Nigerian President Buhari Wants Europe, and US to Help Recharge Lake Chad

President Buhari is right and should be commended for requesting that Europe and the United States help in recharging the shrinking Lake Chad, which is at 2,000 square kilometers-less than 10% of its area in 1963.  At the Abuja conference to Save Lake Chad in February, organized by President Buhari, the Transaqua inter-basin water transfer project was adopted as the solution to saving Lake Chad.  Transaqua is a transformative water infrastructure project that would connect the nations of the Great Lakes and the Lake Chad Basin through a 2,400 kilometer canal. Thus creating a new platform for expanded trade and commerce between these economies. Unlike the US and Europe politicians, who feign concern about the migrant crisis, President Buhari and other African leaders understand that the best way to prevent Africans from risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean is; to create economic growth in the Sahel/Sahara. After decades of inaction, the Italian government has given the Lake Chad Basin Commission 1.5 million Euros to begin a feasibility study by Bonifica, the Italian engineering company that created the Transaqua design over 35 years ago.  I have advocated the Transaqua project for over 20 years, and was able to discuss it with then President-elect Buhari a few days after his election in March 2015. It is most unfortunate that with the single exception of the current Italian government, Western leaders have failed to invest in major infrastructure projects like Transaqua that will generate economic growth in African nations. Let us hope that Western institutions act appropriately to President Buhari ‘s request to help recharge Lake Chad; a vital body of water in Africa’s desert. 

Buhari Wants Europe, US to Help Recharge Lake Chad

President Buhari
  • It would be the greatest western investment in Africa

By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said the greatest investment Europe and the United States could make in Africa now was to help in accomplishing inter-basin water transfer to recharge the Lake Chad.

Receiving the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, in the State House, Buhari recalled how the Lake Chad had served as the source of livelihood for millions of West African citizens in the past.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president listed countries which benefitted immensely from the lake in its productive years as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

The president, according to the statement, also noted that Lake Chad  had now shrunk to 10 per cent of its initial size as a result of the huge impact of climate change.

He was quoted as saying, “People who depended on the Lake for fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and many others, have been thrown into dire straits.

“That is one of the reasons youths now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to seek greener pastures in Europe. But helping to recharge Lake Chad will help a great deal in curbing irregular migration.”

The statement added that Buhari observed that the size of Nigeria and resources available there-in placed a lot of responsibilities on the country’s shoulders and pledged that the country would continue to fulfill its obligations to the African Union (AU).

Adesina further quoted the president as saying, “At all international fora, we emphasise the matter of Lake Chad. We also talk about the influx of small arms from the Sahel, which worsens the security situation between herders and stagnant farmers. We will keep the issues on the front burners.”

Furthermore, the statement added that Mahamat, in his remarks, praised Buhari, saying his leadership has been good for Nigeria, the AU, and Africa in general.

“He added that the next AU summit would look into the reform of the AU Commission, positioning the AU and Africa in the world, Single Air Transport Market, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and other issues,” the statement added.

Read:  Save Lake Chad With Transaqua: Presidents Roosevelt and Nkrumah Would Concur, by Lawrence Freeman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Europe Must Address Poverty in Africa to Deal With Migration Crisis


Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

The just-concluded EU Summit on migration has come up with measures like securing centers for migrants to process asylum claims, strengthening external border controls, and boosting financing for Turkey and countries in North Africa. But these are old solutions to old problems.

Since 2015, the EU has been working at full capacity to overcome the migration crisis. EU member states received over 1.2 million first-time asylum applications in 2015, more than double that of the previous year. But it seems that the European continent is still working in the same old way to try to prevent the entry of immigrants and not to address the causes of migration. Even if we assume these measures bring success in reducing immigration for some time, the EU will later be surprised when migrants use other means and methods to migrate, because the causes of migration still exist.

The root of migration is poverty. The African continent has suffered occupation and war for many decades. Many African countries have not yet been able to achieve the path of reform and development. This has put the people of these countries under unbearable pressure from poverty, ignorance and disease. They have pushed themselves into the abyss and tried to cross the border to reach Europe. They have faced danger and horror, believing a chance at a better future is worth dying for, if necessary.

