Africa Great Lakes region, China cooperation should be on the interests of the citizens

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Much has been said about China’s new role as a partner with Africa. Some speculate that China is simply the new colonizer of Africa, while others believe China is a good partner in business since the emerging world superpower demands little as far as governance is concerned.

Many analysts contend that China doesn’t get involved in the politics of partner countries, but recent investigations have proved that Chinese weapons were used by government backed militias, including Janjaweed, to attack innocent Darfur and southern Sudan communities, thus prompting the UN investigations on Sudan.

In 2008, a Kenyan community blocked road construction projects demanding that they be provided with water for domestic use and for their livestock. This was at the height of a severe drought, and the Chinese contractor had denied the community access to the only borehole with water around.

Chinese have been accused of not being any better than Africa’s former colonial masters when it comes to their labour practices. A few weeks ago, Chinese mine managers shot and wounded 13 of their employees in southern Zambia over a pay dispute, sparking a countrywide outrage in the southern African nation.

In DRC city of Goma, Chinese contractors were awarded a contract by the province to construct roads that ended up lasting for only three months.

The Uganda traders association complained of unskilled Chinese who come in the country as experts and others who register as investors and end up as petty traders. The investment code has been violated in Rwanda, Uganda, DRC and Burundi to allow them do petty trade, and any money made is sent back to China.

In Rwanda, there is a lot being done between Communist party and the ruling party in terms of ‘cooperation,’ as senior level officials of the party were received by Francois Ngarambe, the RPF secretary general, promising RPF full support.

Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Liu Yunshan said on last Friday that China hopes to work with Rwanda to open a new chapter in bilateral relations. Invited by the CPC, the RPF delegation kicked off its eight-day China visit on Oct. 23.

However, the Great Lakes region and Africa in general, should learn from history and be specific that China’s interest in the region must focus on the interests of the citizens more than high political class.

Various African governments have failed to ensure the transfer of technology and skills training. Most Chinese companies prefer to employ the practices of their motherland in their multi-billion government contracts, ignoring the local civil society and, instead, opting to forge alliances with the political class.

If Africa and the region need cooperation in development, the focus of any partnership should be on equipping and training our citizens, rather than doing things for them.

This post has already been read 22328 times!



  1. shadrack lewa

    December 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Yes its total truth chinese investors are a group of new colonism,
    there here to exploit resources.
    As from the EPZ.(EXPORT PROCESS ZONE)Its total exploitation of african workers by under payment,mistreatment and not observing labour laws acts of countries.What we can do we do not require experts,we have potention workers but chinese firms eeps importing chinese workes,and our gorvenment officials are collaborating with this new colonism to enrich themself through corruption….
    Bravo for great lake voice to highlight this story..

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