Iran Commentary Says US, West `Angry` Over China Investing in Congo
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Commentary by Mohammad-Hoseyn Ja`fariyan headlined: "America`s Congo or China`s Congo?"
Congo, Zaire, Congo-Kinshasa, and ... (as published). This African country under crisis has so far changed its name four times. The crisis has even reached its name! More than 50 years ago, Congo was liberated from Belgian colonialism and it has been involved in a civil war since that time. The Belgians had colonized this country for more than 70 years and they called it Congo Leopoldville. They claimed that the country was the personal property of Leopold, the Belgian king, despite the fact that its area was 80 times that of Belgium.
Patrice Lumumba, whose name became familiar in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, made this country independent and became its first prime minister, but sometime later, Moutu Sese Seko carried out a coup d`etat against him. Lumumba was arrested and burnt in acid. A massive civil war had started in Congo a decade earlier, which took 14 years. A total of nine African countries and more than 20 guerrilla groups were involved in this war and this is why it came to be known as the "African world war", during which more than 5.5 million people were killed.
Afterward, Congo spent several years in a fragile and temporary peace until this spring, when a group called the March 23 Movement or M23 emerged in the east of Congo and took up arms. This newly emerged group that has taken its name from 23 March, 2009, the anniversary of a signed peace treaty when rebel forces were integrated into the army, has claimed that the Congolese army, which was in charge of employing these forces, is not treating them as it should and it discriminates between its main forces and the former rebel forces. The group that consisted of 3,000 soldiers took control of the province of Kivu and its capital Goma. Thousands of people were killed, injured, or made homeless. They have asked for the removal of Joseph Kabila, the president. Congo, with a population of 70 million, is Africa`s largest country and has numerous natural and mineral resources that is coveted by everyone. For example, 80% of the world`s cobalt, which is used in military and computer industries, is extracted from mines in this country. It appears that Kabila`s turning to China in recent years and Beijing`s extensive investment in Congo, have infuriated the United States and other western countries. Therefore, they would not mind if the M23 continues its work, and despite the fact that the number of the UN peacekeeping forces in Congo are five times those of the rebels, nobody is doing anything. Will China take Congo from the West?!
(Description of Source: Mashhad Qods Online in Persian -- Website of conservative Mashhad daily published by the Qods Cultural Foundation of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (Astan-e Qods-e Razavi); URL: http://www.qudsonline.ir)
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French President Wants New Basis for Ties With Africa
Friday, October 12, 2012
Report by Christophe Chatelot: "Francois Hollande and Africa: The Era of Clearness"
In Senegal and in DROC, the president is advocating clear, transparent, and respectful relations with the continent. In Senegal on Friday, 12 October and the Democratic Republic of the Congo the next day for the summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie to be held in Kinshasa, Francois Hollande will take his first steps on an African soil he is little familiar with as president of the Republic.
All his movements and all his words will be dissected. Everyone expects the head of state to lay out his policy toward this continent "not like the others" given the shared history of France and Africa and for him to flesh out his stated will to break with the policy of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Whether he wants it or not, Francois Hollande`s speech to the Senegalese Parliament will inevitably be listened to against the standard of the one, so polemical, delivered in this same Senegalese capital in 2007 by his predecessor citing "the African man (who) has not entered history enough." At the Elysee (the president`s office), people pretend to ignore "the other" Dakar speech. Above all, they emphasize that this stage was chosen because of this country`s democratic performance, "somewhat exemplary" and rather rare on this continent.
This performance is consistent with the principles on which Paris now intends to base its relationship with Africa: "Clearness toward a shared past, clearness about the present characterized by close relations with states that respect democracy and human rights and are improving their governance as Africa continues its economic breakthrough," aides to the head of state say.
"It is not about repairing anything but about conveying our vision of Africa. People have talked about the end of Francafrique; that does not mean our disinterest but the development of healthy, transparent, direct, respectful, and fluid relations," a close advisor to Francois Hollande explains. Put simply: to put an end to the parallel networks and other intermediaries that have often muddled France`s message in Africa, and not just during the previous five-year presidential term.
