Freeman Interview: “Living Conditions in Africa Today Are Morally, Politically, and Economically Unacceptable”

Listen to my 45 minute radio interview: TNT Interview With Lawrence Freeman July 13, 2022, beginning at 5 minutes 50 seconds

July 16, 2022

I discussed the following subjects concerning Africa:

*Unacceptable living conditions in Africa today

*Fraud of the “green transition” to prevent industrialization

*Importance of China’s infrastructure investment in Africa

*Lack of U.S. development policy for Africa

*Current destabilization of Ethiopia using ethnicity

*Potential of BRICS plus

Listen to 45 minute discussion on TNT Radio Interview With Lawrence Freeman July 13, 2022

Read my earlier posts:

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.

Commemorating the Death of Franklin Roosevelt: Last Great American Statesman With A Grand Vision for Africa

President Roosevelt in May 1933, signed legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority -TVA, and transformed the U.S. with his Grand Infrastructure Design

April 13, 2022

April 12 marked the seventy-seventh anniversary of the 1945 death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), the 32nd President of the United States. FDR is revered for rescuing America from the Great Depression using Alexanders Hamilton’s economic principles, and saving the world from fascism with U.S. industrial might. Matthew Ehret in his article, The Anniversary of FDR’s Death, examines the underlying  philosophical and strategic thinking of FDR, which without doubt qualifies him not only as a great U.S. President, but the last authentic American statesman.

It is no exaggeration to assert that the world would not be in the condition it is in today if President Roosevelt did not die before the end of his fourth term in office, or by some medical miracle, were still alive. Sadly, for the USA, and the world, none of his most significant policies survived his death, with the exception of the accomplishments of John Kennedy during his three short years as U.S. President. As soon as FDR died on April 12, the world changed dramatically, and not for the better.

We are still living through the terrible consequences of his death, especially regarding U.S. strategic relations with Russia and China. Rather than treating both these superpowers as geopolitical enemies in a falsely portrayed zero-sum world, President Roosevelt viewed both nations as allies against British colonialism. In his creation of the United Nations, FDR had Russia, and China join the U.S. and Britain as leading political powers. However, only President Kennedy, emulated FDR’s common interest approach to Russia, by proposing collaboration in a joint space program, despite the Cuban Missile crisis.

President Roosevelt’s firm opposition to British colonial practices, especially in Africa, is highlighted in Ehret’s citation of Elliott Roosevelt‘s revealing 1946 book, ‘As He Saw It’. A must read for all who oppose colonialismand desire to understand Roosevelt’s grand vision for a world of prosperous sovereign nations.

In ‘As He Saw It,’ Elliot Roosevelt quotes extensively from his father’s lecturing of Prime Minister Winston Churchill about the evils of British Colonialism, at their January 24,1943 Casablanca Conference in Morocco.

“Of course,” he [FDR] remarked, with a sly sort of assurance, “of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade.”

 He paused. The P.M.’s head was lowered; he was watching Father steadily, from under one eyebrow.

“No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements” he began heavily, “are—”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Dominions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”

“You see,” said Father slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some disagreement between you, Winston, and me.

“I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done, obviously, by eighteenth-century methods. Now—”

“Who’s talking eighteenth-century methods?”

“Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation—by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”

The P.M. himself was beginning to look apoplectic.” (emphasis added)

President Roosevelt’s commitment to foster economic growth in underdeveloped nations has been greatly misunderstood by the vast majority of people inhabiting both the advanced and less-advanced regions of the world . The Bretton Woods institutions: the International Monetary Fund, and the International Bank For Reconstruction and Development created by FDR in 1944, were not intended to be the perverse drivers of monetarist policy they have become today. As a result of decades of deliberate mis-information, it is virtually unknown that FDR instructed his representative at the Bretton Woods conference, Harry Dexter White, to create an institution that would foster economic growth for all nations, contrary to the intention of British representative, John Maynard Keynes.

I will be writing more about the Bretton Woods Conference and President Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation in the near future. Until then, Ehret’s article provides a useful broad backdrop to FDR’s policy. Read: The Anniversary of FDR’s Death

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.

