South Africa and China Articulate Principles for Global Development at United Nations

Minister Naledi Pandor of South Africa speaking before the UNGA (courtesy of voaafrica.com),

September 27, 2022

In her address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21, Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for South Africa, made an invaluable contribution. While many speakers at the assembly discussed important topics, she, along with Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, identified economic development as the crucial principle that the UNGA has to address. (See excerpts of their remarks below).

Unfortunately, the majority of leaders throughout the world have failed to understand the essentiality of promoting economic development as a strategic solution to war, and insecurity, and the only pathway to achieving lasting peace. Leaders of the West, especially from the U.S. , have failed to grasp this elementary concept elaborated by John Paul VI, when he wrote, development is the new name for peace. (1)

Unlike the last four generations of U.S. presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, did understand that the policy of promoting economic development is a strategic means of obtaining peace in the world. President Roosevelt organized for the creation of the United Nations (UN) as an integral component of his post war Grand Design, which most emphatically included the dismantling of the British empire. His proposed composition of nations to lead the UN, (U.S. Russia, China, and Great Britain) was an attempt to isolate the British and their imperialist policies. President Roosevelt discussed with his son, his vision for the UN, which was coherent with his intent of the Atlantic Charter and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. To wit: improving conditions of life in underdeveloped nations by fostering economic growth. He said to Elliott,

“These great powers will have to assume the task of bringing education, raising the standards of living, improving health conditions—of all the backward depressed areas of the world.”

Tragically for the world, President Roosevelt died before the inauguration of the UN, and the small minded, easily manipulated, Harry Truman, became U.S. President. In a brief time after assuming office, President Truman, embracing the diseased British geopolitical mindset, negated President Roosevelt’s vision to construct a better world with all nations participating in progress and prosperity. Civilization has paid dearly for the reversal of President Roosevelt’s paradigm.

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill discussing the Atlantics Charter at the Argentia conference.

Minister Pandor Echoes Roosevelt

In her presentation before the UNGA, Minister Pandor said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Eastern Europe shape our attitudes today; however, for South Africa, the real inflection point will be the world attending fully to the needs of the marginalized  and forgotten.

Our greatest global challenges are poverty, inequality, joblessness and feeling excluded… addressing poverty and underdevelopment will be the beginnings of the real inflection point in human history.

Global solidarity is also required to meet other pressing challenges such as energy and food insecurity, climate change and the devastation caused by conflicts, including the existential threat of nuclear weapons.

Instead of working collectively to address these challenges, we have grown further apart as geopolitical tensions and mistrust permeate our relations.

We should, however, move forward in solidarity, united in efforts to address our common global challenges to ensure sustainable peace and development.” (Emphasis added).

To read full transcript on Minister Pandor’s presentation at the UNGA: Click here.

Eliminate Poverty

In his address before the UNGA on September 24, Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, echoed the theme of peace through development, highlighting the importance of eliminating poverty. He told the assembly,

“We must pursue development and eliminate poverty.

Development holds the key to resolving difficult issues and delivering a happy life to our people. We should place development at the center of the international agenda, build international consensus on promoting development, and uphold all countries’ legitimate right to development. We should foster new drivers for global development, forge a global development partnership, and see that everyone in every country benefits more from the fruits of development in a more equitable way.

China has been a contributor to global development…China is a pacesetter in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has met the poverty reduction goal ten years ahead of the envisioned timeframe and accounts for 70 percent of the gains in global poverty reduction. It has provided development aid to more than 160 countries in need, and extended more debt-service payments owed by developing countries than any other G20 member state.” (Emphasis added).

To read the full transcript of Minister Wang Yi: Click here

(1) Encyclical , Populorium progressio, March 26, 1967.

Read my earlier posts:

British Colonial Legacy Still Plaguing African Nations Today

Roosevelt: Last Great American Statesman With A Grand Vision for Africa

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 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

Are External Forces Emboldening the TPLF to Launch “Permanent War” Against Ethiopia?

“There’re elites who want to manipulate Ethiopia’s policies,” Lawrence Freeman, Political-Economic Analyst for Africa

Read interview: Ethiopian Herald,  September 3, 2022 

Lawrence Freeman is a well-known 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. Over the years, he has been an outspoken critic of western intervention in Ethiopian internal political affairs, he is known for his strong commentary and opinion in relation with the TPLF-provoked war in Ethiopia. The political and economist analyst has sat down with The Ethiopian Herald’s Worku Belachew on WhatsApp, to talk about Ethiopia’s current and wide-range of affairs. The following is the excerpt of the full interview.

