"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


whatcha bet kagame's been reading dambisa moyo?

Funny how Kagame apparently came around to this view after his Western donors clued into his shenanigans in the DRC and threatened to cut foreign aid:
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has praised the way China does business in Africa, criticising the West for basing relations with the continent on aid.

Huge Chinese investment in African companies and infrastructure is helping Africa develop, Mr Kagame said.

...Speaking to a German newspaper, Mr Kagame - seen in the West as one of Africa's more dynamic leaders - was as critical of the West as he was generous in praise of China.

"The Chinese bring what Africa needs: investment and money for governments and companies," he told business newspaper Handelsblatt.

"China is investing in infrastructure and building roads," he said, adding that European and American involvement "has not brought Africa forward".

..."I would prefer the Western world to invest in Africa rather than handing out development aid."
The thing is, Kagame's kindof right. Sure, the Chinese don't care how many human rights violations cooperative African governments have committed, or how many tons of minerals they've stolen from their neighbors, or how many donors they've duped. And the Chinese don't really bring jobs to African states since they mostly bring their own workers along to complete massive infrastructure projects, creating resentment among locals who can't find jobs in the formal sector because there aren't any.

But building roads and hospitals and shiny new parliament buildings is a real service. It makes economic development more possible, it makes the population healthier, and it sure as heck doesn't lead to billions of dollars of aid wasted on poorly conceived projects like providing camcorders for Congolese rape victims and building fish freezing plants to feed people who don't eat fish. It still creates dependency and gives China access to natural resources at prices one suspects are lower than market value, but it does help.

Let's start a pool. How long before there's a direct Kigali-Guangzhou flight to cut down on travel time for all those Chinese tarmac pourers? I'll take 2 years.


Blogger Rachel Strohm said...

The story goes that Kagame bought copies of Dead Aid for his entire cabinet after Moyo spoke in Kigali earlier this year.

Monday, October 12, 2009 5:27:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Well, of course he did.

Monday, October 12, 2009 8:02:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

texas in africa:

Has "Texas" actually been to Africa? - or have you just bought into the Human Rights Watch/NGO sob stories about how Rwanda/Kagame is the evil monster that went into Congo and caused all its problems? I know even you know better than that!- Take it from someone who has been there right at the border - Congo's problems have existed since the '70's funny how all of a sudden a country that had to defend itself from mass murderers who run into the Congo - remember that part? It is very convenient to have selective amnesia about the genocide of 1994 as if suddenly all those killers just went "poof" into a cloud of smoke and disappeard! - Canadian, Lebanese and Belgian/French Corporations have been entrenched in the Congo for years and mined every part of the Geca Mines and Mbuji Mayi mines for as long as I can remember! Do you know the kind of equipment and resources you need to mine? So, please do some homework and find out why groups like HRW cannot stand President Kagame and his unapologetic leadership - he refuses to be another basket case country that the western world has to come and "rescue" one more time with NGO offices and their SUV driving workers who spend more time at the downtown bars than they do "saving" anyone. Spare me the phony concern. Get the real story. By the way, Dambisa Moyo's book is brilliant and makes a good case diagnosing Africa's cancer. Now that an African - and a woman for that matter has made the case, you want to dismiss it as if it were nonsense? I wonder why.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 1:29:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Hello, anon, thanks for leaving a comment without bothering to read my bio or otherwise ascertain whether it's possible that I might know what I'm talking about. I have in fact lived in the Kivu provinces and seen firsthand many of the effects of Kigali's interventions in the Kivus.

As for the sources of my information, I have an extensive network of contacts in the region, the vast majority of whom are 1) actually Congolese and 2) not affiliated with Human Rights Watch or any other global human rights agency. I wrote a dissertation on the region for which I interviewed over 150 subjects, so I feel like I have some basis of expertise on these issues. I actually try to avoid interviewing expat sources as much as possible because they don't understand the situation nearly as well as do the people who've lived through it.

I have also spent a good amount of time in Rwanda and have watched the economic situation there improve significantly. Unfortunately, that economic development came at the cost of political freedom, and it's very clear to anyone who's in Rwanda for more than a few days that most of the rhetoric about reconciliation is only surface-deep. The lack of free expression, a free press, and competitive elections means that resentment of the Kagame regime is likely to bubble up in other ways. And I think that's bad for the Rwandan people, and for regional stability.

One would have to be willfully naive to claim that the Rwandans had no role in what has happened to the Kivus in the last fifteen years. Certainly the country has many other problems that had nothing to do with Rwanda's involvement there, but Rwanda's invasion and theft of minerals exacerbated what was already a bad situation.

You are, of course, free to disagree with my claims, but I'd prefer you do so with hard evidence rather than claims about Kagame's intentions and accusations that I don't know how to judge the situation for myself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:07:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Also, you don't need much mining equipment for the artisanal mining that's practiced in the Kivus. The mining in the Kivus is by and large not run by international corporations of any sort. Gecamines and the Mbuji-Mayi diamond mines are a LOOOONG way from the area. But I'm sure an expert such as yourself already knew that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:10:00 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home