Since rebel DRC General Nkunda made the Chinese commodity deal one of the central grievances in his uprising in the north of the country little response has been heard fromBeijing. Today Beijing defended its role in the DRC citing its humanitarian work as evidence of its positive impact in the country. It has been suggested that Nkunda was attempting to draw support from western sources through making an enemy of China. Qin Gang, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman defended China’s involvement as one based on mutual gain.
In Kenya export quotas for its export processing zones have been cut due to concerns that China’s imminent increased access to the US market will damage Kenyan success. This might have deeper running effects in the China Africa relationship. Many factories in Africa have been set up to benefit from the AGOA agreement allowing African producers privileged access to the market. However China’s staggered trade agreement with US will soon allow it easier access. This will not only bring it into direct competition with African producers, it might also result in a partial withdrawal of those businesses taking advantage of the tax disparity.
The next question facing the China Africa relationship seems to be whether China can bring jobs to the continent without bringing in its own workforce to do them. Increasingly there have been announcements of factories employing native workers, such as the recent aluminium and ceramic plants in Igbesa, Nigeria. Outgoing President Kufour ofGhana announced a new bus transportation scheme today, with buses provided by Yutong-China. Kufour spoke of the possibility of the factory that builds the buses being moved to Ghana in the future. If the 2009 China Africa Forum in Cairo makes this an future aim, then China will have gone a long way to proving its Win-Win cooperation rhetoric.
A line was drawn under the Nigcomsat affair today as it was declared that the satellite will not be restarted and would have to be replaced by insurance. However in defence of the project Professor Robert Borrofice of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) cited numerous failures associated with space technology of all countries. He said that the fault could have been caused by a solar flare that damaged the circuitry, and therefore he feels condemnation of the project is unfair.