Sometimes we need an reminder, that some powers and some states doesn’t come with the best intentions or with a real helping hand. If it is the famous white elephants or the other giant aid initiatives that doesn’t amount to anything. However, what is now at stake is for instance a lot African states and their loans to China. The Chinese has collateral in either ports, state owned enterprises or ability to directly extract the needed resources the current state with huge loans has. This is their trap and Sankara warned about this, just like the French, British and Americans has done in the past too. Nothing new under the sun, just new methods to get ahead.
What I am quoting is a speech done to the OAU in 1987, just a few months before his assassination. Therefore, the words and warnings seems more important. As in our time, the leaders of today is recycling the ills of the past. They are doing it out of greed and in the end, the people and the citizens will suffer. Not the multi-national corporations, not the state itself, but the public whose disregarded and have to reinvent money.
The wise words of Sankara:
“We believe analysis of the debt should begin with its roots. The roots of the debt go back to the beginning of colonialism. Those who lent us the money were those who colonized us. They were the same people who ran our states and our economies. It was the colonizers who put Africa into debt to the financiers—their brothers and cousins. This debt has nothing to do with us. That’s why we cannot pay for it. The debt is another form of neocolonialism, one in which the colonialists have transformed themselves into technical assistants. Actually, it would be more accurate to say technical assassins. They’re the ones who advised us on sources of financing, on underwriters of loans. As if there were men whose loans are enough to create development in other people’s countries. These underwriters were recommended to us, suggested to us. They gave us enticing financial documents and presentations. We took on loans of fifty years, sixty years, and even longer. That is, we were led to commit our peoples for fifty years and more. The debt in its present form is a cleverly organized reconquest of Africa under which our growth and development are regulated by stages an norms totally alien to us. It is a reconquest that turns each of us into a financial slave—or just plain slave—of those who had the opportunity, the craftiness, the deceitfulness to invest funds in our countries that we are obliged to repay. Some tell us to pay the debt. This is not a moral question. Paying or not paying is not a question of so-called honor at all” (Thomas Sankara – Speech given at the African Unity Organisation Conference, Addis Ababa, July 29, 1987).
Let us not forgot the lessons of the past, as we in the present is continuing a cycle of recycling debt, growing debt and cycles of repayment schemes, which will only make the next generation suffer. If not, when the grace period hits and the state doesn’t have a big enough tax-base or revenue. It defaults and has to give away extraction licenses, state owned enterprises and other vital transport infrastructure like ports and airports. Because, that what is happening.
This is happening in our time. The world is looking, but nothing is getting done. Peace.
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2019—The World Bank today announced an additional US$6 million additional financing for the continuation of its Improving Health Sector Performance Project in Djibouti. Since its approval in April 2013, 143,000 women and children have received essential health, nutrition and population services in Djibouti. The program has supported improvements in access to quality health care services for maternal and child health and communicable disease control programs (HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis). The additional financing will allow the program to continue serving all of Djibouti, including refugee populations.
The additional financing includes US$1 million in International Development Association (IDA) credit, the World Bank’s arm for the poorest countries, and a US$5 million grant from the IDA18 Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities. Djibouti is one of 14 countries eligible to access this financing. The IDA18 Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities was created in response to demands from refugee-hosting countries, like Djibouti, as a mechanism for development assistance and concessional financing from the WBG.
“The Government of Djibouti has been committed to addressing the increasing health needs of refugees and host communities,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. “The capacity of health centers throughout Djibouti is under severe strain. In certain communities in Djibouti, displaced populations including refugees make up to 40% of the health service users.”
The new financing will support the Government of Djibouti’s efforts to mitigate the negative health impacts of the protracted refugee crisis and ensure that refugees and host communities have access to quality and equitable health services. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Health.
This is the second additional financing to the project. The first additional financing came in the form of a grant US$7 million from the Health Results and Innovation Trust Fund. The original project, approved in April 2013, was a five-year results-based financing project funded by a US$7 million IDA credit. The program is performance-based, whereby funds are disbursed directly to health care providers based on the number and quality of services delivered. The aim of this design is to encourage healthcare service providers to improve child health services such as immunization, management of childhood illnesses, and treatment of malnutrition. In addition, there is a focus on maternal health services such as prenatal care, family planning, and skilled birth attendance. “With six years of experience with the results based financing in Djibouti we have seen a marked increase in the utilization of maternal and child health services. The increased autonomy of health facilities has led to improved health worker performance and an overall increase in the quantity and quality of health services,” said Elizabeth Mziray, World Bank Task Team Leader for the program. “With the additional financing, the support will extend to reach more vulnerable populations and those most in need.”
The large influx of refugees from neighboring countries into Djibouti and the protracted humanitarian crisis have strained an already fragile health system and have further stretched the limited capacity of the health system to provide basic health and nutrition services. The limited coverage of health services and the absence of essential nutrition and water and sanitation facilities have increased the risk of disease outbreaks.
Kadar Mouhoumed Omar
Tribunal orders Djibouti to pay DCT $385 million plus interest for breach of Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT)’s exclusivity.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 4, 2019 – Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT), a Djibouti port operator owned 33.34% by DP World Group, and 66.66% by Port de Djibouti S.A., an entity of the Republic of Djibouti, has been successful in the London Court of International Arbitration proceeding against the Republic of Djibouti. The Tribunal has found that by developing new container port opportunities with China Merchants Holdings International Co Limited (China Merchants), a Hong-Kong based port operator, Djibouti has breached DCT’s rights under its 2006 Concession Agreement to develop a container terminal at Doraleh, in Djibouti, specifically, its exclusivity over all container handling facilities in the territory of Djibouti.
The Tribunal ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $385 million plus interest for breach of DCT’s exclusivity by development of container facilities at Doraleh Multipurpose Terminal, with further damages possible if Djibouti develops a planned Doraleh International Container Terminal (DICT) with any other operator without the consent of DP World. The Tribunal found that “In respect of the development of the Djibouti Multipurpose Port (DMP) facility, the facts are clear. At no stage before the decision was made to go ahead with that facility with China Merchants did … Djibouti … offer … DCT … the right to develop the proposed container facilities at the DMP. Djibouti was therefore in breach of clause 3.6.3 of the [Concession Agreement]”. China Merchants also operates a $3.5 billion free trade zone it developed pursuant to an agreement with Djibouti, in contravention of DP World’s exclusive right to develop and operate such a free zone under its own concession, which is the subject of other litigation proceedings.
The Tribunal also ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $148 million for historic non-payment of royalties for container traffic not transferred to DCT once it became operational. Djibouti is also ordered to pay DCT’s legal costs.
The Tribunal’s Award recognises that the 2006 Concession Agreement remains valid and binding, as has also been confirmed by another LCIA arbitration tribunal and the London courts. This is the fifth substantial ruling in DCT and DP World’s favour on disputes relating to the Doraleh terminal. DCT and DP World continue to seek to uphold their legal rights in a number of legal fora, following Djibouti’s unlawful efforts to expel DP World from Djibouti and transfer the port operation to Chinese interests. Litigation against China Merchants also continues before the Hong Kong courts. DP World has previously issued public notices, following the confirmation of the validity of the 2006 Concession Agreement in a judgment in 2018, warning others against interfering with its and DCT’s concession rights.
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.