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State of Mankind

China Now Controls Africa

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John Mac Ghlionn

December 23, 2021

Epoch Times Commentary
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When we think of colonialism, we tend to think of men like Christopher Columbus and Charles Du Gaulle; and countries like France, Portugal, and Spain. In other words, we tend to think of colonialism in the past tense, as something that occurred long, long ago.

Today, however, millions of people across the globe still live under colonial rule. Some will scratch their heads and ask how? But, it’s important to note, colonialism looks a little different today. It’s less explicit, less violent, and less obvious.

In Africa, let’s call it “colonialism with Chinese characteristics.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is busy constructing bridges, ports, roads, and state-of-the-art facilities in Africa. These projects come with a significant price, and that price is freedom.

Of the 54 countries in Africa, 45 have already signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This year, Congo became the 45th African member. Shortly after signing on the dotted line, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa entered into an “unconscionable” mining deal with Beijing. Congo is the world’s leading producer of minerals like metal, cobalt, and copper. Sadly, the Chinese regime now controls the country’s mining industry.

The BRI saddles members with unimaginable levels of debt. In November, The Diplomat’s Mercy Kuo warned that, ever since the BRI was launched back in 2013, “China has outspent the U.S. on a more than 2-to-1 basis.” However, it “has done so with debt rather than aid, maintaining a 31-to-1 ratio of loans to grants.”

To compound matters, Kuo found “that the average [recipient] government is now underreporting its actual and potential repayment obligations to China by an amount equivalent to 5.8 percent of its GDP.”

Not surprisingly, a number of BRI participant countries are experiencing a sense of “buyer’s remorse.” Why wouldn’t they? More than one-third of BRI infrastructure projects have “encountered major implementation problems—such as corruption scandals, labor violations, environmental hazards, and public protests,” noted Kuo. Moreover, “project suspensions and cancellations are on the rise.”

Kuo’s findings are backed up by a recent study carried out by AidData, a research lab at the College of William and Mary’s Global Research Institute. According to Bradley Parks, AidData’s executive director and a co-author of the report, unreported debts alone “are worth approximately $385 billion.” The hidden debt problem, he warned, is likely to get considerably worse.

What does all of this mean for Africa? In short, nothing good.

Take Equatorial Guinea, for example, a country heavily indebted to Beijing. The CCP is currently attempting to build its first permanent military base in the West African country, according to American intelligence reports. The small nation, home to just 1.4 million people, has an abundance of offshore oil reserves—a fact not lost on the CCP. According to Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, the new base will allow China to establish “naval presence on the Atlantic” and directly compete with the United States.

Even countries not signed up to the BRI cannot avoid the ominous shadow of the CCP. China has invested in 52 out of the 54 African countries; 49 of the 54 countries (more than 90 percent) have signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Beijing. These MoUs are the equivalent of entering into a Faustian bargain. By accepting large sums of money from Beijing, African countries have allowed the CCP to enter their backyards and exploit their resources.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping inspects a military honor guard during his official state visit at the Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa, on July 24, 2018. (Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images)

Who Controls the Money Controls the Future

China’s investments in Africa are strategic. Going forward, to do business with Beijing, one will have little option but to use e-CNY, China’s new digital currency.

Last year, Huawei unveiled the Mate 40, a smartphone that comes with a pre-installed e-wallet that uses China’s digital currency. Soon after the unveiling, the CCP started putting the phones in the hands of millions of Africans.

As researchers at the Lowy Institute noted, it appears that China’s “secondary focus may very well be Africa—with an eye towards disrupting the global financial system.”

Is the CCP using Africa, the world’s fastest growing continent, to reshape the international balance of power? The answer appears to be yes. Not only is Africa the world’s fastest-growing continent, it’s the youngest; 60 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 25.

In recent years, the Nigerian capital of Lagos, home to the fastest growing economy in Africa, has seen an influx of Chinese investments. The two countries enjoy an apparently unbreakable bond (although Nigeria is heavily indebted to Beijing), with China now looking to establish banks in the megacity. What is occurring in Nigeria should be seen as an attempt to control the entire financial narrative across the entire continent of Africa.

Not only is the CCP reshaping the financial narrative, it’s also reshaping the military one. According to a recent report, titled “China’s military education and Commonwealth countries,” several African nations, including Ghana and Tanzania, have opened CCP-sponsored, “politico-military schools.” These establishments, according to analysts Radomir Tylecote and Henri Rossano, should be understood in the context of Beijing’s growing efforts to gain even greater levels of control over developing countries. Not surprisingly, as the report shows, a large number of the countries participating in these programs are also members of China’s BRI.

A Continent Conquered

In less than a decade, China has essentially conquered a continent of 1.2 billion people, a continent with an abundance of natural resources, including diamonds, sugar, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, and cocoa beans.[More see Reply/Comment]


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  1. Ellanjay's Avatar
    [Continues from above entry]

    As the colonization of an entire continent was occurring, the United States and the European Union simply sat back and did nothing. One can’t help but feel that their latest projects, the ‘Build Back Better’ and Global Gateway initiatives, are destined to fail. The CCP has an eight-year head start on Washington and Brussels, with the majority of African countries heavily indebted to Beijing.
    The sad fact is this: Even if African countries want to leave the BRI, many of them can’t.

    If in doubt, let me point you in the direction of Uganda, a country whose debt stands at $18 billion, almost 50 percent of its GDP. The country owes most of this debt to China. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently sent a delegation to Beijing to renegotiate the outstanding debt. However, as Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper reported, “the request was turned down,” with the CCP refusing “to allow any alteration in the original terms of the loan agreement.” What does this mean for the East African nation? It’s likely that the Ugandan government will have to “forfeit the Entebbe International Airport”—the country’s only airport.

    China’s “financial assistance” is little more than predatory lending, with collateral in case of loan default coming in many forms, including international airports. What we are witnessing is death by a thousand cuts—an entire continent being swallowed up by the communists in Beijing. Considering Xi Jinping recently promised to invest another $10 billion in Africa over the next three years, expect the Chinese assault to continue.

    John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, The Spectator US, and other respectable outlets. He is also a psychosocial specialist, with a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.