Blinken Implores for West’s “Rules Based Order”-South Africa & Rwanda Push Back

Review of Biden’s US-Africa Strategy

What Is True Democracy?

August 29, 2022

Minister Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken, President Cyril Ramaphosa (Courtesy thehindu.com)

  1. Blinken’s Flawed Trip to Africa

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s six day visit to three sub-Saharan African nations, despite assertions to the contrary, was an attempt to strengthen U.S. geopolitical interests on the continent. Blinken traveled to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 7-12, in an effort to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa. This is obvious to all serious analysts of U.S.-Africa strategy. His trip was proceeded a week earlier by U.S. ambassador to the United Nation, Linda Thomas Greenfield, who visited Uganda, Cape Verde, and Ghana. The U.S. is desperately trying to regain its authority to use African nations as pawns in its geopolitical war against its self-declared China, and Russia.

China’s positive impact on African nations is ever-present. China has invested  and built more vitally necessary hard infrastructure projects in Africa than the entire Group of Seven combined. As a result, it has become the most favored nation among African youth. The U.S. has admitted that it cannot compete with China economically in Africa, even as it attempts to feebly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The lack of support for President Biden’s war against Russia was a harsh wake up call. U.S. administration officials were stunned at the March 2  U.N. General Assembly vote, when almost half-48% of the African nations refused to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine. Of the 54 African nations, 17 abstained, 8 did not vote, and Eritrea voted against the resolution. The same sentiment was repeated in April at the U.N. when only 10 African nations supported the removal of Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Secretary Blinken’s trip to Africa occurred two weeks after Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov’s African tour of Egypt, Uganda, Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

A major purpose for Secretary Blinken’s second visit to the sub-continent within ten months was to release the new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, though there is little new substance in this strategy. It reiterates the Biden administration’s intention to “weaponize democracy” against China and Russia.

Blinken’s International Order Challenged

In his opening remarks at a joint-press-availability on August 8, with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken defensively stated that the U.S. does not view the African continent as “the latest playing field in the competition between great powers.” However, the content of his trip displayed otherwise.

The “international order,” which Secretary Blinken embodied on his three nation tour was rebuked often. In response to Blinken’s denunciation of Russia’s aggression, Minister Pandor raised the unfair and unequal treatment of the Palestinians,

“Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom. And we should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine.

We’ve not seen an even-handed approach in the utilization of the prescripts of international law, and we encourage that the world should have greater attention to ensuring that we are equal to everybody else.”

In response to a question from the Washington Post concerning U.S. efforts to get African nations to choose between China and Russia, and the West, Minister Pandor used what is considered strong diplomatic language against bullying sovereign nations,

“So indeed, it is important that all of us accept our ability to hold different opinions. We are, after all, sovereign nations that are regarded as equal in terms of the United Nations Charter…And one thing I definitely dislike is being told ‘either you choose this or else.’  When a minster speaks to me like that…some have, I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be treated. (Emphasis added)

So, this fear [about Russia]that we exist under some push is…a really unfounded belief in the relationship that we have with either country. And we’ve been quite clear in saying we really advocate peace [between Russia and Ukraine] because we knew what would happen. We knew there’d be destruction, there’d be death, there’d be desolation. And that’s what we’re all seeing. And what we’ve always asked is: where is this [war] going to end? Let us make every effort to get peace.” (Emphasis added)

Pandor Advocates US-China Cooperation

In her closing remarks Minister Pandor identified interference by external forces and the looting of Africa’s resources as contributing to the instability of African nations. She concluded by calling for cooperation between the U.S. and China to achieve economic growth,

“But to come in and seek to teach a country that we know how democracy functions and we’ve come to tell you, you do it, it’ll work for you – I think it leads to defeat, so we need to think in different ways.

“I also think that…one of the experiences we should draw lessons from is the reality that there has been a lot of external interference in Africa. And a lot of that external interference has fueled conflict in many African countries, has fueled instability and supported opposition groups against liberation fighters and so on…This is a reality.

“It’s a world phenomenon which results from Africa’s rich mineral wealth that has made it a significant target of external players that don’t always have the interests of Africa at heart.

“We can’t be made party to conflict between China and the United States of America, and I may say it does cause instability for all of us because it affects the global economic system. We really hope that the United States and China will arrive a point of rapprochement where all of us can look to economic development and growth for all our countries because that’s extremely important for all of us. They’ve got to find a way of working together to allow us to grow.” (Emphasis added.)

I fully support and would highlight Minister Pandor’s perspective. If the U.S. and China adopted the shared mission to collaborate with African nations in achieving elevated rates of real economic growth; poverty and hunger could be eliminated on the continent, along with instability.

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Biruta (Courtesy of allfrica.com)

Rwanda Defends Its Sovereignty

Secretary Blinken’s last stopover was Rwanda, where, after meeting with President Kagame, he spoke at a joint-press-availability with Rwandan Foreign Minister, Vincent Biruta. During their exchange, Minister Biruta defended Rwanda’s sovereignty regarding the trial of Paul Rusesabagina.