I really appreciate your willingness for this interview. Previously, the terrorist TPLF confiscated humanitarian trucks and they used it for war purposes. But the international community’s response seems very weak. What do you comment on this?

Well, the international community’s response is very weak. They have made some comments on it. But this is because the United States and the West in particular do not want to see the TPLF defeated, disarmed and basically pacified, that made passive, they want to keep the TPLF. And this whole question of ethnic nationalism, which is a false concept. They want to keep that alive as a permanent feature, to continue to undermine the government of Prime Minister Abiy.

This is a way of destabilizing the country, and keeping it on defensive and preventing it from moving forward. And therefore, they continued arming, or allowing the TPLF to be armed. This means that the TPLF can continually make military campaigns into other parts of Ethiopia. And therefore, Ethiopia could be under conditions of permanent warfare, where they are permanently under attack than ceasefire, then attack by the TPLF. And this will destabilize the nation if not lead to further destruction of the nation of Ethiopia.

So what purpose do those elements as you’ve mentioned serve with their path of destruction?

If you understand the larger context of the international forces, from the very beginning of the conflict, going back to November 2020, the State Department and the United States government and then more emphatically, after President Biden took office in January, with Secretary Blinken, as head of the State Department, they continually attacked the Ethiopian government sanctioned, removed from AGOA accused of human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing genocide, none of which were ever proven.

There were just accusations developed by the media which the US government adopted. So this has been going on for almost two years now. And you have certain geopolitical forces oligarchical political financial elite, that don’t want to see a stable Ethiopia, they want to see a weakened Ethiopia. And they want to see an Ethiopia that is not fully in control of its own policies. These international political elites can manipulate the situation, control the situation and have policies that they want them in place.

Back in January of 2021, they have allowed this conflict to spread; they have supported the TPLF through giving blind eyes to their crimes. On the flipside, they attack the elected government of Ethiopia. The TPLF is getting support and encouragement to continue these actions. And they will continue these actions until they are disarmed.

There are reports coming out on child soldiers recruited, trained and deployed for war purposes by the terrorist TPLF. Various organizations that claim to work for human rights protection are soft on the issues. Why are they soft on these issues in your opinion?

The human rights’ organizations are not honest. They use human rights as a weapon, just like the State Department, is using democracy as a weapon to maintain the geopolitical control of the Horn of Africa and Africa as a whole. They are not concerned about human rights. They are concerned about packing and labeling various forces as violators of human rights. And therefore, there’s no honesty and there’s no integrity in their evaluation. They can see obvious crimes, such as the one you’re mentioning of child soldiers, but they are not interested in dealing with that problem, identifying that problem, because they have a different agenda.

In fact, some people have called the human rights organizations, “the Human Rights mafia”, or “human rights imperialist”, because human rights have become a political weapon. It is not an actual honest evaluation of human rights violation. For example, if you are concerned about human rights, then you will be concerned about the right to people to live, to economically have opportunities for the growth of the economy so that a human right is the right of food, is the right to eat, is the right to have electricity.

None of these human rights groups support that. They simply choose and pick and choose when they want to make a propaganda issue that is used to attack a particular government or a particular organization. They are not real in my view, I do not accept them as honest or authoritative, and how they determine human rights abuses.

Most in the international community were condemning the humanitarian fuel theft. But could they go even farther than condemning this act, just making TPLF accountable for this humanitarian atrocity?

Well, it is very serious. The fact that the TPLF apparently, I cannot verify every fact but, they took over half a million liters of fuel, and are using it for their own purposes. Now, they took the fuel from the World Food Program, which is a very serious offense, because the WFP, whose director is David Beasley, is a very important organization in terms of supplying food to areas around the world where people are suffering. And therefore, moving fuel from their warehouses or their depots is very serious. It undermines and undercuts a fairly important initiative; I think the WFP is part of the United Nations as well. So this is very serious, and indicates the fact that the TPLF is not going to give up, they are continuing to maintain their aggressive policy.

