MinBane

I write what I like.

Archive for the tag “Forum on China-Africa Cooperation”

The SGR Trick: Which was all based on, if Beijing blessed Kampala!

The Standard Gauge Railway in the East African Community was all based on if the Chinese counterparts wanted to fund the infrastructure and the grand enterprise of rails in the region. Today, it was revealed, not shockingly that the SGR works in Uganda has been suspended. This after reports in the Daily Monitor revealed this:

Uganda’s first phase of SGR, the eastern line running from Malaba to Kampala, about 273km (338km rail length), is expected to cost $2.3bn. Mr Kasaija admitted that Uganda has currently taken a back seat on the SGR venture, but will resume “serious discussions once Kenya is about to reach” the Ugandan side. President Museveni, according to sources familiar with the venture, in recent months had been directly involved in discussions on the project, and had hoped to secure financing for the first section of the railway line during his visit to China last month when he attended the seventh Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. But he returned empty-handed. However, Mr Kasaija revealed that during the discussions in Beijing, it was agreed that “Uganda and Kenya will embark on joint financing negotiations” after Kenya has completed the current Nairobi-Naivasha section” (Daily Monitor – ‘Uganda puts SGR on hold over unresolved issues with Kenya’ 30.10.2018, link: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/news/ea/uganda/Uganda-puts-SGR-over-unresolved-issues-kenya/4003148-4828902-156c5upz/index.html).

I have doubts that it will help reaching more agreements with the Kenyan counterparts at this time. As they have had plenty of agreements, joint communiques and meetings with the Northern Corridor Integrated Project (NCIP), which is going back to 2015. Where there was back in October 2015 on the 11th NCIP Communique, where the document stated: “the summit noted progress made in the finalisation of bankable proposals for some sections and directed the Ministers of Finance, Infrastructure, Attorney Generals, coordinated by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, to undertake a joint visit to EXIM Bank in China to conclude Financing Agreements” (11th NCIP Summit – Joint Communique’ Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya 17.10.2015).

If you follow it clearly, the progress of the 2015 have been stalled or rejected, but the parties still want to pursuit the goal of building the rails. Even as even the Chinese doesn’t believe in it or seeing the lack of fortunes in Kenya to maybe wishing to extend the tracks further at this given moment. What we are seeing is that the Ugandan government has persisted, but not gone through.

They even had the idea of the SGR Railway in the National Development Plan II of 3rd March 2015, which also holds the idea of the rails alive with this statement: “Joint formal agreements for plans to build a new Standard Gauge railway (SGR) have been signed by the EAC Countries. The SGR project starts in Mombasa through Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and Juba. A cross section of the different routes of the SGR to the South Western, Northern, North Western and Eastern Uganda will aid the mining industry through transportation of equipment and raw materials. The overall objective of the SGR is to jointly develop and operate a modern, fast, reliable, efficient and high capacity regional railway transport system as a seamless single system and as a mechanism to stimulate overall economic development” (NDPII, 03.03.2015). By the way, the implementation of the NDPII is supposed to be between 2015/2016 to 2019/2020 to fulfill the Vision 2020. However, by the SGR failure, this shows the lack of progress and just the major agreements, but not the needed funding or possibility of partners to invest in the huge infrastructure projects the government has.

While on the 3rd of October, the Ministry of Works produced the 14th Joint Transport Sector Review Workshop presentation, where they by June 2018 stated: “The financing agreement for the SGR was not signed. However, negotiations to sign the financing agreement are in advanced stages” (Ministry of Works, 03.10.2018). So, you see, the government knows perfectly well, they cannot and doesn’t have finances for the building of it. It is soon November 2018 and getting closer to Vision 2020, but no sign of a working rails across the Republic. Especially not, when they are waiting for the Chinese to see it as a viable project in the first place.

What the government didn’t tell today or yesterday, is that the Chinese said no a little while ago:

For it to make business sense, the proposed line has to reach Uganda in order to take over a huge chunk of the haulage business in the landlocked country ahead of the Tanzania-Rwanda SGR line. Uganda is said to have decided to revamp its old metre-gauge railway when it became apparent that the Kenyan line could delay for up to three years. A regional weekly recently reported that the ministers for transport and finance of the two countries were supposed to have engagements with China Exim Bank on the sections of Kisumu to Kampala via Malaba” (…) “This, however, flopped and instead the executives from China Exim Bank flew to Kampala and later Nairobi last November to carry out due diligence on the Uganda project proposal and contract application” (Guguyu Otiato – ‘Worry as China puts SGR funding on hold’ 06.03.2018 link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001294667/alarm-as-china-puts-sgr-funding-on-hold).

