May 3, 2021 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 275

A Gradual Auctioning Of Africa To China

May 3, 2021 | By Nathaniel Luz*
Africa, North Africa, China | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 275

As what can be referred to as "the rush for African markets" unfolds, we must remember that Africa's historical subjection to foreign political dominance and economic subservience is a consequence of our leaders' indiscretion and shortsightedness in trading Africa away on the altar of so-called foreign aid and bilateral relations. It is saddening that this has been a prevalent narrative in most African nations, even as we begin to experience what can be called the "Chinese Power Play" in Africa.

Africa must learn that this "carrot and stick diplomacy" employed by foreign aid donors will only make us weaker and susceptible to abuse and misuse in the hands of her "savior nations." There is no better way to become stronger than to maintain the discipline of self-reliance and limited aid seeking.

Nathaniel Luz

Communist China Can Never Be The Solution To Africa's Aspirations Of Economic Prosperity

China has successfully portrayed to the whole world that it can be anywhere, go anywhere, and build dominance anywhere. They unarguably have their presence registered everywhere, but mainly in Africa. China does a lot to build relationships with countries in Africa. However, healthy relationships ought to be mutually beneficial, but the relationship between China and Nigeria is parasitic when considered deeply.

The African Union Building donated by the Chinese government should have served as enough warning to Africa's leaders to become wary of the "Greek gift" offered by the unreliable Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The question to ask after the African Union had discovered that Chinese hackers had accessed the computer systems of its Addis Ababa-based headquarters for five years and downloaded confidential material is: "Why does China possess data of meetings of African leaders, and what does it want to do with the data?"[1]

Regarding China's gifting one of Africa's most vital organizations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a $31.6 million grant to build a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, African leaders are again selling the continent at a low price to the future master in Asia.

The acceptance of China's Yuan in our currency reserve, especially in Nigeria, further strengthens the explanation of the power dynamics of China's far-reaching involvement in Africa's political and economic systems. This alarming rate of foreign dependence has only made Africa a pawn on the chessboard of global politics. It is common for world superpowers to use the "Africa piece" in making a statement about their political and economic strength. This is no different in the China-Africa relationship.

Communist China can never be the solution to Africa's aspiration to attain a state of economic prosperity. It is embarrassing for a country to even establish foreign ties with a whole continent and more disgraceful for a country to aid a whole continent. The underlying perception of such an event is a caricature of China-Africa neo-imperialism.

(Source: Facebook)

China Will Take Over The National Assets Nigeria Used As Collateral

Africa needs no aid of any kind, especially from a country whose altruistic motives are questionable. Africa needs a freer economy, dependent on its available resources and intelligently managed by its people. The consequence of feeding Africa with needless aid is being felt, with the steady but forceful diffusion of CCP propaganda into Africa's knowledge economy and massive Chinese investments into African countries. China's first overseas military base is also in Africa.[2] The result is that many African nations have a high level of indebtedness to China.

Nigeria's resources are not well managed, so there is always a need to get help from outside the country to stay afloat. The Nigerian government seeks loans from developed countries and has recently gotten lots of loans from China. Before these loans are given, Nigeria is asked to provide a national asset as collateral. The Nigerian government has taken so much financial aid from China and has used its national assets as collateral. If Nigeria cannot pay the loan within the agreed time period, China will take over the national asset Nigeria used as collateral, and China will have every legal right to bring their citizens into Nigeria to develop the assets they have acquired from the agreement they had with Nigeria.

As the days pass, what seemed at first like a symbiotic relationship will slowly become a parasitic relationship. Hence African countries must begin to become more self-reliant. Sadly, most African countries have reached out to China for financial assistance in terms of billions of dollars for infrastructural development and personal compensation. This will leave the coming generation in a well of debt whose use is unknown to them, thereby making our assets, iconic infrastructure, and high-flying value a mirage.

African Leaders Run To The Chinese Government's Feasts Of Modern Slavery

The countries in Africa with the most significant Chinese debt are Angola ($25 billion), Ethiopia ($13.5 billion), Kenya ($7.9 billion), the Republic of Congo ($7.3 billion), and Sudan ($6.4 billion).[3] We cannot overemphasize that it is almost impossible for African countries to repay their debts in the given time, considering what they have to do in budgeting for state development and growth. We have seen China taking over assets of debtor countries such as Zambia.

African leaders need to understand the results of "freebies." China's show of goodwill is an attempt to buy our future. Only minors expect to get value at no cost, only babies cry for help, and only slaves rejoice at free bread. Mother Africa mourns her children's auctioned future. Its leaders run in pants and ties to the Chinese government's feasts of modern slavery. Only fools borrow to pay a debt.

No amount of favors or gifts is enough to buy Africa's future, but our leaders are selling our present and future. What is left to redeem the "auctioned future" from the hands of the auctioneer? Heavily indebted Africa has given its natural endowments, such as oil, minerals, and land, as collateral for "loan traps." We know that Africa's future is not in its natural endowments but in the hand of its children – the Cheetah generation.[4] This generation could redeem black pride and turn the game around. Africa could rise again to take pride in its place. We need trade that will benefit our people, not foreign aid that will keep us in eternal debt.

*Nathaniel Luz is a Nigeria-based author and expert on African economic and political affairs. You can follow the author on Twitter @nathaniel_luz


[1] In 2018, the African Union officials have accused China of hacking its headquarters’ computer systems every night for five years and downloading confidential data. Beijing funded the AU’s $200m building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while a Chinese state-owned company built it., January 29, 2018. In December 2020, acting on a tip from Japanese cyber researchers, the African Union’s (AU) technology staffers discovered that a group of suspected Chinese hackers had rigged a cluster of servers in the basement of an administrative annex to quietly siphon surveillance videos from across the AU’s sprawling campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital., December 16, 2020.

[2], August 1, 2017.

[3], October 2, 2018.

[4] Ghanaian economist and renowned political thinker George Ayittey defines the "Cheetah Generation" as follows: "The Cheetah Generation refers to the new and angry generation of young African graduates and professionals, who look at African issues and problems from a totally different and unique perspective. They are dynamic, intellectually agile, and pragmatic. They may be the 'restless generation' but they are Africa's new hope. They brook no nonsense about corruption, inefficiency, ineptitude, incompetence, or buffoonery. They understand and stress transparency, accountability, human rights, and good governance. They also know that many of their current leaders are hopelessly corrupt and that their governments are contumaciously dysfunctional and commit flagitious human rights violations...", September 6, 2010.

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