When asked about the incarceration of Mr. Rusesabagina, Minister Biruta insisted that he was tried and convicted  for crimes committed against Rwandan citizens. He was arrested “lawfully under both Rwandan and international laws. Therefore, Rwanda will continue to abide by our rules, and the decisions that were made by our judiciary. And we request our partners to respect Rwanda’s sovereignty, Rwanda’s laws, and its institutions.”

Secretary Blinken then responded with two veiled threats. First, he threatened to use the Khashoggi Ban to impose visa restrictions on individuals and their families whom the US has deemed to have participated in persecution against dissidents.

“We established what is called the Khashoggi Ban to make clear that any country that engages in repressive actions against those who criticize it, if those persons are in the United States, they face consequences for those actions.”

Second, Secretary Blinken slyly indicated that how Rwanda deals with this issue could affect future relations with Rwanda.

I’ve shared all of this with President Kagame today [concerns about Rusesabagina]. It’s not for me to characterize his response, but these are concerns that I shared. And I did that, again, in the context of making clear our desire for an even stronger, even more productive relationship between the United States and Rwanda, building on what Rwanda has done so successfully, building on what we’ve already done together. But these are issues that we care deeply about, our Congress cares deeply about, the American people care deeply about.”

Minister Biruta was unperturbed by Secretary Blinken’s comments.

  1. U.S. Strategy Not Addressing Africa’s Interests

Acknowledging the global role of Africa for the remainder of this century, President Biden issued a new U.S. Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa.. The document fact sheet US Strategy Toward sub Saharan Africa identifies the geopolitical reasoning that compelled U.S. to respond to the growing influence of China and Russia. To wit: the continent has almost one third of the planet’s reserves of critical minerals; an advantageous location for international trade, contiguous to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and the Gulf of Eden; a regional voting bloc of 28% of the nations that comprise the United Nations; and the fastest growing population in the world.

Contrary to claims by the U.S. that its new policy is to promote democracy in Africa, the geopolitical intent of this administration’s policy for Africa is revealed in the document’s second page under the title, Strategic Environment. Here the U.S. nakedly exposes its strategy to use the African continent as another arena for its war against China and Russia. It states:

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC), by contrast, sees the region as an important arena to challenge the rules-based international order, advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken U.S. relations with African peoples and governments. Russia views the region as a permissive environment for parastatals and private military companies, often fomenting instability for strategic and financial benefit. Russia uses its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation, to undercut Africans’ principled opposition (sic) to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine and related human rights abuses.”

President Biden’s Africa strategy was released during Secretary Blinken’s stay in South Africa and consist of four main objectives.

George Soros, founder of the infamous Open Society Foundation. (Courtesy of opindia.com)

Its first listed objective, Foster Openness and Open Societies, wastes no time in maligning Russia and China, attempting to recruit African nations to U.S. geopolitical doctrine. It states: “Open Societies are generally more inclined to work in common cause with the United Statesand counter harmful activities by the People’s Republic of China and Russia.” (Emphasis added.)Coincidentally or not, Open Society is the name of George Soros’ infamous global organization, which has been identified in numerous regime-change movements throughout the world, including in Russia and China.

Secretary Blinken’s trip was an attempt to cajole African nations to create so called open societies, respect Western rule of law, and follow the Western democracy model. This is recognized as a weak effort to counter the impact of Russia and China, especially China’s commitment to expansion of hard infrastructure across the African continent.

Principles, Not A Rules Based Order

President Biden and Secretary Blinken insist that African nations and the rest of the world must behave according to their rules-based international order and their notion of democracy. If nations fail to comply, they will be punished, by war, sanctions, or threats of both.

Who’s ruled-based order is it anyway? Who has determined these rules? The mantra of the rules-based order is an extension of the West’s adherence to their dangerous and destructive geopolitical doctrine. A doctrine that reduces national interest to vying for power in a zero-sum competition in an unchanging, non-developing world. However, nations and people are not fixed objects to be moved around according to the whims of the most powerful, like pieces on a chessboard. Nations and people are not to be regimented to perform according to a set of rules of dos and don’ts that is contrary to the real principles of freedom and democracy.

To understand the living sovereign nation-state and its relationship to other nations, we must first answer the question, what makes human beings, human?

Human beings unlike any other living species we know, are endowed with a creative imagination, the power to discover, and hypothesize the principles governing the physical universe. Economic progress is the result of scientific discoveries and their realization through modern technologies that transform modes of economic production from lower to higher forms of productivity.

All human beings are born with this same potential for creative thought bequeathed by the Creator. Human creativity is a principle coherent with the universe’s own living, non-linear growth process. Human beings seek to enrich their lives by contributing to the progress of civilization. Thus, all members of humankind are identical in their potential for creative thought, and similarly, the true interest of each nation is also identical. Nations exist to protect and foster this creative power in each of its citizens.

Understanding these profound and provable elemental concepts of human nature is the foundation for creating a lawful, just, and harmonious world order. One that is premised on the self-interest of each nation promoting the development of each member of its population.

True Democracy

The Biden administration is obsessed with the word democracy, labeling this or that nation and this or that activity, democratic or undemocratic. Shamefully, neither President Biden nor Secretary Blinken have an actual understanding of how a democracy should function. If they did, they would have made economic development the focus of all four objectives of their U.S.-Africa Strategy. By economic development, I contend that it is only  those policies that lead to an increased standard of living for an expanding number of people. (As understood by Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List, Henry Carey, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and echoed by Kwame Nkrumah, among others.)

