Today, there was an interesting thing coming through my feed that captured my eye. It was a headline from the Philippines News Agency. It was claiming that the Chinese was not making developing countries in debt slaves or putting them into debt traps by taking up huge loans for extensive spending on infrastructure projects. Now in March 2019, the Chinese are claiming that they are just giving viable loans and not to much.
However, I will beg to differ, but before I do so. Let see what the Chines spokesperson said. Which I have to say is not true.
“Guo Weimin, spokesperson of the second session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said extending Chinese loans to developing countries aims to facilitate infrastructure projects that are expected to bring development and boost the economic growth of these nations. “Chinese investments only account for a very small share to their total debt. And our projects are mostly infrastructure, which can support the long-term development of those countries,” Guo said. “Yet some say, this is a great debt trap. But this doesn’t make sense,” he added” (Kris Chrismundo – ‘No debt trap for developing countries: CN political advisory body’ 02.03.2019, link: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1063438).
Let’s me just take the first victim of the debt trap made by the Chinese is in Sri Lanka where the Chinese has taken over and lease the Hambantota Port for 99 years in 2018. While in Zambia, the Chinese has taken over ZESCO, the state electricity company, majority ownership of the Zambian National Broadcasting Company, and if the Republic fails more on their debt. The Zambian state might loose the ownership of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport as well.
In Kenya, the government have loaned massive funds for the Standard Gauge Railway Part 1 and 2. Now, they are on the limb and its speculated that the Port of Mombasa can be taken as collateral for the possible failing loans.
There are warning signs of the total loans given to Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Maldives, Ghana, Liberia Philippines and so on. They are clearly strategic about it. There should also be worrying about the loans given to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and so on. The Chinese has loaned for massive projects and not small-pocketed money. Which the Chinese would like to have back paid.
This is just small examples of what that is coming. Because the states are taking up gigantic loans, which they can possibly default with. That is why the Chinese has been smart enough to sign for collateral, which usually is important parts of infrastructure or mobility. So, that the Chinese can trade and also control vital parts of the economy. They are not joking around and seemingly taken a soft approach to neo-colonize the developing countries. Because they can and have the ability to do so.
We can wonder if there will be more like this. There are also the battle happening in Djibouti over the Doraleh Port, who went from DP World Port Company to a Chinese Company. That was because of the debt that the Republic of Djibouti had. Just like the port in Sri Lanka went to them as well. Both very strategic and important ports in their regions. Therefore, the Chinese has gotten good infrastructure and possible revenue streams in these Republic for their defaulting loans.
There will be more to come out of this. That is why I don’t believe the Chinese, saying the developing countries can manage the amount of loans, as the Chinese are planning to takeover something to get repaid for their services. Peace.
Certainly, the massive loans given to the “Build! Build! Build” are starting to cost. As the big infrastructure projects and other loans are taking their toll on the economy. Therefore, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte are trying to collect something. It seems like the Chinese counterparts are getting lots of collateral and salvage the spent funds in Philippines. Because, as the weeks goes by and the ASEAN friends, the one with the upper-hand is China.
This is surely not how Duterte want it too look, as they are having a bargain. There has already been putting into question the control of Benham Rise and the hard-won control of the island there. Still, the Republic haven’t fought with tooth and nail to get it back. This week, it seems like there are more installations on it. The sovereign Philippines are being toyed with by China. They are being fooled and has to accept deals, because of the loans to Beijing. Manila is indebted and has to give concessions. Why else, would this week be filled with new Chinese interference and getting licenses in the Philippines?
Weather Station Controversy:
““It is currently coordinating with concerned government agencies, as well as with the Philippine Embassy in Beijing to verify the existence or non-existence of these alleged facilities,” he said. Panelo earlier addressed this concern on Monday saying Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin jr. will “do his job” once the reports have been verified. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang announced on November 1 that Beijing has already begun operating weather stations on the artificial islands in South China Sea. “These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Lu Kang said in a press conference” (Janine Peralta – ‘Philippines to take action if Chinese weather stations in South China Sea are verified — Palace’ 06.11.2018 link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/06/ph-china-south-china-sea-panelo.html).