Now, I do not believe that they think even that they can win the conflict. That is they cannot overthrow the government of Ethiopia. But they want to weaken the government. And they want to establish a permanent capability of attacking the government. There are outside forces, which in the region, and outside of Africa, who are manipulating the perverted mindset of the TPLF, that they have a nation of Tigray.

There is only one nation as Ethiopia, but they are claiming that their region is a nation and they have a right to be owned and defended. My view is, without encouragement and support, that the TPLF would not launch these kinds of reckless, damaging campaigns. And until they are stopped, I believe they will continue this process. And this will become a permanent destabilization of the nation of Ethiopia and prevent Ethiopia from realizing its aspiration, which are identified, typified by what they have done with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia wants to develop economically. But, it is being held back by the permanent war mentality of the Ethno nationalist TPLF.

Some commentators say the western community in general lacks proper understanding as to the prevailing condition in Ethiopia, particularly the fact that taxes they are paying are channeled through aid organizations are being repurposed for war by the TPLF. Do you buy the argument?

The overwhelming majority of Americans has no understanding of much of what goes on in Africa, and have no understanding of what is going on in Ethiopia. I mean, at the beginning of the conflict, going back to November and December of 2020, January, February, March of 2021, the media, led by CNN, but all the media launched a massive propaganda campaign. That is what the American public heard over and over. They also repeated and acted on foolishly by President Joe Biden. So they only know what they read in immediate. And otherwise, they know very little about what is going on extremely little. In fact, the United States, American culture has shrunk. And we no longer think about the rest of the world, we no longer have a vision for development of poor countries in Africa and other countries.

The concept that we used to have had many decades ago, even under John F. Kennedy, was to help these countries and to assist them in development. But we no longer have that concern. And USAID does provide a lot of food and other assistance. But that is not sufficient. That is not going to change in Africa.

We need actual economic development, investment in infrastructure, electricity, where roads food production, which China is doing some and other countries are doing some, but the United States is doing nothing. And the human right is a means of political control. It is not intended to actually uplift the population out of poverty. So the American people really know nothing about what is happening in this external world or know nothing about how the United States policy is functioning. I am an expert in the area. And I know the United States is not interested in a stable Ethiopia and is not interested in helping Ethiopia and other nations develop their industrial manufacturing and agricultural capabilities.

What is your message for some silent and sober voices in the US, including the majority of Americans and those in the Congress who want peace to prevail in the Horn of Africa so that the US interest is also protected?

Well, unfortunately, we do not have a good understanding of what the US interest is. It is been perverted over many administrations, both Republicans and Democrats.

And if we do not take action now, then Africa will be inundated maybe with a billion young people who will not have jobs, who will see a potential for future in the country. And this becomes a very dangerous problem for the society. But the interest of the United States people and the interest of the United States government are to develop African nations, we should be committing long term credit, billions of dollars to build where we are connecting the continent, we should be investing in real productive energy such as nuclear energy across the African continent.

But the United States leadership has lost any understanding of what our true interest is in the world. The government of the United States is dominated by geo political thinking, how do we and the West remain on top in the world, they view the world is fixed. And there are winners and losers. And you can see it in the strategy for Africa paper that just came out from the administration. You can see it, Secretary Blinken visit, everything we’re doing in Africa, is designed to maintain our hegemony or attempt to maintain our hegemony against Russia and in particular, against China.

The American population is poorly educated, and has a poor understanding of what the true self interest of the United States is in Africa, because Africa is thriving, industrialized economies that become a major market for our advanced, technologically advanced capital goods sector. That will increase the job growth in the United States, it would raise the standard of living in United States, as well as raise the standard of living in Africa. But this is not understood. We are not concerned about alleviating the suffering of African people. What we care about is maintaining geopolitical control.

Let me make it my last question. Regarding multilateral organizations, including the UN, WHO chief is abusing his position and implicitly and explicitly throwing support behind TPLF. What is your take on this?

Well, yes, this is very serious. There is a report that the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres was involved and one or more private discussions with the TPLF. Finally, if that is true, and it appears it is, this is a very serious problem. TPLF is carrying out a treasonous war to overthrow the government, the elected government, the democratically elected government of the Prosperity Party, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. So, why would a secretary general of the UN be discussing with a militant armed militia who is trying to overthrow a government of Ethiopia and Ethiopia is a long standing member of the United Nations organization, how is that possible?