Democracy is an empty construct unless it emphatically includes the right and responsibility of the population to debate and discuss what are the most appropriate ideas to guide the future of their nation. I was reminded during a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts that prior to the American Revolution, there were Town Hall gatherings of thousands of residents to discuss their freedom from British rule.

Democracy cannot be denigrated to simply encompassing elections good governance. True democracy requires an educated citizenry with a material standard of living and leisure time to think and reflect on the best policy for their nation, which will affect their children and grandchildren. Does the public have the opportunity to deliberate on the best direction for their nation for the next one to two generations? What policies will lead to an improved standard of living for future generations, deserves to be fully debated by thoughtful citizens. Intelligent discussion of ideas, a process unique to human beings, is primary in a true democracy. Otherwise, what is one voting for, or about?

Poverty in West Africa increasing, Food insecurity is affecting millions of people.  (Courtesy of UNICEF/Vincent Treameau)

Without Development, Democracy Cannot Exist

For Africans to participate in democracy they musts be allowed to apply their creative minds to determine their future, the future of their nation. This is not possible if hunger and poverty remain pervasive throughout the continent. Over 500 million Africans live in extreme poverty-less than $2 per day. Over 600 million Africans do not have access to an electric grid, and millions more only have access for a portion of the day.

If a parents’ primary concern is searching for food to feed their family or hustling each day to subsist in the informal economy, there is no time to think. Under conditions dominated by survival, focused on the here and now, one is not in the state of mind to seriously ponder the nation’s future. If there is not sufficient room in a dwelling to raise a family, then both adults and children do not have the space and quiet time to read and educate themselves. If one does not have access to electricity 24 hours a day, how can one read when there is no sun light? How many schools and libraries exist for education of children and adults? Do the majority of Africans have the time, space, and comfortable lifestyle to meet with friends and neighbors to examine the issues facing their nation today and tomorrow?

Fulfilling these basic pressing human needs are categorically essential, for the realization of democracy. They are not optional. For decades, the U.S. has lectured Africans about democracy but with its anti-development agenda, has shown no interest in actually creating the conditions for it to thrive. Secretary Blinken’s and President Biden’s promotion of democracy to counter their perceived enemies will fail to achieve its goal. More importantly, it will fail the people of Africa. Democracy in the truest sense will not exist unless, and until, there is a full-throttled state-led mobilization of all resources to create an economic transformation across the African continent. If this is not advocated by the U.S. government, its like-minded “pro-democracy” institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, and institutes, then they must cease their endless preaching, or be exposed as frauds. Then all they are left with is “a sounding of brass or a clanging cymbal.”  

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

African Youth Favor China’s Development Policy Over the U.S.

Africa’s youth recognize China’s contributions to the continent.

June 29, 2022

According to a recent survey by Ichikowitz Family Foundation, African youth favor China’s involvement on the continent over that of the United States.

In an article from the VOA-Voice of America, China wins battle of perception among young Africans, they report:

“Seventy-seven percent of young Africans said China was the ‘foreign actor’ with the greatest impact on the continent, while giving the U.S. an influence rating of just 67%. In a follow-up question on whether that influence was positive or negative, 76% said China’s was positive, while 72% said the same of the U.S.

“By contrast, U.S. influence has dropped by 12% since 2020, according to the survey of more than 4,500 Africans 18 to 24 years old and living in 15 countries across Africa.”

One of the primary reasons for their choices is: “Beijing’s investments in infrastructure development on the continent and China’s creation of job opportunities in African countries.” (Emphasis added)

Ivor Ichikowitz said:

“Young Africans are telling us that they are seeing tangible, visible and very impactful signs of the role that China has played in the development of Africa.”

“Albeit that there is significant criticism of Chinese investment in Africa, it’s very difficult for African governments not to value China because China is providing capital, providing expertise, providing markets at a time when Europe and the United States are not.” 

China Embraces Economic Transformation of Africa

The Journal of International Development published in May of this year, Economic Transformation in Africa: What is the role of Chinese firms? This research paper explains why China has surpassed the U.S. in favorability among African youth.

The abstract of this paper bluntly states exactly what Western geopolitical ideologies still refuse to accept:

 “Africa–China trade leads to mixed results, while Chinese investment and infrastructure construction are found to contribute positively to transformation. Chinese firms are also found to support capacity building, spillovers, and innovation in African countries.”

The authors have identified a central concept. African nations need Economic Transformation (ET), which is not equal to simplistic and false notions of economic growth measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

They correctly explain the difference in their introduction:

“The process of economic transformation (ET), indicating the changes affecting the structure of an economy, is at the core of development. While GDP growth is often used as a metric for development, it simply points to an expansion of a country’s economic size, but it does not guarantee that the economy has become more diversified, resilient to shocks or inclusive. Conversely, ET, indicating a transition from an economy based on traditional agriculture to one where modern sectors take the central place, can deliver job creation, diversification, and inclusive development.

“Today, African countries face an ET gap. While many African economies have grown over the last few decades, their structure has not transformed. In contrast with other regions of the world, where the majority of people are employed in the secondary and tertiary sectors, a large share of Africa’s labor force works in agriculture and related activities, where average productivity is lower.

