Last week, I was shocked to read an article by Dambisa Moyo titled- China HELPS Africa to Develop. It was the most frustrating and patronising article I have ever read about Africa's development.
Nevertheless, the article prompted me to reflect once more about Africa's development. What has gone wrong with the most naturally enriched continent? Why is the most endowed continent also the most patronised, the poorest in reality, and the most fed with AID. Something must have gone wrong.
Three questions are inevitable. What is missing in Africa's development process that made her vulnerable to slavery, "legitimate trade", colonial exploitation, exploitation by multinational companies, massive capital flight, and now further exploitation and humiliation by China? What is common among the present and past exploiters of Africa? What differentiates China from these external invaders/exploiters that made people like Dambisa Moyo to now refer to China as African Helper?
According to Jeffery Sachs - before industrial revolution, the whole world economy was relatively at par. No part of the world was far richer than the other, and none was poor or underdeveloped in relation to others as we know it today. In other words industrial revolution was the game changer. But game changer for who, when and how?
Even Karl Marx agreed that industrial revolution that transformed scientific knowledge to technology led to the creation of massive capital. Since industrial revolution in 18th century, we now know that technology tills the land, builds the roads, bridges, rails, (infrastructure); extracts and processes natural resources; and confers power to rule, dominate, exploit, and expropriate on any group, or nation that cares to embrace it. "Technological innovations often fuelled by governments, drive industrial growth and help raise living standards".
Most nations/continents realised this simple but complex fact on time, and have adopted, adapted, downloaded and even stole all the technological apps and manuscripts emanating from industrial revolution in England. These nations further redeveloped the magic of the steam engine.
First, nearly all the countries in Europe copied from England; then the great diffusion of technology manuscripts to USA. Asian countries including the ones normally referred as tigers followed. They include India, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Mr Deng Xiaoping, the reformist Chinese leader, made sure that China was not left out, hence in 1978, steered China towards a techno market economy. The result of Deng's efforts changed the world power balance. China became a political economic monster, with huge capital ready for re-investment and exploitation of places like Africa.
Chinese Industrial revolution now accords China the power to exploit and dominate and not to HELP.
This is why China is in Africa. Africa represents the only world's continent available and ready to be exploited because her leaders have refused to neither join the league of down loaders of technology apps and manuscripts, nor create the right environment for their people to do so. So China is not in Africa to HELP Africa. She is in Africa to do to Africa what Europe and America have always done to Africa. China is neither a friend, foe, nor partner in development with Africa. She is simply obeying the rules of techno- capitalism- exploit and dominate.
The history of world's political economy is the history of exploitation and domination. There is no country or continent that uses its technology generated capital to HELP another. Techno Capitalist dictionary has no HELP in it. This is not how the game works. Capital is always re-invested for greater exploitation, and the aim is always to re-invest in countries/continents that have shown hopelessness, inability, impotence, and lack of will to help themselves.
Unfortunately, the only CAPITAL being invested by Africa in other continents are her billions of dollars stolen by her dubious leaders.
China is in Africa to exploit Africa's natural resources, as Africa fails to download available appps and manuscripts that would have helped her to extract and process her own resources. It is not just about what is happening in Africa via China, but about the revolution and change still taking place right inside China. China overtook United States as the World's highest Co2 emitter in 2005. In 2010, while China emitted 8,286,892.0 Kt of Co2, USA emitted 5,433,056 Kt of Co2; (2,853,836 Kt) more than USA. "Carbon dioxide emissions are those stemming from the burning of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement. They include carbon dioxide produced during consumption of solid, liquid, and gas fuels and gas flaring" (World Bank). This further tells the whole story. China needs African solid, liquid, and gas fuels, to fuel her industries back home, and not in Africa to HELP Africa. This is not rocket science.
The only revolution still waiting to happen in the world is the African industrial revolution. This is the revolution that will keep every continent to itself, or get them to collaborate on equal basis, mutual respect, and partnership. While Africa is not being detected in the world technology radar, she is very visible in every corruption index.
The most worrying bad news is that Africa (especially, south of the Sahara) is not making any serious efforts to endogenously create her own tech manuscripts and apps to pull her from subservience. Out of the 4,075,279 trade mark applications filed in the world in 2012 not a single one emanated from Africa South of the Sahara; and out of the 2,170,132 patent applications filed in same period throughout the world, none came from Africa South of the Sahara. How will Africa find its footing in world's techno-political economy with this level of progress?
Until African leaders begin to download western technological applications and manuscripts, she will continue to be subservient to others. African leaders should start creating Africa's tech zones, start speeding up the catch up and diffusion, and commence adopting, adapting tech apps and manuscripts. If they don't, even other Asian tigers like Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia would start trying their hands on the sleeping giant.
Chinese presence in Africa is for exploitation and expropriation- period.
Austin Aneke is the founder of www.june12post.com and Editor of UK Immigrant Magazine