[DEBATE] : China and Africa
tony roshan samara
straightup00us at yahoo.com
Mon May 1 18:43:21 BST 2006
It appears some see China's interest in the continent for what it is
Militants Warn China Over Oil in Niger Delta
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, May 1, 2006; A15
JOHANNESBURG, April 30 -- Militants in Nigeria's volatile
oil-producing region detonated a car bomb late Saturday and issued a
warning that investors and officials from China would be "treated as
thieves" and targeted in future attacks.
The threat came as Chinese President Hu Jintao returned home from a
week-long tour of Africa in which he reached a series of deals
securing access to oil and other resources to meet the needs of
China's booming economy. On Wednesday, Hu and Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo signed several major business deals, including one
that offers China four oil exploration licenses, the Associated Press
A spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta
said in an e-mail sent to news organizations that the car-bomb attack
was "the final warning" before the militants turned their attention
to oil workers, storage facilities, bridges, offices and other "soft
oil industry targets."
In a second e-mail, the spokesman, who uses the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo,
specifically criticized the Chinese, who last year took a $2.2
billion stake in an oil field in the Niger Delta. Nigeria is a major
oil exporter and the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United
"We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to
steer well clear of the Niger Delta," Gbomo wrote. "Chinese citizens
found in oil installations will be treated as thieves. The Chinese
government by investing in stolen crude places its citizens in our
line of fire."
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has asserted
responsibility for other violence in the region, including attacks on
oil facilities and the kidnapping this year of several foreign-born
oil workers, all of whom have been released unharmed.
Gbomo said in the e-mail that the explosion Saturday night, which
took place in the southern Nigerian city of Warri, was activated by a
cellphone. Details remained sketchy, although no deaths were
immediately reported. A car bombing on April 19 for which the group
asserted responsibility killed two people.
The Niger Delta has been a source of political and ethnic unrest for
decades. Most residents of the vast region, much of which is
reachable only by boats that traverse networks on mangrove swamps,
live in intense poverty, while oil facilities in the area earn
billions of dollars for foreign companies and the Nigerian
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
--- Stefan Andreasson <bstefan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Opinion - News Analysis
> China's new push on the African continent
> Pallavi Aiyar
> Beijing is making a concerted effort to expand its economic and
> diplomatic clout.
> CHINESE PRESIDENT Hu Jintao's three-nation Africa tour to Morocco,
> Nigeria, and Kenya might have received only a sliver of the
> international limelight his much-heralded visit to the United
> generated a week earlier, but in China itself the trip is seen as
> having considerable strategic weight.
> Since the turn of the century when Beijing established the
> Sino-African Cooperation Forum, China has been making a concerted
> effort to expand its economic and diplomatic clout with the raw
> material rich continent. By combining handouts of billions of
> in aid and investment with judicious rhetoric that alludes to the
> spirit of Bandung, Beijing is clearly looking to challenge U.S.
> leadership in the region. It is within this context that Mr. Hu's
> recent travels should be viewed.
> As he stopped off across Africa last week, Mr. Hu stressed that
> Beijing wants a "strategic partnership" with Africa, seeking to add
> new political dimension to the already blossoming bilateral
> romance. Speaking to Nigeria's Parliament, the Chinese President
> forward a five-point proposal for developing ties in the areas of
> politics, the economy, culture, security, and international
> According to reports in the African media, local analysts say Mr.
> stress on the "independence and sovereignty" of Africa is seen to
> offer an attractive alternative to the U.S.' interventionist and
> prescriptive foreign policy with its one-dimensional focus on the
> against terror."
> Signalling the importance it gives to evolving a coherent Africa
> policy, Beijing brought out its first ever White Paper on Africa in
> January this year. It states that if African countries choose to
> accept the "one China principle as the political foundation for the
> establishment and development of China's relations with African
> countries," China will "co-ordinate positions on major
> and regional issues and stand for mutual support on major issues
> concerning state sovereignty, territorial integrity, national
> and human rights."
> Given the economic benefits that trade and investment with China
> combined with the diplomatic weight of Beijing's permanent seat on
> U.N. Security Council, it is small wonder that more and more
> countries are in fact choosing to ditch ties with Taiwan and
> Beijing's claim to sovereignty over the island. Thus while in the
> early 1990s there were still more than 20 African countries that
> recognised Taiwan, now there are only six.
> In October last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing attended
> the official opening of the Chinese embassy in Senegal, which had
> closed after it recognised Taiwan in 1996. Following Senegal
> off relations with Taiwan, Mr. Li announced debt cancellation worth
> $18.5 million, with $3.7 million for the construction of hospitals,
> roads, and other infrastructure. Liberia, another country to ditch
> Taiwan in 2003, received $25 million for reconstruction and the
> of a $5 million interest-free loan.
