Trade between China and Africa was worth more than $200 billion last year, 20 times what it was in 2000. Many Africans say that China is a better partner than Europe or the U.S. However, China’s extraction of billions of dollars in African resources, which are used to make the manufactured goods that are then sold back to Africans at a marked-up price, is the essence of European colonialism. This results in the same outcome where the value and money from the natural resources go to the West and East Asia rather than Africa, further causing poverty on the continent.
Imposed Debtor Nation Status
A July 16 Pambazuka article said that between 1990 and 2003, African countries received US$540 billion in loans, paid back $580 billion in total and still owed $330 billion. Such “aid” is merely another way of bleeding the impoverished continent.
Structural Adjustment Programs
When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began offering loans to poor countries, they forced them to privatize their economies, allowing Western corporations free access to their raw materials and markets. It was a poverty and debt trap that most poor countries didn’t realize until it was too late.
The IMF and the World Bank’s pressure on the Zambian government to privatize the copper mines serves as an example. Although Zambia has the third-largest copper reserves in the world, 64 percent of the Zambians live below the poverty line, 80 percent of people living on less than $2 a day.
Corruption gets the most blame for why African countries have struggling economies. However, a report from Swedish international development agency Forum Syd says that the tax evasion of multi-national corporations operating on the continent does more to cheat Africa of its wealth than corrupt leaders do.
According to the report, this money wrongfully stolen from African countries causes them to lose $160 billion in tax revenue, a sum equaling more than one and a half times the total aid sent to the whole developing world over the course of one year. Instead, the money lands in rich Western nations or protected in tax havens.
West African waters are supposed to be one of the world’s richest fishing grounds. But its natural resources are being rapidly depleted now that industrial fishing boats are catching more fish in one day than 50 traditional vessels pull in over a year.
Every year, the region loses $1.3 billion worth of fish to illegal fishing by fleets from Europe, China, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea and Taiwan.
Corrupt forestry practices devised between political elites, civil servants and foreign logging companies are systematically robbing African people of their livelihoods.
According to Global Witness, the granting of “shadow permits” for small-scale logging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Ghana and Cameroon has led to £10.5 billion worth of illegal timber entering the European Union in 2011.
China’s appetite for African rosewood has driven a surge in illegal logging in Guinea-Bissau and elsewhere, causing rampant deforestation that threatens to destabilize local communities.