Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson
蒂勒森：非洲应该避免由于中国的过度贷款而丧失主权ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China, the continent’s biggest trading partner.
Tillerson is using his first diplomatic trip to the continent to bolster security alliances on a continent increasingly turning to Beijing for aid and trade.
He may also seek to smooth relations after U.S. President Trump reportedly dismissed some African nations as “shithole countries” in January. Trump later denied making the comment.
“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa,” Tillerson told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital. “It is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty.”
The United States is the leading aid donor to Africa but China surpassed it as a trade partner in 2009. Beijing has pumped billions into infrastructure projects, though critics say the use of Chinese firms and labor undermines their value.
Tillerson said Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally” and criticized how Beijing structures loans to African government.
If a government accepts a Chinese loan and “gets into trouble”, he said, it can “lose control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default.” He did not give examples.
The growing Chinese lending to the continent has also attracted criticism from some Africans, who say China’s agenda is to feed its appetite for African raw materials like oil, timber and minerals, and secure contracts for its firms.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, visiting Zimbabwe on Thursday, told reporters it was inappropriate for Tillerson to criticize China’s relationship with African countries.
“It was not appropriate to criticize the relations of his hosts — when he was a guest there — with another country,” he said. Many African governments enjoy close ties with both Washington and Beijing.
Kenya, for example, inaugurated a $3.2 billion railway funded by China last year. For the last three years, Kenya has received more than $100 million annually in U.S. security assistance.
Asked about Tillerson’s criticism of China’s approach on the continent, Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Monica Juma said: “This country is engaging with partners from across the world driven by our own interests and for our own value.”
African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, of Chad, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hold a news conference after their meeting at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 8, 2018.
Tillerson arrived in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, on Wednesday and visited the African Union headquarters on Thursday. The complex was funded and built by China and is seen as a symbol of Beijing’s thrust for influence and access to the continent’s natural resources.
Ethiopia is home to some of Beijing’s biggest investments, from a railway to Djibouti that opened last year to factories and industrial parks.
Earlier this week, Tillerson criticized “China’s approach” to Africa which he said encouraged dependency through “opaque contracts” and “predatory loan practices”.
Ethiopia’s prime minister resigned suddenly last month and a state of emergency was imposed but protests in the restive Oromia region have continued.
The secretary of state met Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned as prime minister but is still acting in the post awaiting a replacement. Details of their discussions were not released.
Tillerson said after meeting his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu that the answer to political turmoil in Ethiopia was greater freedoms.
“It is important that the country moves on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible,” he said.
Tillerson reiterated previous calls for African states to cut ties with North Korea.
North Korea has more than a dozen embassies on the continent. The Trump administration has said that Pyongyang earns hard currency from arms deals with African government and the trafficking of wildlife parts from Africa.
Tillerson is due to fly to Djibouti, host to military bases owned by the U.S., China, Japan, France, and Italy.
He will then visit Kenya, a key U.S. ally in the fight against al Shabaab Islamist militants in Somalia, before traveling to Chad and Nigeria, which are also battling to contain Islamist insurgents.
Analysts say Trump has focused mainly on security concerns in Africa at a time when China, Turkey and other nations are ramping up diplomatic and business links.
“When you look at the set of countries that are being visited I think it kind of reinforces the perception that security, indeed, is the overwhelming focus,” said Brahima Coulibaly, the director of the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings Institution.
Tillerson should offer to develop Africa's infrastructure with better prices then.
But such is not the American way. The American way is complain about it for years while doing nothing until it’s too late to catch up. Then try and impose punitive tariffs while half heartedly trying to catch up. Like they did with the solar industry.
The thing is chinese loans are quite shit. 1100% more expensive then loans from Japan (2-3% vs 0,25-0,75%). Make a guess why african countries accept them so readily. Dont even want to know how much chinese contributions go beforehand to the various african petty dictators and corrupt officials. Smart business for china of course, but realy bad for the africans tomorrow.
Well then Japan needs to step up its game and start buying out corrupt officials with even bigger bribes then
What am I supposed to get from that? What I see is China doing more trade there, and therefore have more incentives to develop their infrastructure, which plenty of African nations need. And if the US is unhappy that China is stealing their friend, they should come up with better deals so they would not be stuck with the Oh-so-terribly-unfair Chinese deals. Ye?