President Hollande has already taken some measures about which the future will tell whether they are only symbolic. The Ministry of Cooperation, dubbed "Ministry of Africa" in its heyday, has become the Ministry of Development. Its head, Pascal Canfin from the Europe Ecology-The Greens party, is an expert in financial transparency. He has decided to do without an Africa advisor on his staff. "It is a continent like the others, which requires more attention only because it concentrates most of the poor countries," he explained.
At the Elysee, Nicolas Sarkozy had eliminated the Africa cell, where people like Jacques Foccart and Michel de Bonnecourse operated in the shadows. A new change is that there are only two diplomatic advisors now in place of three. One of them, Thomas Melonio, is the young drafter of a veritable plea for a profound renewal of relations between France and Africa, "symptomatic of the new government`s changed perspective on Africa," observes Yves Goulin, government advisor and expert on Africa in a paper of the French International Relations Institute (IFRI).
Nor is there a "new Claude Gueant," the former grand organizer of parallel networks under the previous five-year term. The issues are once again dealt with in the Foreign Ministry. Another sign of change is that the highest diplomats in charge of Africa at the Elysee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs built their careers in English-speaking East Africa and not in the "private reserve" of the former colonies. "It is the end of schemes with the French government," Laurent Fabius swears.
But if there is indeed a change of style, what about the substance? It is too soon to say, but Africa will never be a "normal" continent for Paris. One need only count the plethora of African heads o f state (some of whom, like Gabon`s Ali Bongo or Congo`s Denis Sassou Nguesso, are far from meeting the democratic and good governance criteria demanded by Paris) who have crossed the threshold of the Elysee since the French election. "Not rolling out the red carpet does not mean ignoring them, especially since many French expatriates live in their countries," a diplomat explains. "But we remind them of the new rules," he adds.
Joseph Kabila has just experienced that. The host of the Francophonie summit has just been scolded by Francois Hollande, in whose eyes "the situation in this country is entirely unacceptable in terms of rights, democracy, and recognition of the opposition" 10 months after the elections, disastrous from the democratic standpoint, that enabled Joseph Kabila (in power since 2001) to stay in the presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC). For these reasons the French president, like Nicolas Sarkozy before him, hesitated before agreeing to go to the DROC, the first Francophone country in the world in terms of population (70 million inhabitants) and such a promising economic partner given its underground riches.
Ultimately, the president adopted the arguments of the general secretary of La Francophonie, former Senegalese president Abdou Diouf, certain human rights defense organizations like the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (IFHR), and his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, all of them opposed to the policy of the empty chair. "After all, it would have been paradoxical for La Francophonie world to meet without France. But there he will say what he has to say, in a clear manner," Laurent Fabius emphasizes. Will he be heard?
Beyond the message delivered to Joseph Kabila, the French presence also fulfills the 58th of the 60 commitments of the candidate Hollande: "to revive La Francophonie" as an instrument of direct influence assumed by Paris within this organization of some 50 countries, many of them African. "The economic and sometimes cultural presence of China, Brazil, and India in Africa is a very good thing, but it implies that we defend our position and our interests," a senior diplomat emphasizes.
In this regard Mali, a former French colony whose northern region has been under the control of armed Islamist groups for six months now, some of them linked to Al-Qa`ida, serves as a test. Paris is in the front line on this issue in bringing to the UN Security Council the arguments of African regional organizations (when it does not generate them itself) in favor of an international military intervention. Yet France must navigate between the reefs: to be effective while playing the card of multilateralism, to the point of donning the uniform of policeman whereas the French president imagined calmer relations with his African partners.
(Description of Source: Paris Le Monde in French -- leading center-left daily)
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JFJB Article Views Purposes of US State Secretary Clinton`s 11-Day Africa Tour
Jiefangjun Bao Online
Thursday, August 23, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with South Africa`s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the US-South Africa Business Partnership Summit in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. AP PHOTO
Article by Luo Chaowen, “Why Has Africa Become the `Delicious Cake` of the United States”
“Trapeze” Hillary Clinton has set a new record of the foreign tours. As the US Secretary of State who has traveled overseas the most during the term of office, Hillary (Clinton) paid a round of intensive visits to Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, and three other African countries in 11 days in early August. Following the visit of Hillary (Clinton), Acting US Commerce Secretary (title as published) Blake departed for Africa, becoming the first US Commerce Secretary to visit Africa. Moreover, in June US President Barack Obama, who had been campaigning for re-election, still remembered to announce the new strategy on sub-Sahara Africa. For a while, Africa, which was seemingly forgotten by the United States for a long time, has suddenly become the “delicious cake,” the strategic considerations on which are worthy of attention.
In the economic sphere, it is generally agreed that Africa will become a hot spot for the next round of economic growth. The UNDP pointed out in a recent report: Africa`s economic growth rate may reach 7 percent by the year 2015. The World Bank also said in a recently released report: “Africa may be on the verge of an economic takeoff, just like China 30 years ago and India 20 years ago.” To the United States whose economy is sluggish in the recovery, Africa is precisely like an undeveloped virgin land with enormous potential. When Hillary (Clinton) visited South Africa, executives of Boeing, Wal-Mart, FedEx, General Electric, and other large US companies all arrived with the delegation. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart signed an agreement worth over $2 billion to purchase 51 percent shares of South Africa`s leading retailer Massmart. In March this year, General Electric signed an agreement to invest $10 billion in the next 10 years to build power plants in Nigeria. In South Africa alone, 600 American companies have already invested there. Catching the express of Africa`s economic takeoff to grab more economic benefits from Africa will be an important consideration of the US new strategy in Africa.
As the champion of the so-called “democracy and human rights,” the United States is also working to expand its political influence in Africa. Beginning from the first stop of her African tour, Senegal, Hillary (Clinton) harangued about the so-called American “values of democracy and human rights,” saying, “support for democracy and human rights is the core of the mode of US relations with Africa.” She also insinuated that unlike certain countries, the United States would not use “other means” to continually acquire resources from Africa. She advised Africa not to fall prey of other countries` “new colonialism.” Analysts pointed out that an important purpose of Hillary (Clinton)`s recent foreign tour was to preach American values and expand US influence in Africa. However, it remains a question mark as to how effective her foreign tour could be. In the words of Russian Strategic Studies Society senior research fellow Volk Hans (name as transliterate), do American politicians and businessmen really think that people of these “forgotten countries” have already forgotten who is the true representative of colonialism and new colonialism?
Expanding the US influence and right to speak in Africa`s security affairs is also a major focus of the US strategy in Africa. Historically, American influence in Africa was not as great as the influence of Britain, France, and other countries. In implementing the “light footprints” policy in Africa in recent years, the United States has also funded proxy wars, which are manned by the Africans; and Washington is even unable to find a suitable place for the US military headquarters to stay in Africa. With the gradual withdrawal of American troops in Afghanistan, the United States has sped up its military deployment in Africa. During Hillary (Clinton)`s visit to Africa, she often used such wording as “antiterrorism” and “security”; and, almost at the same time, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Tunisia and Egypt. According to a recent report in the official website of US military headquarters in Africa, the headquarters are vigorously supporting US partner countries in Africa to build up the logistic capacity of in order to improve their ability to perform antiterrorism and peacekeeping tasks. In carrying out these actions, the United States hopes, on the one hand, to prevent the spread of terrorism from the Middle East and South Asia to Africa and, on the other, to increase American military influence in Africa.
Obama is of African ancestry. However, after success in campaigning the election, he did not pay too much attention to the African continent and African Americans in order to “avoid arousing suspicion” and prove himself to be “whiter than the white people.” As the presidential election is drawing near, Obama has begun to lay stress on the importance of winning the support of voters of African origin. In view of the reversal faced by the health care reform and other policies that benefit ethnic minorities in Congress, it is very difficult to quickly raise the support rate with these policies. Therefore, increasing the favorable impression and trust among African countries to “save the elections with a curve” has become a realistic choice, which, perhaps, is a more covert mission of the three US Secretaries` visits to Africa.