It is Time for a New Security Doctrine for the USA: The Monroe Doctrine Revisited

The last words of John Qunicy Adams
John Quincy Adams, (1767-1848), American Statesman, sixth President of the United States, Secretary of State for James Monroe, Diplomat, Senator, and Congressman (Courtesy phrases.org.uk)

February 14, 2022

While I do not agree with all the views of this essay below, the author raises an important historical analysis. United States was a far better nation when it was committed to the American System policies of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Franklin D Roosevelt. The USA has lost its way, suffering from a ratcheting down of its culture, which has resulted in an un-American foreign policy.

By Matthew Ehret, February 10, 2022

It should be clear that the USA is in desperate need for a new security doctrine more befitting those ideals laid out in her founding documents.

These principles were elaborated upon by President Washington himself who warned the young nation of avoiding the dual evils of foreign entanglements externally and party politics domestically.

John Quincy Adams extended these ideas further still by drafting the Monroe Doctrine which he knew could only work if America ventures “not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”.

That is to say, as long as the USA focused her efforts on fixing her own problems with a focus on internal improvements, then the Monroe Doctrine would be a blessing for both herself and the international community.

Sadly, other impulses within the US establishment of 19th century America had other ideas.

Working with a young protégé named Abraham Lincoln, Adams fought tooth and nail against the Spanish-American War of 1846 which saw a deep abuse of his doctrine.

After the last “Lincoln-republican” William McKinley was assassinated, Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” diplomacy launched a new 20th century trend that saw the USA extending its hegemony over weak states rather than keeping out foreign imperial intrigue as Adams had envisioned.

Another essential component of Adams’ security doctrine was shaped by his view that the international community as a whole should never be defined as a sum of parts to be dominated by a single hegemon like the British Empire had done for centuries.

Abraham Lincoln - Wikipedia
Abraham Lincoln,(1809 -1865), Sixteenth President of the Unites States, leader of the Whig Party and co-founder the Republican Party, won the Civil War to save the Union (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Adams understood the importance of seeing the world as “a community of principle” where win-win cooperation based upon the self-improvement of both parts and the whole would constantly bring renewal and creative vitality to diplomacy. It was a top-down systemic approach to policy that saw economics, security and political affairs interwoven into one unified system. This is an integrative way of thinking that has been sorely lost in the hyper theoretical, compartmentalized mode of zero-sum thinking dominant in today’s neo-liberal think tank complex.

It was for this reason, that Adams advocated the use of Hamiltonian national banking and large-scale infrastructure projects like the Erie Canal and railways throughout his years as Secretary of State and President. From this paradigm, if American interests would be extended across the continent or the world more broadly, it would not be through brute force, but rather by the uplifting of standards of living of all parties.

Over the years, we have seen small but powerful attempts to revive Adams’ overarching security doctrine.

We had seen it revived with President Ulysses Grant’s efforts to extend US industrial know-how to countries across the world during the 1870s. We saw it again with McKinley’s promotion of rail lines uniting the Americas in what was to become a new industrial renaissance for Latin America.

We saw it come alive again with FDR’s program for internationalizing the New Deal across China, India, Ibero America, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia.

Eisenhower made some noble moves towards this renewal by ending the Korean War and attempting his Crusade for Peace driven by US-Russian cooperation and advanced scientific investments into India, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Latin America. Eisenhower’s many positive plans were sadly derailed by a growing parasite in the heart of the US deep state which he addressed in his famous “military industrial complex” speech of 1960.

Governor To Be

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), thirty-second President of the United states, only president to serve four terms, created the New Deal, formed strategic alliance with Russia and China. (Courtesy of thoughtco.com)

Kennedy’s efforts to end the Vietnam war, revive FDR’s New Deal spirit in the 1960s, while seeking entente with Russia was another noble effort to bring back Adams’ security doctrine, but his early death soon put an end to this orientation.

From 1963 to 2016, tiny piecemeal efforts to revive a sane security doctrine proved short-lived and were often undone by the more powerful pressures of unipolarist intrigue that sought nothing less than full Anglo-American hegemony in the form of a New World Order whose arrival was celebrated by the likes of Bush Sr and Kissinger in 1992.