So, when the government are saying it wasn’t signed, is that the Exim Chinese Bank rejected it and hasn’t accepted the infrastructure project at this point. Certainly, they don’t see it viable or even possible for profits. They have already started in Kenya, but has to finish that part, before they extend to the other Republics in the EAC. Therefore, the SGR is still a dream elsewhere in the Northern Corridor, as they seemed more ready in 2015, than the donors or the development partners ever where. Because the GoU are not ready to finance it self and not have the ability to do so. Without getting funding from the outside. They have to beg for loans and grants to get it. Peace.

Advertisements

Chinese Investments in Africa: It is not a free-lunch, the tab has to be paid!

African leaders should not turn the continent into a giant collector of donations and loans from wealthy nations—they must find other plausible means to help established their economic security so as to minimize poverty. This incoherent blunder on the mainland must be scrutinized.”Duop Chak Wuol

As The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is scheduled to happen on the 2nd and 3rd December 2018, there is time to remember how the Chinese is operating on the African Continent. The Chinese isn’t coming with empty giving hands of donations or even charity. They come with intent of interests and needs of resources from the continent, by offering loans, serving and building through state owned enterprises (SOE) in various of countries, whether it is roads, ports or railroads are built by Chinese Companies, by Chinese Workers and often on Chinese loans. Therefore, they might end up as Chinese owned enterprises, whose vital for transportation and export of needed minerals and whatnot from the continent.

Instead of coming with loans and direct-aid with strings like Western Powers has done over the last few decades, the Chinese are coming with friendly loans, but the Heads of State should know that the Chinese doesn’t play. They want value for money and expect a return, if it doesn’t they might snatch the new crown-jewel or anticipate to get perks from the state. If that is some sort of trade-off or licenses to extract mineral resources or even minor taxation like toll-roads, where the piece of cash will be sent to Beijing and not the capitol of the country where the road is built. That is how these people operate. They are not in it to play or be giving, but gain advantage and have the upper-hand.

This can be shown by what the State Media in China writes in Xinhua Net wrote today and what a CARI report on the same funds are saying. The Chinese portray the funding as investments on the Continent, as the funds are most likely pushed as loans, which burdens the states and that they have to repay. Loans are not given, but issued because of lack of direct funds to build those infrastructure and investments done. So, what I am saying isn’t mere speculation, but a narrative that has to sink in.

Chinese Investments:

China’s investments into Africa surged by more than 100 times from 2000 to 2017. In the past three years, annual Chinese direct investment into Africa was about 3 billion dollars on average. By the end of 2017, China’s investments of all kinds into Africa totaled 100 billion dollars, covering almost every country on the continent” (Li Xia – ‘Facts & Figures: China-Africa ties: cooperation for shared future’ 02.09.2018 link: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-09/02/c_137438845.htm).

Chinese Loans:

From 2000 to 2017, the Chinese government, banks and contractors extended US $136 billion in loans to African governments and their state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Angola is the top recipient of Chinese loans, with $42.2 billion disbursed over 17 years. Chinese loan finance is varied. Some government loans qualify as “official development aid.” But other Chinese loans are export credits, suppliers’ credits, or commercial, not concessional in nature. China is not Africa’s largest “donor”” (China Africa Research Initiative – ‘DATA: CHINESE LOANS TO AFRICA’ Version 1.1 August 2018).

They might try to conceal the reality, just like make-up is used on the face to fade the age or even marks that shows stress or pimples. However, the Chinese cannot be able to lie about their intent. They would not offer these sums of cash, without expecting a turnover or even profits. The Chinese wouldn’t allow all these billions of US Dollars spent on these nations to be spoiled and lost on the streets of Lome, Harare, Addis Ababa or Nairobi. They anticipate a return on the loans, either straight cash or getting pieces of the built infrastructure to advance the value of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

That the Heads of State in Africa should be concerned as they are getting in debt traps, instead of being in cycle of positive growth, they are getting new loans to pay the old ones. They are using the same creditor to secure new loans on top of the old-debt. That is how it will continue, until a point where they cannot pay the defaulted debt and the Chinese would then come to snatch something of value to recoup the failing debt. Because they don’t want to write-off the big money without having anything in return. That is what the Chinese has done in Sri Lanka and might start elsewhere. There might be soon more control of port in Djibouti or railroad of Kenya, even the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line too. As they want their value of money.

They might be all smiles and photo-ops in Beijing these days, the smiles and added loans to dozens of countries. The added “investments” and deals struck, but the Chinese will not do so without getting something in return. To think otherwise, is to be naive and think they don’t have an agenda by doing it.

There is nothing like a free-lunch and the people will learn that, the Heads of State will not directly pay the debt, but the states will do so. Maybe not in this decade or next 5 years, but sooner or later. The bill for the coffee and biscuit will come. Than it is all eaten, but tab still has to be cleared. Peace.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: