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Monday, 9 November 2009

China in Africa

The most important economic news of the weekend was not the G20 meeting at Saint Andrew's [where Gordon Brown's advocacy of a 'Tobin Tax' on financial transactions received a loud raspberry], but a piece of back-room business that accompanied the African Economic Summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh. China agreed contracts of at least six billion dollars - very likely, much more - with several mineral-rich but poverty-stricken African countries.
While the West has fretted about doing any deal with an undemocratic or corrupt regime, over the past decade China has gone for access to the oil and minerals that it will need for the next stages of industrialisation.
The news reports include the fact that at least 50 'clean' power stations are to be part of the deal; enabling millions of Afircans to become users of Chinese computers and TV sets.
While Britain lags behind the field even in escaping from a 'technical' recession, former colonies that used to get all their manufactures from the UK are now Chinese clients [though some of them still receive assistance from the Department for Overseas Development in London].
While imperialism on the old pattern is unacceptable in this century, Britain could have retained much more positive relations with former colonies - as France has done, with considerable success. This is another glaring instance of the incompetence of the entire British political class over the past two generations. For a realistic perspective on all of this, click on to Nuclean Economy via this site.

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