Revealed: Why the West is attacking China’s development model in Africa

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Communication specialist Peter Warutere and Ying Tang from China during the conference “Securing Development: China-Africa Cooperation in Governance, Peace and Security” at Hemingways Hotel in Nairobi, organized by the Africa Policy Institute (API). PHOTO/API

By PATRICK MAYOYO

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

China’s development model in Africa is under close scrutiny from the western world because it is flexible and has no conditional ties a former senior World Bank official has said.

Dr Mwangi Wachira a consultant in economic development said African countries prefer development loans from China compared to countries and institutions from the West because such loans have no conditions related to corruption, human rights violations or gender disparity.

“China is currently under pressure to adopt the western development model of attaching conditions to development loans and if that happens Africa will be the greatest loser,” he said.

Dr Wachira was speaking during the conference “Securing Development: China-Africa Cooperation in Governance, Peace and Security” at Hemingways Hotel in Nairobi, organized by the Africa Policy Institute (API).

The economist said western countries should leave out ‘social-engineering’ in their development agenda in Africa if they were to effectively compete with China’s development model on the continent.

Two of the development experts who attended the conference in Nairobi. PHOTO/API

Ms Anzetse Were a development economist and commentator said accountability and transparency of African countries should not be a western agenda.

“Africa is a young economy and democracy and needs to develop homegrown solutions to its problems and not those imposed on it from western capitals,” she said.

Ms Were said allegations of China’s business model in Africa and around the world being a debt trap, or Chinese nationals being racists or out to exploit natural resources of African countries is a deliberate smear campaign against the success of China’s development agenda on the continent.

Mr Polycarp Ochilo, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi said China has played a major role in Africa conflict resolution through supporting peaceful co-existence during regional conflicts.

The team of experts who attended “Securing Development: China-Africa Cooperation in Governance, Peace and Security” at Hemingways Hotel in Nairobi. PHOTO/API

Mr Ochilo however added that risks posed by development loans taken by African countries from China need to be evaluated by the elite on the continent to ensure they are viable and sustainable.

“Africa intellectuals should critically assess the risks posed by Chinese development loans on the continent because there is no investment without risks,” he said.

Mr David Owiro, founder and Executive Director of Africa Development Think Tank said unemployment on the continent was a time bomb that is causing radicalization of the youth and their migration to countries in the Middle East where they suffer human rights violations.

“Unemployment is even higher among university graduates mainly because of skills mis-match and lack of adequate jobs,” he said.

Mr Owiro called on Chinese investors in Africa to set-up factories on the continent to spur value addition in different sectors and also create employment and skills transfer.

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