“One of the projects included an exploration between state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd., located off Calamian in southwestern Palawan province, Cusi told Manila Bulletin in a news briefing. Cusi was referring to Service Contract 57 which covers an oil and gas project awarded to PNOC’s exploration unit, and picked CNOOC as a partner. Cusi did not share details for Service Contract 72, an exploration permit held by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp. for Reed Bank, but clarified that the Reed Bank, another disputed South China Sea area, is not of the two” (Meanne Rosales – ‘ PH to seal 2 exploration deals with China’ 09.11.2018, link: https://powerphilippines.com/2018/11/09/ph-seal-2-exploration-deals-china/)
Chinese Telecommunication as the Third Telco:
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the entry of China Telecommunications Corp., or China Telecom, in his country’s telecommunication industry, saying the Philippines stands to benefit from the “good competition” that a Chinese company will bring to the industry” (…) “Duterte said that China “has proved to be of very incredibly high quality of electronics.” “(Xinhuanet – ‘Duterte welcomes China Telecom’s operating in Philippines’ 08.11.2018).
As we see, the sudden Benham Rise in the South China Sea and the will of China to takeover the place, while the Malacañang are preoccupied with sneering at priests, Rappler and who else who hurt their pride. They are not seeing or looking away from the sovereign implications on Benham Rise. As there are talks already of military installations, but now also monitoring equipment and a weather station. Clearly, the Chinese sees it as their land, while the PH are busy trying to find out what is happening there.
Than, you have the oil-fields in the same region, where the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) have gotten licenses to drill oil there. Clearly, this is all intentional, as well as they are the lucky third Telecommunication Company and getting into the Cellphone business too. This is just fitting as a glove. They are both getting territory in the South China Sea, they are getting exploitation opportunities and steady profits through a cell-phone carrier. All this they have gotten for dropping some loans, that is hard for the Philippines to repay in cash.
That is why they are allowed to get these things, as collateral for the debt. This is a game the Chinese plays well. That is why this is all happening. We have seen similar efforts done in Sri Lanka. That will surely happen in the Philippines too. As the Chinese is not forgiving with their loans. They want points on the dollar. Not loose money and certainly not lose face on the investments made. Peace.
On reforming democracy, the international economist argued that citizens should have to take a test in order to vote.
DOHA, QATAR, August 3, 2018 – The bestselling author goes Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union:
In a far-reaching interview with Al Jazeera (AlJazeera.com) English’s Head to Head, Dambisa Moyo argued that there are major problems with Western democracy today.
“The notion that democracy is not a problem is mad, it’s crazy,” Moyo said.
Discussing why she believed liberal democracy was “under siege,” Moyo asserted that today’s populism “has its roots in economics”, describing how “real wages have come down…over the past 30 years, social mobility has declined” and “income inequality has widened.”
She blamed short-termist Western policies, such as farm subsidies in the US and Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, for locking “out the goods that are produced in places like Africa and South America” which has led to “more impoverished people” and “fed into issues of political instability.”
A former Goldman Sachs banker, Moyo was asked whether the company had a particular role for the 2008 financial crisis, she said that it had “no special responsibility” for what took place and that “we all have to take responsibility”.
Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $5.1bn in fines in January 2016, following an investigation by the US Department of Justice for its role in the crisis.
On reforming democracy, the international economist argued that citizens should have to take a test in order to vote and that people must have a “good knowledge of what exactly we’re voting on” before being allowed to vote.
When she remarked how voter participation was at all-time low, presenter Mehdi Hasan responded by asking “so the idea is then you make it harder for them to vote by putting a test in front of them?”
In her new book; Edge of Chaos, Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – and how to fix it, Dr Moyo proposes a system of weighted voting where some individuals have more voting power than others.
When defending her proposal, which presenter Mehdi Hasan suggested was elitist and would actually “help populism”, Moyo asserted that her idea was “based on participation, not on education” and that a degree of weighted voting already existed around the world.
Speaking about China and its economic model, Moyo commented how “over 300 million people have been moved out of poverty in 30 years” and that the West should be careful not to “point fingers” when commenting on the country’s democratic record which was on its own particular “path”.
Addressing a question on the benefits of China’s economic model, Moyo noted how Chinese politicians “don’t need to seduce today’s voter in order to remain in political office” in comparison to the US, where there is a “mismatch between long-term economic challenges and short-termism in the political system.”
Economist Dambisa Moyo first made waves with her book Dead Aid, which argued that rather than alleviating poverty in Africa, aid was actually preserving it. Asked whether she believed aid had had any beneficial effects, the economist described its “corrosive nature” on “democracy on the African continent.”