“When Chinese economic engagement with Africa started intensifying at the turn of the century, it raised hopes for ET. China’s extraordinary growth and poverty reduction performance could be a model for African countries; and with China as a trade, investment and development partner, African economies could hope to follow a similar path. African engagement with China was deemed particularly promising for industrialization on the continent. (Emphasis added)

Regrettably, both for the U.S., and Africa, and the rest of the developing sector, the West no longer believes in economic transformation. The U.S. in particular, is no longer devoted to fostering economic development for itself or other nations, contrary to many outstanding periods of its history. Whatever shortcomings exist in China’s relationship to Africa, China is committed to promoting real economic development i.e., economic transformation on the African continent. Yet Western governments continually attack China and its Belt and Road Initiative for assisting African nations in addressing the most critical deficiency in their economies; the lack of infrastructure and a manufacturing sector.

Many people, including so called economic experts fail to understand that money is not the basis of economic growth. The addition of all the monetary values of an economy’s goods and services measured in GDP, does not determine economic growth. The only proper, scientific measure of economy is not monetary values, but the ability of each particular mode of economic production to provide an increased standard of living to an expanding population. A physical economist  like myself understands, that it is those physical inputs that lead to an increase in the performance-output of the productive powers of labor that determines real economic growth. Infrastructure and manufacturing capacity are crucial physical inputs required for economic transformation.

That is what the Chinese are providing for Africa, unlike the West. Could that be why young Africans think more approvingly of China’s policies in Africa than the U.S.?

Read the entire  paper: Economic Transformation in Africa: What is the role of Chinese firms?

Read my earlier post: Africa Needs Real Economic Growth, Not IMF Accountants; For the Development of Africa: Know and Apply Franklin Roosevelt’s Credit Policy

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a writer, researcher, and consultant, and the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Time to End Clap-Trap About ‘Debt-Trap Diplomacy’ in Africa!

While China is Africa’s biggest bilateral creditor, most of the continent’s debt is due to private Western holders of African debt, according to a new study. Photo: PowerChina

June 14, 2022

Africa’s Bigger Worry Is Western Bondholders-Study Finds, an article in the South China Morning Post (see below), is yet another refutation of the baseless ‘debt-trap diplomacy.’ Western propaganda accuses China of  deliberately driving African nations into debt, in order to seize their assets upon default on their loans. These charges have been disproved again, and again, including by the China-Africa Research Institute-CARI, Johns Hopkins University Washington DC. Not to overlooked: not one African asset or project involving China has been seized!

“Contrary to the debt-trap narrative, if a wave of African defaults materializes in the near future, as IFI officials have been fearing since at least 2015, it will be catalyzed more by private-sector maneuvering and intransigence than by Chinese scheming,” the study said

These false allegations against China and its Belt and Road Initiative, have been repeated without a scintilla of evidence, by leaders of  Western governments including several U.S. Presidents, members of Congress, and State Department officials. The motivation for the mindless repetition of what is a blatant falsehood, is the perverted geopolitical doctrine. The followers of this geopolitical mindset insist that for the U.S. led West, to maintain their supremacy in the world, they must suppress and weaken other superpowers, to prevent them from challenging the U.S.-West hegemonic status. Sadly, from the ideology of western geopolitics, the African continent is seen as a mere chess board with African nations as mere chess pieces to counter China’s emergence. To China’s credit they have collaborated with African nations to build vitally necessary infrastructure, while for the last fifty years, the West has refused to make these long term investments.

 As I have documented on this website for years, Africa’s infrastructure is so huge, that the demand for capital investment cannot be satisfied by one nation alone.

There is a harmony of interest for the U.S. and China to cooperate with African nations to eliminate poverty and hunger, which I know can be done within one generation. Let us jettison the relic of geopolitics and adopt a mission that is in the shared-common interest of humankind.

Africa’s Bigger Worry Is Western Bondholders-Study Finds

Chinese debt traps in Africa? The bigger worry is bondholders, study finds

•China is the continent’s biggest bilateral creditor but most of the debt is due to private Western holders of African debt, according to a new report

•Private-sector manoeuvring rather than Chinese scheming more likely to induce a wave of defaults, researchers say

Jevans Nyabiage, June 6, 2022

The rise in African debt due to Chinese lending pales in comparison with the debt burden created by private creditors in the last decade, according to a new report taking aim at accusations that Beijing engages in “debt-trap diplomacy” on the continent.

The study – by Harry Verhoeven from the Centre on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and Nicolas Lippolis from the department of politics and international relations at the University of Oxford – says the debt-trap narrative is a function of China-US strategic and ideological rivalry rather than a reflection of African realities or perspectives.

“What keeps African leaders awake at night is not Chinese debt traps. It is the whims of the bond market,” the report says.

Debt-trap diplomacy involves extending loans to countries and taking control of key assets if the debtor defaults on repayments.

While China is the continent’s biggest bilateral creditor, most of the debt is due to private Western holders of African debt, according to the researchers. Capital, in the form of debt repayments, thus continued to flow from Africa to Europe and North America, the study said.

Verhoeven said the percentage of African debt owed to China was less compared to that borrowed from private creditors.

