Saturday, October 11, 2014

Western Food Aid to Africa is Neo-Colonial Instrument- Says China.

Western Food Aid to Africa is Neo-Colonial Instrument- Says China.
USA and China Competing for Africa's Natural Resources

By Shou Wang Mai Tian

The West labels China’s presence in Africa as “neo-colonialism”, for the trade between China and Africa is mainly composed of resources conducted with state-owned enterprises. The West is doing so based on the fact that its looting of Africa is mainly for resources and conducted by the governments in history. However, this writer believes that, In reality, such a label is an unfair distortion of China-Africa relations, as actually what the West is doing in Africa is neo-colonialism, while Chinas exchanges with Africa constitutes a relationship of friendship and win-win outcome in the rapidly changing world.

For China-Africa relations, one should realize that China’s behavior is fundamentally different from what the West did in the past. We shouldn’t allow the ill-intentioned to displace the concept under disguise, as hostile forces are trying to do with specious accusations. China has business transactions with and makes investment in Africa in hard currencies, such as US dollars, that Africa needs badly, while the West went to Africa with swords and guns to colonize. More importantly, the West used to purchase Africa’s resources at dirt cheap price while China is paying for them fair and square. To meet Chinas demand for resources, the resources-rich Western countries are competing with each other to sell to China, as Chinas big demand for iron ores has made it Australias pillar industry and Canadian mineral companies are exporting large amounts of their products to China, the profitability of the three major iron miners being many times higher than that of the steel making companies in China. While China’s fast development requires a large amount of precious resources, the West doesn’t want Africa to sell to China and thus have a share of the profiting right from the bloated prices that the West has fixed. What the West is doing is allowing its resource-rich countries to export at exorbitant prices while not allowing Africa to do the same to China. In this sense, we have to ask if China is practicing colonialism in Canada and Australia, also? All that makes us see that the so-called “China’s neo-colonialism in Africa” is a major act of displacing the concept under disguise to continue the old colonial rule.



What has the West done in Africa? The West has always tried to glorify their behaviour by bragging about their humanitarian aid to Africa in large quantities of grains. In such a way, the West is seemed to hold a high moral ground. However, it needs be pointed out that before the West started providing food aid to Africa, the continent was self-sufficient in food supply. Ironically, along with the provision of the Wests aid, there has come widespread starvation in Africa. The West maintains that it is the consequence of the wars in Africa. However, even if food production was destroyed by a war, it could be restored very quickly. For example, if the land is not tilled in one year, it can be tilled in the next. The bad effects of war on agriculture do not last longer than one year. Whats more, fallow land usually yields more. Does Africa lack of arable land and is it over-populated? These questions are making the situation even more puzzling. Nearly 80% of Africas arable land lies uncultivated. The total output of grain in Africa is less than 100 million tons and the continent imports 50 million tons of grains each year. The total consumption of grains in Africa is 150 million tons. Africas population is nearly equal to that of Chinas, which is more than 1 billion. However, per capita grain consumption in Africa is less than 150 kg while that in China is 450 kg. Africa has 270 million hectares of arable land, which is 2.17 times larger than China’s, as one hectare is equivalent to 15 Mu in Chinese measurement system. Compared with China, Africa has abundant water and thermo resources, the majority of its arable land can produce 3 harvests a year; its population is almost the same as China’s; and in the meanwhile, Africa also has more than 900 million hectares of uncultivated land that can be easily made arable. Nonetheless,unit yield in Africa is rather low, for instance, that of wheat, corn and rice is 18%, 25% and 38% of Chinas, respectively. In Africa there shouldnt be any starvation. But why whenever there is negative information about Africa, people think of starvation immediately?

In addition to the abundance of farmland and agricultural resources, Africa has no lack of labour either. The African unemployment rate is very high but the Wests accusation saying the Africans are lazy doesnt hold water, as even the laziest person would be hard-working when hungry. The real reason for the current situation of Africa is the Wests new colonialism policy in Africa. The emphasis of this policy is to destroy Africas agriculture by food dumping! In this way, the hungry Africans will have to depend on the West and Africas sovereignty independence has to give way to food for survival.
The word dumpingis not foreign to us. Dumping refers to selling at a price lower than the costs. Are there any advantages in doing so? In monopolistic competition, dumping is aimed at destroying a countrys domestic industry to secure control over it. Therefore, the various anti-dumping policies of Western countries are in fact of a major game of interests among different countries. As Kissinger says it, He who controls the oil controls the economy, and he who controls food controls everyone!As the West controls a countrys food security and destroys its agriculture by food dumping, the control of the country is surrendered. The Wests so-called food aid is dumping in a total way, more thorough than the average dumping of merely selling below the costs. The Wests dumping under the disguise of aid has totally destroyed Africas agriculture.
The Wests food aid to Africa is in fact surplus stored in the warehouses. When new crop is harvested, the food in store needs be disposed of, which is given to Africa as food aid. For the lack of infrastructure and sales channels, the cost of transportation is extremely high for the African farmers, so when they want to sell their products on the market, the costs of transportation and intermediate links could be even higher than the food price in the cities. As most major cities in Africa are at harbours, it is cheaper to ship the storage grain and food aid there. The agricultural products of Africa are thus made uncompetitive and sales of domestically produced grain unprofitable.

Even in the agricultural era of one thousand years ago, a farmer couldnt make a living by growing grains only and had to sell part of the harvest to buy other daily necessities. However, under the Wests food dumping mode, the African farmers are unable to buy any other commodities by selling their agricultural products. They cant make a living by farming and that is the real reason why Africa is suffering from high unemployment and starvation but leaves a lot of farmland deserted at the same time. Farmers become urban slum refugees because they cant make a living by farming. In Africa, there are many slums and abandoned farmland. These slums pose a big threat to the stability of the cities and society at large. As food security is controlled by the West, Africas political stability is dependent on the latter which provides the food. The recent turmoil in North Africa is closely related to the food problem of the urban poor.


The Wests food dumping is conducted for no other purpose but to make Africa reliant on food produced in the West and thus dependent on it politically and economically, so Africa has to sell its resources at low prices to the West in exchange for food. Though the price is very low, African countries even sometimes have to beg Western countries to buy their minerals. That is neo-colonialism characterized by food dumping, following the Wests bloody colonial rule in the past. Chinas emergence and buying Africas resources at a fairer price has disrupted the Wests game of profiting from Africa through colonialism by increasing Africas income, by having a share of the huge profitability of the resource-exporting Western countries in selling to China. Therefore, China-Africa cooperation is a win-win solution. In this context, it is not hard to understand why the West should demonize China-Africa cooperation by calling it neo-colonialism. In fact, the West has been the real colonist in Africa, having replaced the old form of colonialism with neo-colonialism, like putting old wine in a new bottle. Theoretically speaking, we need be highly aware of this kind of neo-colonialism.

Source: http://www.focac.org/eng/jlydh/mtsy/t837629.htm

Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
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