“We do want to be able to hold our governments accountable but we can’t do that if actually Oxfam is going to solve the health care problem, somebody else is going to solve education, how are we able to hold our governments accountable from a public policy stance if they are not the ones who are delivering these outcomes?”
The best-selling author argued that whilst she accepted that there have been “significant wins” across Africa, “the notion that those are because of aid…is wrong.”
Moyo pointed out that China has played a hugely significant role on the continent: “We’ve had China come in, there’s been significant investment…we’re able to trade with the Chinese, for better or for worse.”
Mehdi Hasan was joined in the discussion by a panel of experts: Ann Pettifor, economist and Author of The Production of Money; Jason Hickel, anthropologist at the University of London and author of The Divide: A brief Guide to global inequality and its solutions; and Jamie Whyte, research director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
The interview is part of a brand new series of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan’s hard-hitting discussion show on Al Jazeera English. Other guests were former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, former Trump campaign National Security Director J.D. Gordon, and feminist Germaine Greer.
Is it time to rethink Democracy? with Dambisa Moyo will be broadcast on Friday August 3rd at 20:00 GMT, and will be repeated on August 4th at 12.00 GMT, August 5th at 01.00 GMT and August 6th at 06.00 GMT.
Yesterday, the Ghanian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo addressed the Press together with the French President Macron. As he did this he asked serious questions about governance and development. Akufo-Addo proved with brilliance what many people are saying about the African continent, but isn’t heard from the people in power. Akufo Addo actually wants like all other sovereign states to be charging his own people for the services they are getting and not handouts from strangers abroad. That isn’t noble, that is Statesmanship and responsibility. As he don’t want aid, but trade. The President wants Ghana to make it on its own and with its own resources, instead of billing the tab from afar.
All nations and all presidents should seek this paradigm. His own words are powerful and it is needed, in times when states are either addicted to aid or borrowing funds at levels that are destroying the economies. These words and shift should be taken by all states who are used to aid. So they can prepare their citizens and their institutions to be built. So that governance and the government can deliver services to their public.
“Addressing a press conference with France President Emmanuel Macron during the latter’s one-day working visit to Ghana on Thursday, President Akufo- Addo said African countries cannot continue to make policies based on the support the Western world can give. He said, “Our responsibility to charter a path which is about how we can develop our nations ourselves. It is not right for a country like Ghana, 60-years after independence to still have its health and education budget being financed on the basis of the generosity and charity of European taxpayers” (…) “We need to have a mindset that says we can do it… and once we have that mindset we’ll see there’s a liberating factor for ourselves,” he said. Akufo-Addo said the only way Africa can stop its young men and women from migrating to other countries to seek greener pastures is to put in place systems that work. “We want to have those energies working inside our countries and we are going to have those energies if we begin to build systems that tells the young people of our country that their hopes, the opportunities are right here with us,” he stressed” (…) “Our concern should be with what we need to do in this 21st century to move Africa away from being cup-in-hand and begging for aid, for charity and for handouts,” he said” (Ghanaweb, 2017).
I’m European, I don’t care what Macron said or wanted to say after hearing Akufo-Addo speech. It was powerful and needed. The words that is expressed and the needed shift is there. Not that charity or aid should automatically stop. But the world, the leaders and the states themselves. Needs to find their way to sustain and develop mechanism for collecting revenue and also tax properly services. Secondly, needs proper guidelines and institutions to sufficiently create growth and stagger inflation. Combined with investment in not only extraction and producing crops, but also create products with it. So that the state don’t only get the low value export, but get refined and developed products on the world market. That isn’t an easy fix and has been tampered-on ever since independence and the world order hasn’t made it better too.
Initially, the power lays in the hands of the leadership. In the hands of people Akufo-Addo and others. Who can leave behind institutions and markets, that can leave behind educated and industries that brings wealth not only to a chosen few, but to the GDP of their respective nations. While stopping the current fix and re-up of more aid donations and charity from European taxpayers.