There should be no discussions. Certainly, there should be no private discussions. Ethiopia is a nation state, a member of the United Nations. TPLF is an armed militia that is trying to overthrow a government of a member state of the United Nations.

There has to be investigation, what was discussed on these calls? And why are private discussions going on with groups trying to overthrow a member state? And we also have to question Dr. Tedros’s comments as an official of the World Health Organization which is associated with the United Nations. How is it possible that he continues to make comments in support of the TPLF when he is representing himself as one of the most powerful international organizations? These are very serious problems and have to be fully investigated, because that they do show exactly what had been discussing that there is a very pronounced tool in the international community in support of the TPLF and undermining the government of the nation state of Ethiopia.

Thank you very much, Mr. Lawrence.

Please watch (below) my half hour interview on Addis Media Network from September 1, 2022,

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.

Is Democracy Being Weaponized Against Russia and China in new US-Africa Strategy?

September 2, 2022

Please watch my provocative interview (click above) on the Lambom Show, conducted by Lambert Mbom, on the subject of the the new US-Africa Strategy, released by U.S. State Department on August 8, 2022. In our hour long discussion, we go into depth about the implications of President Biden’s policy for the lives of Africans. My contention is that the U.S. strategy is seriously flawed because it focus on imposing western democracy does not serve the interest of Africans, who desperately need assistance in improving their abysmal conditions of life. This will require billions of dollars of investment credits in infrastructure to facilitate the development of industrialized African nations, which is not part of this strategy. Unfortunately, rather than addressing seriously the requirements for economic development, Biden’s strategy for Africa, like that of his predecessors, is couched in the geopolitical framework of maligning Russia and China. Lambert and I agreed that a renaissance of new ideas for the development of Africa is needed.

Read my earlier post: Blinken Implores for West’s “Rules Based Order”-South Africa & Rwanda Push Back

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.

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.

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.

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

Nigeria and Ghana making nuclear power part of their future

A nuclear power plant

A nuclear power plant

March 12, 2021

It is essential that African nations advance their plans to build nuclear plants as part of their energy grid. That is why the efforts of Nigeria and Ghana should be hailed as progress for the continent. Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

The lack of energy is killing more Africans that any other cause of death. My estimate is that the nations of Africa should acquire at least 1,000 gigawatts-1,000,000 megawatts-of electrical power to raise the standard of living of the populations to that of a modern industrialized society. Nuclear energy must be an increasing share of the continent’s energy generation.

Construction and operation of nuclear energy will also elevate the skill level of the domestic workforce. Nuclear energy complexes will serve as  training centers for skilled workers, engineers and scientists to operate a higher level of technology.

Energy is an indispensable element of the infrastructure platform that every nation requires to expand its economy. Energy poverty sustains poverty because electricity

Energy is vital for:

  1. industrialization
  2. manufacturing
  3. agricultural & agricultural processing
  4. transportation,
  5. schools
  6. hospitals
  7. vaccine production and distribution
  8. homes  
  9. elimination poverty & hunger

Let us encourage more African nations to expand their energy grid with nuclear power

Nigeria invites bids as it prepares to construct its first nuclear power plant, amid security concerns

Busineess Insider Africa

EMMANUEL ABARA BENSON March 2, 2022 10:41 AM

  • The nuclear power plant is projected to become Nigeria’s largest power plant and could potentially solve the country’s electricity challenges.
  • However, there are have been concerns about the country’s ability to manage a nuclear power plant, considering its peculiar security challenges.
  • Note that the bidding process is very critical to any nuclear power project, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Nigerian Government said it has commenced the bidding process in preparation for the construction of a 4000 megawatts nuclear power plant in the country.

The Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Dr Yau Idris, disclosed this while speaking during the Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja, yesterday. According to him, the nuclear power plant is projected to become Nigeria’s largest power plant, and could significantly improve the West African country’s power generation capacity.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns about Nigeria’s ability to manage a nuclear power plant, considering the delicate nature of such a project as well as the country’s peculiar security situation. Dr Idris addressed these concerns during his speech, stressing that it is wrong for anyone to assume that Nigeria’s is incapable of managing a nuclear project.