“[Chinese debt] is not the most rapidly growing segment of debt. Other credit lines have grown a lot more in recent years, especially those towards commercial creditors,” said Verhoeven, co-author of the report “Politics by Default: China and the Global Governance of African Debt”.

“These are bondholders, people from London, Frankfurt and New York who are buying African debt. That segment in the last couple of years has grown much faster than any liabilities that African states owe other creditors.”

The report cited confidential estimates of international financial institutions (IFIs) that showed sub-Saharan Africa’s government debts to Chinese entities at the end of 2019 totaled around US$78 billion. This was about 8 per cent of the region’s total debt of US$954 billion and 18 per cent of Africa’s external debt.

Continue reading the entire article: Africa’s Bigger Worry Is Western Bondholders-Study Finds

Read my earlier posts:

Africa’s ‘poverty trap’ more dangerous than so-called debt trap

Chinese ‘Debt Trap” is a Myth-Biden Would be Wise Not to Continue Trump’s Attacks on China in Africa 

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the 0blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

U.S. Geopolitics Exposes Itself in CFR report on China’s Belt and Road-Will Africa benefit?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative- BRI (Courtesy of dailysabah.com)

February12, 2022

Lawrence Freeman

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) March 2021 report: China’s Belt and Road: Implications for the United States, would be humorous, if it was not so pitiful. In the course of almost 200 pages, the CFR, the premiere think tank of the U.S. Establishment, maligns China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but admits that the success of the BRI is the result of a failure of U.S. policy. The entire analysis is inherently flawed from the beginning because it proceeds from the axioms of the diseased doctrine of geo-politics, which views the world as a zero-sum game. Rather than understanding that the world is composed of human beings and sovereign nations who share a common interest, Anglo-American devotees of geopolitics only see two sides. In this case, China, and the U.S., where “an advantage to one side is a loss to the other.”   

The CFR report is replete with a compilation of:

  • Contradictions
  • Speculation that BRI nations debt to China “might” or “could” lead to economic distress
  • China is not playing by the international rules imposed by Western international financial institutions
  • Recommendations that do not address the reasons for the success of the BRI, but instead propose new forms of political-economic warfare to undermine China.

The report’s Executive Summary bluntly states:

“U.S. inaction as much as Chinese assertiveness is responsible for the economic and strategic predicament in which the United States finds itself. U.S. withdrawal helped create the vacuum that China filled with BRI…it [the U.S.] has not met the inherent needs of the region.” (emphasis added)  

US Infrastructure Investment?

US stopped loaning money to Africa for infrastructure for several decades

It is well known that beginning in the 1970s, the U.S. moved away from investing in hard infrastructure. Hard infrastructure is essential to the growth of the physical economy. It is irreplaceable in providing a platform that is the foundation of a healthy economy. The U.S. abandoned the needs of the majority of the nations of the world and foolishly sabotaged the U.S. economy as well.

According to estimates by the World Bank sited in this report:

“…$97 trillion needs to be spent on infrastructure globally by 2040 in order to maintain economic growth and to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but an $18 trillion gap exists.”

The report acknowledges that Western financial institutions and governments do not fund hard infrastructure.

Should BRI nations be punished for trying to improve the lives of their population by accepting China’s financing help? The African continent, which has the largest infrastructure deficit in the world, encounters a gap upwards of $100 billion a year for essential infrastructure investment.

The report itself admits the global benefits of the BRI:

“Since BRI’s launch in 2013, Chinese banks and companies have financed and built everything from power plants, railways, highways, and ports to telecommunications infrastructure, fiber-optic cables, and smart cities around the world…BRI has the potential to meet long-standing developing country needs and spur global economic growth.” (emphasis added)

 Geopolitics Governs Western Thinking

If the CFR were genuinely concerned about addressing the huge lack of hard infrastructure that is keeping nations underdeveloped and forcing  billions of people around the world to live in poverty, they would propose the U.S. collaborate with the BRI. However, they are more concerned in trying to maintain U.S. unipolar dominance.

For those of you who do not know, the Council on Foreign Relations is a 100 year old arm of the Anglo-American establishment. Founded in 1921 as the American branch of the British Royal Institute for International Affairs, otherwise known as Chatham House, which was createdtwo years earlier. Chatham House was created by Lord Alfred Milner, then acting as Secretary of State for the British Empire’s colonies, through a vast trust funded by the estate of race-patriot Cecil Rhodes.

(Courtesy of slideshare.net)

The CFR report makes clear their fear of China usurping the U.S. as the one and only world superpower when they write that the BRI will “enable China to lock countries into Chinese ecosystems…“The report attacks China for the crime of violating the so called free-trade system by subsidizing “state-owned and non–market oriented Chinese companies” and that the BRI is “undermining world macroeconomic stability.”

Nevertheless, the report states: The United States, even if not formally part of BRI, would likely benefit in some ways if BRI builds infrastructure that accelerates global economic growth.” (emphasis added)

The actual threat for the Western financial system, overburdened with quadrillions of dollars of derivatives and unpayable debts, is that it will be outperformed by China, dislodging the U.S. from its perch as the sole economic superpower.

No Debt Trap, Debt Crisis Instead

The CFR report is forced to admit there is no Chinese debt-trap, and no asset seizure.