I hope that the African leadership are listening to this and actually follows this. To be truly independent. Be developed and generate the wealth the African people deserve and the stability of institutions it also should create to prosper. Maybe, not leadership as western-democracies, but in states and elected leadership that takes responsibility and uses the skills and resources for the benefit of all citizens. Not only for corporate citizens, but all of them. Building states and building democracies where the people and state are working for a common-goal. The betterment and changing today for the future. Not awaiting handouts from Berlin, Paris or London. The Ghanaian republic deserve this, they deserve to handle on their own, all former colonies and former protectorate deserves this. Just like the European republics and kingdoms are responsible for their own finances and economy. They are not awaiting funds from China or US to save them…
The same we should wish to say about African state, who are begging for donors and loans to fill the void of own taxation and revenue. Therefore, the speech from President Akufo-Addo deserves credit, not because he is African and wants to get rid of the hands-out. But because he speaking the truth in general. Every single statesman on planet earth, should work for this goal, no matter which continent and whatever country they are running. It doesn’t matter, all citizens and states should work for this common goal that President Akufo-Addo speaks off. Also, European Nations that are struggling with debt and with deficit like Greece and Italy, should also work for this goal and not be saved by other institutions. This is a world-wide issue, not only on the African continent. Peace.
Ghanaweb – ‘Africa must stop depending on foreign aid – Akufo-Addo’ (03.12.2017) link: https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Africa-must-stop-depending-on-foreign-aid-Akufo-Addo-606111
Now the that United States of America, the US Government officially pulled out of the United National Global Compact on Migration. This happens as the Phase 1 of negotiations are going on and the 24 elements was agreed upon in the New York Declaration. Which are elements that are vital for working of security, stability and human rights for the migrants, as stated as this: “improving cooperation in this regard between countries of origin and destination.” (Global Compact on Migration, 13.03.2017).
So now that the International Community at large are going into Phase II: “Phase 2, Stock-taking. After the consultations, there will be an intergovernmental stock-taking conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, in early December, where inputs from the consultations will be presented and discussed, then consolidated as the basis for a draft. The co-facilitators– the Swiss and Mexican governments– will produce a first draft of the Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration by February 2018 which will be the basis for the intergovernmental negotiations culminating in the compact (Phase 3). Negotiations should be concluded by the end of July ahead of the September conference” (Global Compact on Migration, 13.03.2017).
This meaning that the elements and pillars of rights for migration and co-operations between states will be set by the paradigm made by the consultations and previous declarations. Clearly, the United States don’t want to participate or even set agenda for positive change. They want to become a pariah state. The United States under President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are planning to become hated worldwide, to a level even President George W. Bush didn’t even achieve. By the way, that is impressive.
Why I dislike the pulling out of the United States in the UN Global Compact, is for the simple reason. They are involved in so many conflicts, they are trading so much arms and weapons worldwide. That the ones that are a warlord, are a supporter of conflicts and is initiating it too. Should take responsibility and actually make sure the refugees and the migrants from crisis are getting a new home. That should make sense for all. The US Army has troops in Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Poland, Ukraine, Niger, Japan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Sudan, Estonia, Norway, South Korea, Israel and Bahrain.
So the US Army and Navy are stationed everywhere and has bases all over the globe. They are even involved and has Guam, who has been in the spotlight in the fist-fight between North Korean President Kim Yung-Un and President Trump. What is also worrying and hard to know is the estimates of trade of arms and weapons to all parts of the world. This also small-arms, fighter-planes and equipment that used to keep both allies and undemocratic regimes in power. Either for internal conflicts or for loyalty to the US. Therefore, the creation of UN Compact is so important to put migration and refugees in center, as they are fleeing conflicts in their homes and nations to get to safety. That is why the world has to make sure they have provisions and plans to shelter these individuals. They deserve better, especially from the United States.
The world cannot trust the Trump Administration, neither their actions. They should stop dropping drone attacks world-wide. They should stop supporting the Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen. Their bombings in Somalia. Their initial warfare in Afganistan, they shouldn’t be involved around the Lake Chad and Nigeria, Cameroon and Sahel Region. They are just creating more refugees and migrants. While they have no honor and no pride, to actually shelter them and make sure there is international laws to cover their hurt. We know that now, Nikki Haley and the US Government has decided so.
The bravery and the proud American state is failing. The next Banana Republic with huge debt and deficit. Cannot take of their own poor and now want to make sure they are not friendly with the international community and taking responsibility for their actions. We know that now, the US is irresponsible and irrational. The Trump Administration can screw themselves in the oval office in Washington. We cannot trust the Americans anymore, they are just thinking about themselves and not about the greater good. United States is a selfish state who don’t take responsibility and that should be sanctioned, like they sanctions others. Peace.