The New Sino-African Relationship

Posted by By at 14 November, at 20 : 01 PM Print

The New Sino-African Relationship


(published in the New African Magazine, November 2007 issue, pp8-9)

International Relations Course 101 teaches that: “In international relations, there are neither permanent friends nor enemies; only national interests are permanent. It was like Lord Chesterfield apt observation that: “Politicians neither love nor hate. Interest, not sentiment, directs them.” What this means in plain talk is that relationship between and among nations are motivated by no other causes except the pursuits of national interests as perceived and conceived by the policy makers of the nations concerned.

Diplomacy and sometimes war (defined by Clausewitz as diplomacy by other means) are tools of foreign policy, but the objective remains the same: the vigorous pursuit of national interests by all means necessary.

It is not a surprise that Western nations are world champions when it comes to the aggressive pursuit of their national interests: they invented the game. And they have, over the years, fine-tuned it to an art form. We are daily witnesses to the naked, shameless and sometimes scandalous ways Western nations go about pursuing their national interests. A case in point: the Australian Defence Minister recently owned up to what we all knew – that the war in Iraq was motivated by a desire to guarantee oil security for the west. And the new French President is wearing out shoes trampling around Africa looking for businesses for French concerns. Of course, the racist media in Europe will be telling you that he’s there to help Africa.

We were also witnesses when the evil apartheid regime reigned supreme in South Africa. Apartheid shock troops were killing black people like no man’s business. Yet, the West, which always proclaim the promotion of Democracy and Human Rights as the twin pillars of its foreign policy refused to intervene and help the seemingly hapless blacks. Western corporations helped the apartheid governments to become the most potent military force on the continent. French and American companies helped the racists build their chemical and nuclear arsenals. Western nations gave diplomatic cover to the evil regime. The US used its veto power at the UN several times to protect the racists.

Another point which those of us not afflicted with severe amnesia still remember was that Zimbabwe was a darling of the West until President Mugabe decided to redress the land inequities in his country. Forgetting that they have lauded him to high heavens and even awarded him degrees and a knighthood, the West suddenly discovered that he was an African ogre on par with Hitler. Mugabe’s land reform programme directly threatened the interests of the West (at least its plutocratic rulers), hence the clangorous clamour for regime change in Zimbabwe. Those Africans who have been thoroughly chloroformed by Western propaganda need only to ask themselves if Mugabe is a worse dictator than the leaders of Ethiopia or Uganda etc, with whom the West is doing serious business!

The West shouts of advocating democracy was laid hollow when the Hamas movement won the elections in Palestine. Palestinians were told point blank that they must suffer for having the courage to elect trusted representatives of their choice. The election of Hamas threatened the state of Israel, and the powerful Jewish lobby swung into action to ensure that the free will of the Palestinians people remain unacknowledged.

The long list of African leaders who have been used, abused and dumped by Western governments, institutions, agencies and organizations over the years is too long to be recounted here. But let’s consider a few of them: Idi Amin was an African leader who betrayed Africa in order to satisfy British neo-colonial ambitions in his native Ugandan. History recorded Idi Amin as launching a coup against President Milton Obote while the latter was away on a Commonwealth meeting. Years later, it emerged that Idi Amin was just the puppet used by British and Israeli intelligence to get rid of the man they considered an obstacle to their Project Uganda. Having been dumped by his erstwhile friends, Idi Amin died like a dog in Saudi Arabia

When Congolese thwarted the designs of the imperialists by voting for the African patriot, Patrice Lumumba, the imperialists showed their true faces by immediately baring their fangs. They organized a coup just six days after Congo’s independence and imposed Mobutu Sese Seko on the Congolese people. Mobutu was their man until he got blown away in war of liberation when he could no longer satisfy the interests of his masters in the West. Abandoned by his sponsors, Mobutu died un-mourned in a Moroccan hospital.

The authorities at the BBC must have asked for more than they can chew when they asked their African listeners to respond to a survey about what Africans think of the new Sino-African relationship. Even I was astonished by the overwhelming numbers of Africans who view it as a positive development. The powers that be at the mouthpiece of British imperialism must have been shaken to the core of their being.

I was elated as Africans from the Cape to Cairo seem to be saying in a loud voice: “Slave drivers, the table is turning.”

But methinks that it shows either boundless ignorance or unfathomable contempt for Europeans to continue to expect any thinking African to be happy and satisfied with the status quo in Euro-African relationship.

As I keep telling anyone who will listen to me: We have nothing to show for our relationship with Europe which is about six hundred years in modern history. That is, we have nothing but exploitation, exploitation and exploitation. They claim to have been helping us and all we have to show for all their altruistic and gallant efforts are crippled economies culminating in their demanding that we declare ourselves HEAVILY INDEBTED AND POOR COUNTRY.

The rulers and the scholars of the west have sold themselves the lies that all they are doing is helping us. Any educated African can easily debunk the fanciful tales that European introduced civilization, education and religion to us. Africans are simply the most spiritual people on earth, and the idea any people come to show us the way to god is laughable. The notion that anyone spread civilization to us is also ridiculous. The root of the word ‘civilisation’ is ‘civil’ which means that those who purports to spread civilisation must act civilly. No one who goes around the world rampaging and killing people, raping women, stealing what belongs to others can reasonably claim to be on a civilized mission. By what perverse logic can we argue that the aboriginals who were extensively massacred by Europeans colonizers benefited from European civilization (which, as Gandhi correctly opined, would be a good idea)? Also, the claim that European brought education to Africa can also be dismissed as fanciful ignorance when it is remembered that in Africa (Mali, specifically) is to be found one of the world oldest universities – the University of Sankore.

Little known today is the simple fact that the Europe that launched its genocide against the world was a Europe just emerging from the dark ages. And it was a Europe where people were starving; where one third of the population routinely perishes in pestilences; and it was a Europe where writing was considered the work of the devil. Europeans left their land in search of food which they couldn’t get in their Europe. To them, Africa, with its riches and resources must have seemed like paradise indeed. No, we are not deriding Europe; go read up on your history.

The West can claim to have civilised and developed us but history recorded that the natural development of the colonies were arrested and distorted by the mere fact of colonization.

Now coming to Africans fighting for their interests, we need to ask what these interests are and consider it with European interests and see if they are compatible. Blessedly, Africa is richly endowed with very vast mineral resources; the interests of Africa should be how to use these abundant resources for the development of Africa and the improvement of the lives of Africans. That should be our primary goal, objective or whatever have you. And it was a goal for which African Patron Saints such as the Osagyefo Nkrumah lived and died.

It should be noted that almost all of Europe’s industries are built specifically to process African mineral resources. The source of the wealth of Europe lies in having colonial control of this vast African wealth. And after independence, it has lied in maintaining neo-colonial outposts that they call independent countries which continue to guarantee easy access to these resources at prices detrimental to Africa. The principal interest of Europe is to get these African raw materials as cheaply as possible, in order to feed her industries cheaply, and thus to continue to maximize her profit and increase her wealth.

We can see that these interests (African and European) are diametrically opposed. Whilst Europe has doggedly pursued her objectives as mentioned supra, Africa elite have been negligent in looking after the interests of Africa and her people. African elite have consistently bought the lies that we have friends in the west. No, we do not have friends. No true friend would treat a friend as shabbily as Europe has treated us. This is the simple truth. The truth which even the blind cannot afford not to see is that Europe has nothing but utter contempt for Africa. I am simply judging Europe by her actions and not by the words of her sanctimonious leaders and scholars. Let anyone convince me otherwise. At least those of us who have sojourned in Europe are eloquent testimony to Europe’s irrational and seemingly incurable racism.

What Europe has done over the years is to be in cahoots with African elite and steal African resources. Few years ago, I asked the question of where in Africa we find projects that consumed the 400 billion US dollars the West claimed it has given Africa over the years. If they stole our resources and gave a percentage to our elite, in what way are they helping us in our developmental challenges?

As I have written elsewhere, Europeans appears to be the only branch of humanity whose creed is to conquer, control and dominate. The West never appears prepared to want to cooperate in mutually beneficial commerce with non-westerners. Or how else do we explain the situation whereby the West is determining the prices it pays for other people’s resources? If neither cocoa nor coffee is grown in any European town, why are the prices determined in London? Anyone who had stayed any length of time in Europe will tell you that the prices of cocoa and coffee consumables are remarkably stable. One economist has calculated that European middlemen make three-quarter of the profit in Cocoa trade!

When asked what I think of the Chinese presence in Africa, my answer is that I have absolutely nothing against it. In fact, I am joyous about it. Finally, Africa has found alternatives. Years back, Europe can steal our resources and claim that it was transferring technology to us or giving us financial assistance. Today, thank goodness, we have alternatives. Today, the Asians control close to seventy percent of the world’s foreign reserves. And so advanced are the Asians in technologies that a French government once set up a committee to study how to catch up with the Japanese! And Africans would be stupid not to want to tap into it and seek alternative to the lopsided and unequalled relationship with Europe.

What then is our problem is Africa? What are we waiting for before embracing the Asians and welcoming them with open arms? Why do we still gravitate towards the parsimonious West? African businessmen coming with their money to do business in Europe are daily humiliated by European immigration officials, who have been brain-dirtied into believing that all Africans are starving paupers seeking asylum. Gladly, they are taking their money and businesses to China.

The Chinese, as history recorded, were in African shores long before Europeans could navigate outside their waters; yet the Chinese didn’t think of conquest or colonization. They engaged in honorable trade and went back home. They were not moved by our ivory, our timber, our gold and diamond to want to enslave and colonize us. Today, the children of those pirates and continent-stealers who came to Africa to rob and plunder are telling me that I should be afraid of the Chinese. I ask: What the hell for?


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

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Femi Akomolafe




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