more then willing to export chinese speaking people to Africa.
Isn't China contniniuosly dominating the world economy by reaching the markets all over the world with their cheap products?
The US is an old dog that can not be taught new tricks. Trying to compare Americans investments in Africa with Chinese investments in Africa is like trying to compare day and night.
Americans no longer want to deal with toys and road construction jobs but are doing much specialised trades of high tech in Africa.
Take for example Kenya. The total cost of all coffee and tea grown in Kenya per year can only equate to the seven Boeing 777 Kenya Airways imported from US recently. Who calibrates and maintain those aircrafts? Its done by American companies. If you look further in specialised industries like aviation, you will realise the cost of installing a few dozens of the specialized aviation radars being done by Americans is far much more than what the Chinese would earn in constructing every other road in that country.
An ordinary person looking at Americans interest in Africa will not see any, but when you dig deeper that's when you'll realize the Americans knows what they are doing. If you look at $$ amounts on 0.5% interest being paid on debts by Africa to Americans companies, you will realize these guys are harvesting when they are just relaxing in New York.
But the Chinese are also good people. The problem is that they want everything done by their own people including Chinese women broadcasting in African languages – they are penny pinchers.
The insularity of Chinese people can be the beginning of a problem. If you take a look at Southeast Asia, the Chinese make up a small minority but they are usually the minority that's wealthy because they own the big businesses. They seem to work only with other Chinese people which means that they don't share any wealth that they profit from the majority population to foster non-Chinese business relationships. The majority population will resent that and at some point, the Chinese will be attacked. It's happened in Indonesia and Malaysia.
And some of the same justifications that were used in Europe against the Jews were thrown around at the time. They are just as illegitimate in that context.
Well of course there is no legitimate cause to attack a group of people, but I think if you want to do business in a country, it's a good idea not to be insular.
Is that really what happened to the Jews in Europe, I thought it was the Europeans who didn't want the Jews to mix in and put them in ghettos?
Corporate Globalization is NOT an American only Agenda. In the end it makes little difference.
The IMF feeds money to countries knowing full well they can not repay the funds. Then they move in and take over a countries resources.
The people who control the World's Central Banks are not loyal to any one country.
This is in fact the "New World Order".
What you are suggesting is what is already occuring, stealing resources from the Countries through Global Corporatism.
The Owners Country of Origin does not matter. Theft is theft. To suggest the United States won't get their share is kind of silly.
This really amounts to which rapist gets to bend over the country first. In the end they all get their shot.
America should invest heavily in AMERICA.
What is happening in Africa is funded by the World Bank and IMF.
Raping the owners of their rightful property is not "Investing".
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