They had a party last week in Beijing. Even Putin was invited.
In fact, over 100 leaders went to the same party. It was billed as a forum to celebrate a decade since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched. But actually, this little soirée was really about China sending out a message about global leadership.
How quaint. China have climbed onto a soapbox and told the world they’ve spent a trillion dollars building bridges, dams, railway systems and road for countries who’ve been too poor to do it for themselves. And tech. They’ve provided Lots of tech. Isn’t that wonderfully kind and generous of them?
There are 52 African countries which are signatories to this initiative. How many of them will receive bridges, dams, railway systems and roads is unclear. But what’s clear is how many will fall into the neo-feudalism of debt trap diplomacy, if they haven’t already. (Feudalism is making a big comeback, by the way, check this out.) Djibouti’s debt to China is now 20% of their GDP. The majority of other African countries are in debt to the tune of around 10% of their GDP.
These countries cannot possibly pay back the interest, let alone the original investment.
No Cash? No Problem!
“That’s okay, we don’t just accept cash. We’ll take your mineral wealth. No problem.” And then Xi Jinping salutes them at the party with the finest sparkling wine with grapes from South Africa in an exquisite crystal champagne flute loving crafted in a factory in Uganda. China celebrates, indeed!
It’s not as if the African countries are complaining, mind you. The various leaders are delighted to be able to give ‘their people’ an infrastructure that looks like a developed nation. They’re celebrating as China celebrates. When it’s time to pay the piper, however, they default and give away their natural wealth, without ‘their people’ even knowing about it.
And when that natural wealth in Africa includes figures like 92% of the world’s palladium, 90% of the world’s platinum, 82% of the world’s gold, 75% of the world’s diamonds, to name a few, well. You can understand why this country has been shackled by the rampant plundering which has taken place in the last two hundred years. With leaders who are complicit with this recolonization, one wonders if Africa will ever be able to rise off its knees.
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