China not colonizing Africa, says Namibian president
BY ALAN GREEN
Currently on a state visit to China, Namibia’s president, Hage Geingob, refuted the widely-held view that China’s relations with African countries are tantamount to colonization. In the remarks reported on Saturday by the Chinese official News Agency, Xinhua, the Namibian head of state stated:
“No country in the world has added so much value to our products as China has. China has done a lot of technology transfer and job creation.”
the president reportedly added:
“We are mature, we can choose our friends, we can choose what we want, and what’s good for us.”
Geingob clearly said that China is not colonizing Africa, that the ever-growing cooperation between Beijing and the Africa continent benefits both entities.
It’s common knowledge that China, the world’s second largest economy, has been pouring billions of dollars into infrastructure projects across Africa. The Asian power’s influence in Africa has drawn criticism from other world’s powers, including European nations and the United States, with many questioning China’s motives. Some go as fare as accusing China of securing African raw materials such as oil and minerals on the cheap and at all costs, with little concern for the rule of law and the envifonment.
Adding his voice to the decades-old criticism of Chinese deals in Africa, former U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, only last month cautioned African nations against forfeiting their sovereignty in their dealings with the Asian giant.
The all-too-familiar criticism has failed to cool the relationships. All the contrary.
In a recent interview broadcast by the French radio station, RFI, the president of Benin, Patrice Talon, remarked that an ambitious railroad project for which a Beninese company, the Petrolin Group, has won a bid, will actually be carried out by China. The West African leader argued that the massive cost of the project, cannot be easily born by the Beninese company, or the French company, the Bollore group, that earlier won the bid. We need a very modern railroad system, the president stressed.
President Hage Geingob flattly said to the Xinhua News Agency: “Comments smearing bilateral cooperation” between China and Namibia are ‘doomed to fail.’” China’s investment in Namibia, he pointed out, is not “just digging out resources.” China-Africa cooperation is equal footing, he also stated.