> Bilateral trade between Africa and China surged to almost $40
> in 2005 from $10 billion at the turn of the century, according to
> official Chinese statistics. Africa enjoyed a trade surplus of
> billion. By the end of last year, some 750 Chinese enterprises had
> invested a total of $1.25 billion in the continent.
> >From Senegal to Ethiopia, China's "good-will" gifts and cheap
> are proving a hit with both the people and their politicians.
> According to reports in African media, even in the fabled trading
> of Timbuktu, the moped of choice for young men is the Chinese
> Mr. Hu has been stressing the "complementarities" of the Chinese
> African economies that promise much scope for the "win-win"
> so often touted by Chinese leaders.
> In this case, however, there appears to be much truth underlying
> diplomatic-speak. Africa provides rich pickings particularly oil
> for raw material hungry China while the Chinese can offer the
> expertise and investments much needed by African nations to develop
> infrastructure and kick-start industry.
> Africa's Gulf of Guinea coastline has in particular attracted
> attention given that it is one of the world's oil exploration
> hotspots. With an economy that has been growing at around 10 per
> for years on the trot, China has emerged as the second largest oil
> importer after the U.S. Wooing Africa, even those countries shunned
> the West such as Sudan, is thus a priority.
> So far Beijing's Africa strategy has met with considerable success.
> During Mr. Hu's Nigeria's visit for example, China was awarded
> preferential rights in bidding for four oil-drilling licences in
> exchange for $4 billion in infrastructure investments, anti-malaria
> drugs, and training for health officials. A few days before the
> President's trip, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
> finalised a payment for $2.7 billion for a 45 per cent stake in an
> block in Nigeria that is due to start producing in 2008.
> This is not the first time China has sought oil in exchange for
> investment or aid as India has learnt by experience. In 2004, the
> and Natural Gas Corporation's bid to purchase a block auctioned by
> Shell in Angola was topped by the Chinese, who used a $2 billion
> package to convince the Angolan Government at the last moment, to
> with China instead. China also struck a deal with Gabon to buy oil
> 2004 and in 2005 Nigeria agreed to provide 30,000 barrels of oil a
> to PetroChina in an $800 million deal.
> The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the largest
> investor in the Sudanese oil industry. The decision of the U.S.
> Government to cut ties with Sudan in the mid-1990s pressured
> oil companies to withdraw and opened new opportunities for Chinese
> CNPC, in a joint venture with the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating
> Company has invested over $8 billion in Sudan, including the 1,500
> pipeline to transport oil to the Marsa al-Bashair harbour terminal
> near the Port of Sudan. By 2005, China was purchasing between 50
> cent and 60 per cent of Sudan's crude production. In total, Africa
> accounts for about 28 per cent of China's total oil imports.
> But beyond petroleum Chinese state companies have invested in
> mines, fishing, and telecommunications. Over 60 per cent of Gabon's
> and a large part of Equatorial Guinea's timber production is
> by China. China, the world's largest consumer of copper, has
> $170 million in the Zambian copper mining sector. The Chambezi
> mine, which was purchased in 1999, is now its largest mining
> in Africa. China is increasingly involved in the Democratic
> of Congo, investing in cobalt and copper mines as well.
> Although resource extraction is the centrepiece of China's new
> push, non-resource based investments have not been ignored. In
> Ethiopia, China is involved in telecommunications, in Ghana in dam
> construction, and in Kenya in road building. It is even helping
> Nigeria to launch its first space satellite. China has also
> constructed a new Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Uganda and
> Djibouti and built a sports stadium in Mali that enabled the
> to host the African Nation's Cup football tournament.
> In the cultural sphere, China recently started up a Confucius
> Institute to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in
> Nairobi and designated eight African countries as official tourist
> destinations to encourage Chinese tourism in the region. The
> government's African Human Resources Development Fund pays for
> Africans to be trained in Beijing.
> Finally, China is also increasingly getting involved in
> operations across the continent. In 2004 the mainland contributed
> than 1,500 troops to the U.N. presence in Africa.
> All across Africa Chinese state-owned companies are outbidding
> contractors on infrastructure projects while Beijing provides soft
> loans and aid as a means to increase its competitive advantage in
> acquiring natural resource assets. Moreover, its policy of
> non-involvement in the domestic politics of African countries makes
> China an attractive partner for those nations marginalised by the
> Western powers.
> Beijing's commitment to Africa has been backed up by a succession
> high-level visits to the continent. Chinese Foreign Minister Li
> Zhaoxing kicked off 2006 by a tour of African countries including
> Verde, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, and Libya. In 2004, Mr. Hu
> visited Egypt, Gabon, and Algeria.
> China's aggressive African safari certainly has traditional Western
> powers with stakes in Africa such as the U.K., France, and the U.S.
> sitting up and taking notice. But India too, would do well to pay
> attention. Mr. Hu is the second Chinese President to visit Nigeria
> about four years. The last Indian Prime Minister to have paid an
> official visit to Nigeria, the most populous African country, was
> Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962.
> > _______________________________________________
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