10 March 2010

Neocolonialism


An interesting article
today at Asia Times concerning Chinese investment in DR Congo and the IMF. It turns out the West used its clout it holds over the indebted nation to discipline it for daring to do business with the Chinese.
"An agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and China in 2008 to swap 10 million tonnes of copper ore for US$9 billion worth of mine and civic infrastructure looked like a genuine win-win."

"Nevertheless, the IMF declared that the China deal increased the DRC's potential foreign debt exposure to an unacceptable level and demanded that it be reduced in size. The IMF also made it clear that without a reduction in the deal it would not provide the necessary endorsements to the "Paris Club" that were needed to write off the DRC's debt."

"After a brief show of defiance, the DRC crumbled, agreeing to defer the second $3 billion infrastructure tranche."
Plenty of people are unsure about what a seemingly vague term like 'neocolonialism' even means and if there even is anything colonialist about it. Well here is an example of one aspect of it. Some of the richest countries in the world browbeating one of the poorest countries into declining a part of an offer from the Chinese - themselves not the wealthiest people around, but at the moment the only ones coming to Africa with genuine investment plans - that would have benefited both of them.

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