“There are mechanisms put in place that ensure any country can build a nuclear power plant. Nigeria is trying to deliver 4,000MW of electricity through nuclear power. We are trying to construct four units and we are at the bidding stage,” he was quoted by local media to have said.

It should be noted that the bidding process is very critical to any nuclear power project. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) titled “Invitation and Evaluation of Bids for Nuclear Power Plants”, detailed the requirements and processes for ensuring a successful bid.

“The development of a nuclear programme is a major undertaking requiring attention to many complex and interrelated tasks over a long duration. One of them is the bidding process, which includes the development of bid invitations specifications, the evaluation of bids and the contracting with the successful bidder (contractor). The necessary infrastructure should be developed to the point of readiness for a bidding process to acquire a nuclear power plant (NPP). Therefore, the preparatory phase preceding the bidding process includes numerous activities, such as but not limited to, energy system planning, siting and feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment, development of nuclear related legislation, financing, organization of the regulatory authority, etc,” part of the report said.

Nigeria is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and as such is required to strictly adhere to the requirements for bids. And ultimately, the goal is to ensure that the successful bidder (i.e., the winning contractor) has all it takes to enable the licensing, construction, commissioning and operation of a nuclear power plant.

https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/nigeria-invites-bids-as-it-prepares-to-construct-its-first-nuclear-power-plant/tdn7nn2

Ghana looks to small modular reactor technology for nuclear deployment

ESI Africa

ByTheresa SmithMar 9, 2022

network resilience
[SERZ72] © 123RF.COM

The US and Ghana will partner under the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) to support the West African country’s foray into the nuclear sector.

The FIRST programme, led by the US Department of State, will support Ghana’s adoption of small modular reactor (SMR) technology. This includes support for stakeholder engagement, advanced technical collaboration and project evaluation and planning. Japan has been a valuable partner with the US on the FIRST programme and will build on its existing partnership with Ghana to advance Ghana’s civil nuclear power aspirations.

Have you read?
US and Ghana sign memorandum with a focus on nuclear

Speaking at a virtual launch of the programme, US Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan said clean, reliable and safe nuclear energy could provide significant benefits to the people of Ghana, including clean energy, agricultural improvements, clean water and advanced medical treatment. “Next-generation nuclear energy, like what we’re working on today, must be part of the solution,” said Sullivan.

According to Ghana’s Minister of Energy Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the decision to include nuclear power in the nation’s energy mix has led to establishing Nuclear Power Ghana Limited as an Owner Operator and project developer. The FIRST Programme will help Ghana develop the competencies of the Nuclear Power Ghana Limited to build and operate safely Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.

From the archives
The drive for an African nuclear energy market

Drawing on 60 years of US experience working with nuclear energy, the FIRST programme provides capacity-building support to partner countries as they develop their nuclear energy programmes. To date, the US Department of State has announced $7.3 million to support FIRST projects around the world.

Professor Samuel Boakye Dampare, Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission the capacity building activities are meant to strengthen their national technical support organisation. “For us regulators, our success will be a very stringent, logical and transparent licensing regime that emphases safety throughout the lifetime of our future power plants(s), whether SMRs or larger reactors,” said Dampare.

Initial training in Ghana during 2022 will focus on stakeholder engagement, licensing and regulatory development, financing, workforce development and nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation.

https://lnkd.in/gKAH-teY

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.

Ethiopia Must Exert Its National Sovereignty From U.S. Sanctions

February 21, 2022

Watch my video above.

Perhaps, it is fitting that on the U.S. holiday–“Presidents Day”–that I, as an American, should be demanding that my President, Joe Biden, stop threatening Ethiopia with more sanctions. Geopolitical doctrine requires U.S. control of the vitally important water way along the East Coast of Africa. U.S. geopolitics cannot allow strategy for the Horn of Africa to be decided by independent minded African leaders such as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Eritrea President, Isaias Afwerki. President Biden and the U.S. State Department under Antony Blinken will demand concessions from PM Abiy as they talk of resuming a cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Ethiopia. At the same time, they will allow the US Congress to threaten Ethiopia with more disgusting sanctions in HR6600, if Ethiopia does not make concessions. It is known as the “soft cop-hard cop” approach. Ethiopia should exercise its sovereignty and chart a path for the development of its nation. The operation of the first turbine of the GERD producing 375 megawatts of electricity, portends the right direction.

Review news coverage below

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.