With the emergence of the new system of globalization, the world became a small village and Africans opened their eyes to the luxury and good life enjoyed by Europeans, which inspired them to move to these countries. The majority of people from African countries continue to blame European countries for their backwardness and believe they should shoulder their responsibilities toward Africa. As a result of the failure of European countries to play the role that the African people were waiting for, these masses migrated to Europe to try to gain these rights. Europe, when dealing with refugees, looks at them from a perspective of human logic or empathy and does not view migration as a symptom of a disease. European countries must change their thinking and strategy to deal with the disease in order to make the causes of migration disappear.

It is time for Europe to look at the Chinese experience in Africa. The Chinese policy has  always focused on development. Economic relations between Africa and China have grown enormously, especially since 2006. The African continent is playing an important role in the Belt and Road initiative. China provides infrastructure funding and a workforce, and this infrastructure allows Africa to increase its production and exports, improving the quality of life and improving the conditions of millions of Africans.

Hope is the solution. The people of the African continent need hope. At least this last summit has come out with some words about more investment in Africa to help the continent achieve a substantial socio-economic transformation. China has been focusing on African development for a long time and has seen the results. The EU should work closely with China to push for the B&R to fight poverty in Africa and promote development. (emphasis added)

He Wenping is a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute in China, and Hisham Abu Bakr Metwally is the first economist researcher at the Central Department for Export & Import Policy under the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

 

China’s Global Times Highlights Flaws of US and Europe Policy Towards Africa

By Mark Kapchanga
June 26, 2018

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

On June 18 in Michigan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed a meeting under the umbrella of the Detroit Economic Club. In a question that seemed to have made him a tad uncomfortable, the secretary of state was informed that Africa appeared to be evolving and transforming rapidly, and further, China was asserting itself in the continent.

He rightly confirmed that Africa is facing two issues. One is extremist groups threatening to tear apart the continent’s fabric of unity. But the second issue is the opportunities that lie in Africa. It is here that Pompeo seems to have stained his otherwise well researched address to the people of Michigan. With obvious jealousy that is always expected from Western countries against China’s foray into Africa, Pompeo downgraded Africa’s growth potential that is underpinned by significant Chinese investments and trade by saying that Africa will see actual growth with a Westernized model of development.

He meant that the foundation for growth in Africa is the rule of law and property rights. In his usual way of disparaging China, Pompeo further claimed that Chinese trade and investments are about exercising political influence in Africa.

African countries and their leaders have grown sick and tired of such stereotyped thoughts coming from Western nations. History has proved that America and European countries are behind Africa’s underdevelopment. They not only colonized Africa but also stripped it of resources and displaced people from their lands.

This is described by Walter Rodney in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa where he argues that the short period of colonialism and its negative consequences for Africa spring mainly from the fact that the continent lost power. Rodney notes that power is the ultimate determinant in human society, and implies that one should have the ability to defend one’s interests and if necessary impose one’s will by any means available.

There is no doubt that when the question of power emanates, it determines one’s bargaining power, the degree to which a people survive as a physical and cultural entity. But as Rodney vividly says, “when one society finds itself forced to relinquish power entirely to another society, that in itself is a form of underdevelopment.”

Instead of Western powers always complaining about China’s presence in Africa, they should transform and improve their strategies for the continent. The old template they applied to Africa is already stale. Africa cannot be developed through conditionalities that only massage the whims of America and Europe.

Through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Europe and America bullied African countries for more than three decades. Those nations seeking access to the General Account of the Fund had to commit themselves to explicit conditions regarding the conduct of their international policies.

Ultimately, African countries in need of financial support to boost their infrastructure, education and health failed to do so as the conditions were too tough. Globally, economists termed the conditions inefficient and mistargeted.

With the urge for greater development, China filled in the void. Its support to Africa has been less bureaucratic and almost without conditions.

As Pompeo and his fellow Western leaders continue complaining about China and its relations with Africa, youths in the continent are grinning having secured jobs in various projects being pursued by China. In Kenya, for instance, thousands of youths continue to earn an income from the construction of the standard gauge railway whose construction is now being extended from Nairobi to Naivasha.

The enormous investments China is pursuing in Addis Ababa have totally transformed the face of Ethiopia, a country once ranked among the poorest in the world. Today, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that can manufacture its own leather shoes, thanks to support from China. This is the kind of friendship Africa has been yearning for.

Africa’s development can only be shaped by Africans. Europe and the US can therefore involve African leaders in designing the kind of investments and relations that fit them. If they continue condemning China on its relations with Africa, the continent’s ties with Beijing will only get stronger and thrive all the more.

The author is an economist specializing in China-Africa relations. Twitter: @kapchanga opinion@globaltimes.com.cn