“Although not setting explicit debt traps, China’s lending practices contribute to debt crisis along BRI.” However, “there has yet to be a case in which China has taken control of other countries’ infrastructure.”

Revealing their real concern, the report speculates, “the risk is clear that countries unable to repay their debts to China could become clients of China, deferring to it on political or strategic issues.”

The CFR report, while explicitly acknowledging multiple times that there is no debt-trap, argues that Chinese BRI loans are driving the “emerging debt crisis,” threatening todisruptthe global financial system. They write: “When these emerging debt crises in BRI countries materialize, they will undermine global economic growth and macroeconomic stability…”

They also allege that: “BRI participants [will be forced] to choose between meeting debt-service requirements to China or funding local economic recovery and critical medical services at a moment of historic crisis.” Isn’t that precisely what the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been demanding of developing nations for the last several decades?

China dwarfs the West in infrastructure investment

Gyude More, the former Minister of Infrastructure in Liberia, has on multiple occasions pointed out the fallacies of claiming that China is causing debt distress in African nations. He estimates that Africa’s debt to China is between 20-23%, with a handful of African nations responsible for the majority of the debt. Approximately 80% of the continent’s debt is owed to multilateral Western financial institutions, the private sector, and hedge funds.

Moore cogently points out that prior to China’s involvement in the continent, African nations were forced to pay debt service and arrears on unpayable Western loans. Africans also received no benefit from multi-billion dollar Western extractive mining interests that looted Africa’s resources, contributing little or nothing to improving the conditions of life for Africans. With China there is a new “win-win” model. Moore explains that natural resources are instead used to secure loans from China to actually build vitally needed infrastructure that benefits the lives of Africans. Why should African nations reject this arrangement, which also comes with no demands for political of financial reform of the host nation? The West “doth protest too much, methinks.”

CFR Proposals: Impotent or Geopolitical?

The recommendations of the CFR report are a combination of impotency and geopolitical idiocy, arrogantly displaying no respect for the sovereignty of BRI nations. However, the report itself affirms that China’s BRI is a reality across the globe, and it is here to stay. All of the recommendations in this report avoid addressing what the BRI is providing; government subsidized credit for the construction of hard infrastructure. Instead, they recommend for the U.S. to menacingly wage geopolitical propaganda war against China and the BRI. Their suggestions include for the U.S. to; raise awareness of BRI risks, fund investigative journalism in BRI countries, champion anticorruption, work with IMF and World Bank to assess debt sustainability for BRI nations, and prepare for a conflict with BRI countries.

Notice the glaring absence of a positive development policy that promotes real economic growth around the world, demonstrating the bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy, as well as the CFR.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Africa’s ‘poverty trap’ more dangerous than so-called debt trap

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend the completion ceremony of the Chinese-built oil terminal at the port of Mombasa in Mombasa, Kenya, January 6, 2022. /Xinhua

Lawrence Freeman

CGTN, January 24, 2022

Editor’s note: Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst on Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In his visit to Kenya on January 6, 2022, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, emphasized China’s support for economic progress in Africa, and in particular, the Horn of Africa.

Wang was continuing China’s 32-year-old tradition of having their foreign minister begin each year with an overseas trip to Africa. In the first week of January, Wang met with officials in Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros. Both Eritrea and Kenya are located in East Africa, a region where Ethiopia, the second most populated nation in Africa, is engaged in a 14-month war to defeat an armed insurrection led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Kenya, an important ally of China, is a key nation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Maritime Silk Road.

Eliminating poverty

Wang, in his press conference, focused on the number one challenge facing Africa: poverty and the extremely low standard of living affecting the majority of its 1.4 billion people.

He polemically stated,”If there is any trap in Africa, it is the trap of poverty and the trap of backwardness,” which he counterposed to the so-called debt trap that he referred to as a “speech trap” created by the West. China speaks with authority, which has accomplished a modern day miracle in lifting over 750 million of its people out of extreme poverty and has pledged to help Africa do the same.

A woman fills up her water jerrycan in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, January 1, 2022. /VCG

China’s approach to the current challenges in the Horn of Africa is in stark contrast to that of the U.S. Instead of punishing Eastern African nations with sanctions and economic warfare, China is promoting peace and economic development. According to Wang, China will appoint a special envoy for the region, with the goal:

“To support the Horn of Africa in realizing lasting stability, peace and prosperity, China is willing to put forward the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and support regional countries in addressing the triple challenges of security, development and governance.”

Emphasizing China’s infrastructure-led economic approach, Wang encouraged nations of the region to “accelerate regional revitalization to overcome development challenges,” adding that “the two principal axes, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, should be enlarged and enhanced with the aim of expanding to neighboring countries at an opportune moment.”

Wang announced that China would provide an additional 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Kenya which follows President Xi Jinping’s November pledge at the Forum on China Africa Cooperation conference in Dakar, to make 1 billion doses available to Africa.

China’s policy guided by development

The dominant feature of China’s relation to Africa is development, contrary to the Western geopolitical propaganda against China. The infrastructure-driven BRI has made physical improvements in African economies through the construction of railways, roads, power generation capacity, ports and airports. There is not a single Western nation that even remotely compares to China’s level of investment in Africa.

