By Professor Dr André Thomashausen (Unisa)
The magic formula of China’s cooperation with Africa is its commitment to friendly relations and liberation solidarity. It is known as the “win-win” solidarity that offers an integrated and centrally controlled development model.
African natural resources are developed and extracted with Chinese capital and know how, in partnership with their African owners. They are marketed and sold at world market prices by China who applies the proceeds to infrastructure development projects in Africa, supplemented by generous long-term finance conditions at near zero-interest rates. The three cooperation phases – resource extraction, resource marketing, and infrastructure development, are managed by joint government commissions, in terms of bi-lateral so-called Master Facility Agreements. This formula eliminates commercial risk and corruption at all stages of the cooperation.
This unique development cooperation model is strengthened by China’s opening of its markets without limitations to whatever Africa can produce. In contrast, the EU continues to severely restrict African imports with quotas and unfair technical entry barriers.
FOCAC and the new Belt and Road initiative have reduced the cost of trade and commerce between China and Africa. They have also created new rail transport and communications infrastructures that render inter-African trade possible for the first time in centuries.
The “people-to-people bond” (民心相通) is one of the five pillars of the “Belt & Road Initiative”, the other four pillars being “policy coordination”, “facilities connectivity”, “unimpeded trade”, and “financial integration”. Instead of building walls and militarizing African countries, China invests in co-operation and economic integration as a foundation for global peace and security.
In the early nineties, all African states adopted European models of multi-party democracy believing in Europe’s promise that this would result in better trade, progress and prosperity, just like in Europe. But in Africa, the European governance model has brought about nothing but election fraud, insecurity, civil wars, abuse of power, abusive resource exploitation and systemic corruption.
Win-Win Cooperation is the alternative to patronizing “development aid” hand outs and militarisation projects. NATO forces are seeking to establish military bases everywhere in Africa and the American AFRICOM is already deploying force in 34 African countries. The South African “Arms Deal” with Europe in 2000, just like the Mozambique maritime defence program with France and Switzerland in 2015, ended in scandal and bankruptcy.
*winning text at China Embassy Writing Competition with Prize Award on 18 January