I think /u/valvalya is implying that African countries should look towards the World Bank to seek loans. S/He is however under the delusion that Work Bank provides loans to African nations on generous terms...and completely misses the point that World Bank will not help US in this Soft-Power tug-of-war with China. US has to get involved directly unless they want China to take over.
Exactly. This is how businesses work, even. Give better products at a better price and you will win over your competition.
This is a bit ironic coming from any western government, but especially the US.
"Especially" the U.S.? Someone's not terribly familiar with the history of western imperialism.
What China is doing in Africa, USA basically perfected in South America.
Absolutely not comparable.
Uncle Sam topples over several democratically elected governors of SA countries and its media has the audacity to lecture China about democracy.
Meanwhile, African nations welcomes China with open arms for development. Sam's argument? Corruption and forfeiting sovereignty.
Yep, someone like you who isn't aware of anything the iMF and the world bank did to Africa. Ignorant.
When it comes to the debt of African countries, definitely. John Perkins' books are a good start.
Just take a look at any situation where the US dollar was about to lose significance. Be it for oil payments, debt and whatnot. Look at what happened every single time.
Then maybe Tillerson's boss should stop pushing them towards China by calling them shitholes? and providing better deals than what the Chinese are offering? Oh wait, right, Trump administration doesn't give a crap about soft power. Meanwhile China is silently filling up the hole left by US by building infrastructure projects there and providing development loans.
Wait so your response to a perfectly sensible message from Tillerson is that Africa is doing self-harm to itself because of Trump?
You do realize that many of these African leaders are super corrupt so they think of nothing of giving away the farm literally for kickbacks and other payouts right?
This corruption started before Trump was ever on the scene.
sensible? look who's talking, a bunch of white ex-slavers neo-imperialist hypocrites.
The perfectly sensible message is completely useless when it is not accompanied by something in return? Corruption is their internal problem, US should have absolutely no concerns about that. However, China establishing themselves in the continent is something US should be concerned about and do everything in their power to halt that course. "Messages" aren't gonna do it.
Did I say that Tillerson is wrong? No. What I said is, US should make their own offer to negate the Chinese influence instead of just empty words which aren't gonna achieve anything. And what's more is, why should they even care about what a man representing someone who thinks of their nations as shitholes says? Repair that damage and start doing something like China is doing before Africa slides completely out of American influence. Think of it this way, if one guy is offering a starving man $20 million for his one kidney and the other guy is telling him not to do it, who would the starving man listen to? He can live with one kidney but he will die without the 20 million.
Ok buddy what exactly should Trump do? What exactly did Obama do?
What's with the Trump supporters and attempts to deflect all critique of the current regime by bringing up Obama? Obama is not in charge right now, Trump is, God save us all. I already told you what I think Trump should do. He should offer loans to African nations on lower interest rates than the Chinese are offering, build a few roads, schools, stadiums, hospitals here and there for free to change the opinion of the Africans in favour of USA, offer scholarships to high achieving African students (Fulbright Program can be expanded) so that they can come and observe American way of life, be influenced by it and take it back with them to their home countries with American degrees. That plan will cost money but it at least has some chance of kicking the Chinese out unlike "China bad, is veri sensible message, you shithole still but no take loan from China mmkay?"
What's with the Trump supporters and attempts to deflect all critique of the current regime by bringing up Obama?
What are their other options when Trump has accomplished nothing in his first year?
the issue here is corruption, no amount of scholarships and low interest loans will stem this tide unless African nations come to grips with it
So your solution is to do nothing and let China do its thing?
he's dancing around to avoid saying it explicitly, but i'll do it for him.
what he means is that it's not america's responsibility to give handouts in the form of low interest loans or grants to africa. but that is not a popular opinion so it needs to be justified by saying that africa is corrupt so america shouldn't give it anything. what some people at the elite level of policy making probably think is that america should (and for all we know, probably is) holding a gun to africa's head and telling them that if they take china's money, america will kill them.
That sounds more like the US
No we won’t help you make your country better
also, we’ll punish you if you accept help from someone else to make your country better.
we’d rather you just stayed poor M’kay?
par for the course
I don't know what the solution is but losing money to corruption doesn't seem like it is it.
Why don't you tell us what Obama did, since you're so eager to bring it up?
It is the same as lending from the IMF. If you don't pay they seize your assets
SaintIgnatiusReilly 2 天前
Yeah, it should only be forfeiting sovereignty to international banks and the IMF