As every African leader knows well, if China were to cease offering loans for infrastructure, there would be no Western nation to address the continent’s huge deficit in the field, and African nations would suffer terribly.

The U.S. has failed to modernize its own rail network and is incapable of building advanced transportation corridors in other countries, while China had constructed around 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail by the end of 2021.

Unlike U.S. officials who travel to African nations, Chinese representatives do not attach political conditionalities or arrogantly dictate what domestic policies must be adopted by their host countries. Instead, China is thoughtful by responding to the most critical and urgent needs of African nations. That is the elimination of poverty, which necessitates massive investments in hard and soft infrastructure.

Africa-s-poverty-trap-more-dangerous-than-so-called-debt-trap

Read my earlier posts:

Chinese ‘Debt Trap” is a Myth-Biden Would be Wise Not to Continue Trump’s Attacks on China in Africa 

China-Africa Debt Trap Refuted Again. Belt and Road Building Infrastructure-Developing Africa

A Brief Response: Marshall Plan for Africa or “Debt Trap?”

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

African Nations Must Have High-Speed Rail Network to Survive and Develop

January 10, 2022

I fully endorse the call by the African Railway Roundtable for the Europe Union to support the African Integrated High-Speed Rail Network. Whether Europe’s Global Gateway Strategy will actually fund this critically important infrastructure project is not clear.

The massive infrastructure deficit existing in all African nations is the greatest impediment to the elimination of poverty. Next to energy, rail transportation is the most vital category of infrastructure necessary for African nations to survive and develop in the 21st century. That U.S. and Europe have not understood this concept of physical economy for the last 50 years demonstrates a major failure in Western policy. That so called human right groups and NGOs have not made this–energy and rail infrastructure–their highest priority in their advocacy is another sign of the ignorance of what is required for African nations to provide for the welfare of their people.

Let Europe and the U.S. join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in bringing vitally required infrastructure to Africa.

Read my earlier posts:

Africa Continental Free Trade Area Must Have An Integrated High Speed Rail Network

The Africa Integrated High-Speed Rail Network is Feasible and Will Create A Prosperous Future for All African Nations

Link to Europe World Global Gateway

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

China’s Belt & Road is Helping Empower African Nations to Realize Their Economic Potential

November 15, 2021

Please watch my 45 minute presentation to the Special Session on Africa, at the ICG 16 in Qingdao, China, on October 25, 2021, entitled: “How China Is Empowering Africa’s Self Development.”

I discuss as a physical economist the critical importance of infrastructure in developing a progressive pro-growth economy. Expansion of vital categories of infrastructure, such as railroads and electricity is the most essential task for African nations today. I present in detail how China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is assisting African nations in developing their economies. The West, dominated by the disease known as “geo-politics” is spreading false propaganda against China’s investment in Africa. I expose their their anti-China propaganda regarding so called “debt-trap” diplomacy. Viewing my presentation will prove valuable to those familiar and those unfamiliar with China’s cooperative relationship wit African nations.

Please watch: Africa-China: Belt and Road

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa: Africa Needs Reliable Energy-Nuclear-to Power Industrialized Economies

Wind turbines operate at a wind farm near Vredenburg, South Africa, Oct. 6. Photo: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg News

The comments below by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, are very timely as G-20 nations convene in Glasgow for the COP26 Summit. President Museveni is absolutely correct. The Green energy movement proposed by the West will lead to more deaths, increase poverty, and impose more misery, and suffering across the continent of sub-Saharan African (SSA). Under the guise of reducing C02, the “Green Reset” supported by all the global financial instructions, will suppress the growth of agriculture, manufacturing and industry in SSA.  The deficit of energy in SSA is killing Africans today and has retarded economic growth in SSA for decades. Over the last several decades Western nations and intuitions have done nothing to address the huge infrastructure needs in Africa. However, now these same institutions are using the Green ideology to prevent Africa from developing. My estimates are that SSA needs at least 1,000 gigawatts of energy. I support burning as much oil, gas, and coal as necessary in preparation to transitioning into economies powered by nuclear energy. Only in the last ten years as we seen minimally, but important construction of vital infrastructure by China and Belt and Road Initiative. 

OPINION | COMMENTARY-Wall Street Journal

Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa
Letting us use reliable energy doesn’t mean a climate disaster.

By Yoweri K. Museveni
Oct. 24, 2021

Africa can’t sacrifice its future prosperity for Western climate goals. The continent should balance its energy mix, not rush straight toward renewables—even though that will likely frustrate some of those gathering at next week’s global climate conference in Glasgow.
My continent’s energy choices will dictate much of the climate’s future. Conservative estimates project that Africa’s population of 1.3 billion will double by 2050. Africans’ energy consumption will likely surpass that of the European Union around the same time.

Knowing this, many developed nations are pushing an accelerated transition to renewables on Africa. The Western aid-industrial complex, composed of nongovernmental organizations and state development agencies, has poured money into wind and solar projects across the continent. This earns them praise in the U.S. and Europe but leaves many Africans with unreliable and expensive electricity that depends on diesel generators or batteries on overcast or still days. Generators and the mining of lithium for batteries are both highly polluting.