(Description of Source: Beijing Jiefangjun Bao Online in Chinese -- Online version of the daily newspaper of the Central Military Commission of the People`s Liberation Army (PLA), reporting on a wide range of military affairs; URL: http://www.chinamil.com.cn/)
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RMRB Column Warns of Western Neo-Colonialism in Africa, Cites Clinton`s Remarks
Renmin Ribao Online
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Clinton urged Africa on Wednesday to recommit to democracy, declaring the “old ways of governing” can no longer work on a continent boasting healthy economic growth and an increasingly empowered citizenry. REUTERS
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar in Dakar August 1, 2012.
“International Forum” article by Zhong Sheng: “Chinese Investment Provides Impetus to Africa`s Development”
The rapid growth of Chinese investment in Africa is not only the crystallization of the China-Africa traditional friendship but also the outcome of objective economic laws. Regardless of the reality of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa, certain countries are making irresponsible remarks, which cannot but make people question these countries` statements about their support for the development in Africa.
In recent years, along with all-round development of the new strategic partnership between China and Africa, Chinese investment in Africa has increased rapidly, becoming a new bright spot in China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. As of 2011, China`s total non-direct investment in Africa had exceeded $150 billion, with projects in 50 African countries and more than 2,000 Chinese-invested enterprises in Africa.
Chinese investment in Africa has been generally appreciated in African countries, as well as among people from all walks of life, who are genuinely concerned about Africa`s development. However, there have been some remarks, which are unclear and even deliberately confuse the public, while the Western media have often published views about “neocolonialism” and “looting resources.”
On 1 August, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in the West African country Senegal, “warning” leaders of African countries that their cooperation must be with responsible external countries, and saying that different from other countries, the Unites States focuses on sustained relations of cooperation and is committed to adding value to, rather than extracting value from Africa.
What did Clinton exactly mean in the speech? Prior to the speech, the US media had already previewed the contents of the speech and given their own interpretations. The AP said: Clinton`s speech is intended to allude to Chinese investment in Africa. A VOA report pointed out: Clinton`s speech, on the one hand, is motivated by concerns over the continuously rising Chinese influence in Africa and, on the other, is intended to make up the relative US neglect of Africa and to rebuild US interests in Africa.
Regardless of the reality of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa, certain countries are making irresponsible remarks, which cannot but make people question these countries` statements about their support for the development in Africa. In investing in Africa, China has insisted on respecting the wishes of Africa, listening to the voices in Africa, and considering the concerns of Africa, thereby winning the trust of the vast number of African countries. Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo once pointed out: China`s role in Africa is broader, more cultured, and more orderly than any other country.
It is worth noting that the rapid growth of Chinese investment in Africa is not only the crystallization of the China-Africa traditional friendship but also the outcome of objective economic laws. In recent years, both China and Africa have maintained relative fast economic growth. China`s sufficient capital and mature industry and technological equipment have docked with Africa`s resource advantage, market capacity, and manpower cost at suitable levels. The continuously growing China-Africa cooperation has brought huge development opportunities for Africa. At the Vavos World Economic Forum`s annual meeting in January last year, chief economist of the African Development Bank Mthuli Ncube said clearly: China`s investment in Africa, to a large extent, is positive. Africa welcomes Chinese investment.
Meanwhile, Chinese investment in Africa, which stresses the improvement of Africa`s capacity for independent development, will make infrastructure construction in Africa a focus of the investment; and this is in line with the need of Africa`s long-term economic development. An article published in the British Financial Times pointed out: Chinese investment has improved Africa`s employment rate, promoted Africa`s economic growth, brought new hopes to Africa, and provided a model for Africa`s development.
Africa has made remarkable achievements in the cause of development, and the contribution by Chinese investment to bringing about these achievements is obvious. In the future, China will continue to expand cooperation with Africa in the areas of investment and financing to provide the impetus for sustainable development. China will transfer the industrial chain, which China has a comparative advantage, to Africa in order to extend the value-added chain of “Made in Africa” and create more jobs in Africa. With heart-to-heart exchanges plus the bond of real interests, China and Africa will certainly be able to work together to create a new situation in the bilateral new strategic partnership.
(Description of Source: Beijing Renmin Ribao Online in Chinese -- Online version of the daily newspaper (People`s Daily) of the CPC Central Committee. URL: http://paper.people.com.cn/)
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