Despite his many limitations, President Trump did make an honest endeavor to restore a sane security doctrine by focusing American interests on healing from 50+ years of self-inflicted atrophy under globalized outsourcing, militarism, and post-industrialism. Despite having to contend with an embarrassingly large and independent military-intelligence industrial complex that didn’t get less powerful after Kennedy’s murder, Trump announced the terms of his international outlook in April 2019 saying:

“Between Russia, China, and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear, which is ridiculous.… I think it’s much better if we all got together and didn’t make these weapons … those three countries I think can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that are more productive toward long-term peace.”

This call for a US-Russia-China cooperative policy ran in tandem with the first phase of the US-China Trade deal which went into effect in January 2020 guaranteeing $350 billion of US finished goods purchased by China. None other than George Soros himself suffered a public meltdown that month when he announced that the two greatest threats to his global Open Society were: 1) Trump’s USA and 2) Xi’s China.

US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE-POLITICS
Joe Biden, 79 years old, forty sixth President of the United States, Will President Biden lead the US into war with Russia? (Courtesy of theverg.com

Of course, a pandemic derailed much of this momentum and the trade deal slowly broke apart. Despite these failures, the idea of returning the USA to an “American first” outlook by cleaning up its own internal messes, extracting CIA operations from the military, defunding regime change organizations like NED [National Endowment of Democracy] abroad and returning to a traditionally American policy of protective tariffs were all extremely important initiatives that Trump put into motion,  and set a precedent which must be capitalized upon by nationalist forces from all parties wishing to save their republic from an oncoming calamity.

One year into Biden’s “rules based international order”, the hope for stability and peaceful cooperation among the nations of the earth has been seriously undermined. Unlike Trump, who rightfully severed US cooperation with NATO, the current neo-con heavy administration has made absorbing Ukraine and other former Soviet States into NATO a high priority going so far as to assert that Russia’s invasion is immanent should NATO forces not protect “poor, peaceful Kiev.” No mention of Nazi-ridden Azov Battalions used by Nuland and the CIA to topple the former government in 2014 is ever mentioned of course.  8500 US troops have been told to be put on high alert and 2000 US troops have been deployed to Poland and Germany. Over 19 NATO war games have been planned for 2022 which will start this month, and even China is concerned that Biden’s “NATO-of-the-Pacific” agenda is seeking to enflame Taiwanese independence and absorb the rebellious island into the US military industrial complex.

When looking at Russian “red lines” from this standpoint and holding in mind the new form of a Eurasian Manifest Destiny emerging with Putin’s Far Eastern Vision, Polar Silk Road and China’s BRI, it is a rich irony that the spirit of John Quincy Adams’ security doctrine is alive in the world. Just not in the USA.

Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , and Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow. He is author of the ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series and Clash of the Two Americas. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation 

Read my earlier posts:

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

What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy for Ethiopia and 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 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.

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.

The U.S. Betrays Its Heritage by Threatening World War III Against Russia and China

Ben Franklin, scientist, philosopher, and statesman, who helped establish the republican principles that were and are the foundation of the United States of America

February 4, 2022

Please read this article by historian Anton Chaitkin, U.S. Betrays Its Heritage by Threatening World War III Against Russia and China, from pressenza.com. Read what Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and civil rights leader, Matlin Luther King said.

Mr. Chaitkin is a longtime colleague of mine who expresses the aspirations of many Americans, like me, who want to see the United States disseminate its profound founding principles, not provoke unnecessary war. We, the United States, at our core, are far superior to our current practice of resorting to war and sanctions as the primary means of conducting foreign policy.

“Americans who cherish our country’s legacy are horrified by our headlong rush to war. America at its best was the very motor of world progress, higher living standards and peace.

“That is our true national identity. We betray “the better angels of our nature” by making military threats against those who are advancing world powers, as we once were. We commit suicide when we dishonor historic agreements that keep the world safe from nuclear annihilation.”

Read the full article: U.S. Betrays Its Heritage by Threatening World War III Against Russia and China

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.