This stands to forestall Africa’s attempts to rise out of poverty, which require reliable energy. African manufacturing will struggle to attract investment and therefore to create jobs without consistent energy sources. Agriculture will suffer if the continent can’t use natural gas to create synthetic fertilizer or to power efficient freight transportation.

A better solution is for Africa to move slowly toward a variety of reliable green energy sources. Wildlife-friendly minihydro technologies should be a part of the continent’s energy mix. They allow for 24-hour-a-day energy production and can be installed along minor rivers without the need for backup energy. Coal-fired power stations can be converted to burning biomass, and carbon capture can help in the meantime. Nuclear power is also already being put to good use in South Africa, while Algeria, Ghana and Nigeria operate research reactors with the intent of building full-scale nuclear facilities.

All this will take time, meaning Africa will have to use fossil fuels as it makes the transition. Natural gas is a greener option that will help the continent reduce emissions even as it grows, as developed nations have done themselves.

Saying any of this meets with backlash from developed nations. Instead of reliable renewables or greener fossil fuels, aid money and development investments go to pushing solar and wind, with all their accompanying drawbacks. And many Western nations have put a blanket ban on public funding for a range of fossil-fuel projects abroad, making it difficult for Africa to make the transition to cleaner nonrenewables.

In the coming decades my continent will have a strong influence on global warming. But it doesn’t now. Were sub-Saharan Africa (minus South Africa) to triple its electricity consumption overnight, powering the new usage entirely by gas, it would add only 0.6% to global carbon emissions.

Africans have a right to use reliable, cheap energy, and doing so doesn’t prevent the development of the continent’s renewables. Forcing Africa down one route will hinder our fight against poverty.

Mr. Museveni is president of Uganda.

Interview with Lawrence Freeman: Developing Africa Will Elevate the World to a Higher Economic-Political Platform

Watch the interview

April 10, 2021

Watch the above interview with Lawrence Freeman. It is a far reaching discussion that elaborates the importance of infrastructure led development polices for Africa. It highlights  the Transaqua inter-basin water transfer project that will not only reverse the shrinking Lake Cad, but will transform the entire Lake Chad Basin, improving the living conditions for millions of Africans. The conclusion of the interview discuses the significance of the African continent for global development over the next one to two generations. Essential, Africa is the new frontier on the planet earth.  Freeman proffered that if the United States would collaborate with China in leading an infrastructure driven economic transformation of Africa, hunger and poverty could be eliminated.  This would also shift political relations among nations away from the destructive doctrine of geo-politics to one of a common shared development of humankind.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Hunger in DRC-Criminal Stupidity Not to Help African Nations Manufacture Covid-19 Vaccines

(Courtesy of acted.org)

April 10, 2021

Watch my brief interview (below) on the Covid-19 crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across Africa.

Covid-19 has worsened the already desperate condition of lack of food for the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other nations in Africa. As reported below, a staggering  one third of the population of the DRC are “acutely hungry.” The DRC has the largest amount of unused arable land in the world. If developed, it could potentially feed the continent of Africa. It is the lack of development, not any objective conditions that is the cause of hunger in the DRC. 

Vaccines must be given to African nations now to inoculate their populations. However, if were are to vaccinate 1.5 billion people living in Africa, which we must, Africa will need 3 billion doses. This requires assisting African nations in building up their domestic manufacturing capability to produce the vaccine and vaccinate their populations. Anything less is shortsighted, if not criminally stupid.

Read my earlier posts:    Biden Must Lead All-Out Effort to Vaccinate Africa From COVID-19 ;  Hunger Stalks Africa: Nations Should be Food Self-Sufficient

                              

Acute Hunger Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Excepted report from EIR News.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program issued a cry of alarm yesterday, that they had found in their recently-completed review of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a “staggering” scale of acute hunger. Some 27.3 million people—one in three citizens of that nation—are “acutely hungry,” with nearly 7 million of those people classified as in emergency status, one step below famine, able to survive only by such extreme strategies as selling off their last animal which provides their livelihood, or by begging.

“This makes the central African country home to the highest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the statement from the two agencies reports.

These figures include 3.3 million of that nation’s children who are malnourished, children who if not quickly provided with enough nutritious food may never recover from stunting of their mental and physical growth which malnutrition brings about.

WFP’s representative in the D.R. Congo, Peter Musoko, is quoted: “For the first time ever we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, and this has helped us to come closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the D.R.C. This country should be able to feed its population and export a surplus. We cannot have children going to bed hungry and families skipping meals for an entire day.”

The FAO Representative in the D.R. Congo Aristide Ongone Obame urged: “We need to urgently focus on growing food where it is needed most, and on keeping people’s sustenance-giving animals alive. The main agricultural season is around the corner and there is no time to waste.”

The two agencies drove home the human condition only reflected in these statistics: “Behind the numbers are the stories of parents deprived of access to their land, or forced to flee for their lives, watching their children fall sick for lack of food. WFP staff have met families who have returned to their village to find their home burnt to the ground and their crops entirely looted. Some have been surviving by eating only taro, a root that grows wild, or only cassava leaves boiled in water.”

Never forget that such intolerable conditions are not “natural,” nor unsolvable. China’s just-released White Paper “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution” asserted, “poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable…. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.”

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton