Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bank of China president clashes with Western world over Africa

Li Rougo, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of China lashed at the developed world for insisting on African governments to be transparent at the expense of fast-tracking development in the region.

“We spend most of the time discussing issues such as transparency and good governance. And that would not help because they are part of a development process. I do not think that Britain was as transparent as it is today some 200 years ago, let alone the United States hundred years ago,” he said at the just ended World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

China, the fastest growing country in the world which has big interests in Africa, has come under attack from the developed countries of the west for giving financial assistance to African countries which are neither transparent nor have a good record of good governance.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard a fortnight ago, Britain’s Minister for Trade and Investment, Ian McCartney, accused China of assisting non transparent African states, adding that the country is likely to emerge as a new type of colonizer.

“What is important at this point is to promote development, raising the living standards and educating the people in Africa,” said Li Rougo. “We have different countries in Africa, different culture and I think we have to respect those things.”

The Export-Import Bank of China is currently funding more than 300 projects in Africa, including the Botswana Housing Corporation, to fast track the building of houses across the major centers of the country.

The projects include the building of sea ports, mining explorations, hospitals and highways, among others.

“World leaders from the developed countries have only expressed the hope and wish for development.

“The bank is prepared to help African people in a small way, wherever we can. I think we would like to help Africa to join globalization. The trend cannot be reversed because without Africa it would not be complete,” he added.

However, he said the African development story will have to be tailor-made on the African reality rather than be imposed.

He said that will have to be based on “tangible results for the people as the basis” rather than false promises.

“If you want to generate trade you have to develop otherwise there is no basis,” he said. “We do not think the talk about African aid can help if it does not translate into results.”


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