China gifts new home to African Union - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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It is a $200m building, the tallest in the Ethiopian capital and the new headquarters of the African Union (AU). It also happens to be entirely the work of China.

Paid for with Chinese funds and constructed by Chinese workers, the AU's new home in Addis Ababa is concrete evidence of Beijing's desire to increase its influence in Africa.

Although some analysts say AU nations will still need and work closely with Europe and the United States, Chinese delegates are the ones being feted at the moment in Ethiopia.



Interesting. Those yummy african resources. I bet the walls are bugged. This is the perfect place for China to run Africa from.
Last edited by Igor Antunov on 30 Jan 2012 10:07, edited 1 time in total.
#13884661
This is really about farmland in the long-run, for food security. If you happen to be in Japan, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, or South Korea, or an overseas supporter of any of those countries, you'll notice that investing in the arms of Keiretsus, Chaebols, or SOEs that are quietly buying farmland in places like Africa and South America, is one of the most profitable investments you can make - and one of the most effective ways to show solidarity with those countries (consider it a form of remittance!).

In some cases, you will even notice scenarios where all of them almost look like they are agreeing not to criticise each other for doing what they all know they are doing.

In some cases they even outright collaborate in unlikely ways, like how Japan's Itochu and China's COFCO are in an alliance to help each other carry out farmland acquisitions. Everyone has to kind of tread very softly and put their fingers to their mouths and look bewildered if asked any inconvenient questions.

I'll list the Japanese companies that I know are involved in this operation and will be good investments:
  • Mitsubishi
  • Itochu
  • Mitsui
  • Marubeni
  • Sumitomo

And Indian companies:
  • Tata group
  • RJ Corp
  • Shapoorji Pallonji & Co
  • McLeod Russel India
  • Borelli Tea Holdings
  • Karuturi Global
  • Rana Sugars

I'll leave it up to Verv and Igor to cover China and South Korea's actors, since they'd know those better than I would.

I want to comment on two concerns:
  • The concern of accidentally buying infertile land: This is becoming not so much of a concern - what looked like a bubble of possible-infertile land purchases at first, turns out to be less so, since Asian companies now possess the technology to do things such as desalinate land, and other such things (both Japan and India can do it now - I assume China can as well).

  • The ethical concern: Isn't it bizarre that in so many African states there are starving people, and yet the leaders of those states turn around and let Asians take up "999 year" (seriously) leases on farmland in large swathes? Well, to quote the fictional female samurai Tsukikage Ran: "Some forms of stupidity can only result in death."

And wait until you hear about the plans to build special Asian-administrated cities in Africa, where Africans will have to apply to enter and get housing and schooling and work there, but it will carry special rules like 'you can only take out health insurance on one child'.

Africans are walking right into this one, so they will have no one to blame but themselves when they realise it. The logic of Karl Pearson's ethnically-motivated land acquisitions is playing out as we speak.

Invest now.
#13884664
Andropov wrote:The failure of the West to act upon it will be remembered as its fatal blunder.

If it weren't for all of the conservatives whining about "wasting" money on "worthless" Africa, this wouldn't be an issue. As it stands, Africa could well be China's main sphere of influence in a few decades.
#13884669
Well, to be fair to the USA, there are American companies that are trying to get into this as well, they are mostly hedge funds like Goldman Sachs and so on, I don't have the list for them on-hand though.

It's almost like a sort of 'land rush' but without any naked military force behind it.
#13884679
But hedge funds are in it just for the money. I don't see them building a $200m building.
Also, a $200m building is not really "a gift" they will get their back scratched for this one real nice.
And hey, good for them.


Africa has absolutely massive potential. The failure of the West to act upon it will be remembered as its fatal blunder.

Its also a continent with a lot of warfare. Ethics is holding us back a lot.
And that is not such a bad thing either. We fucked up enough of the world allready.

This is so annoying.

is it? You don't want them to immigrate to England to work, and you don't want them to have stuff to get some prosperity going in Africa so they wont come (less) to England. No doubt you're against giving them $200m for a building. WTF do you want? Them being poor slaves and do our work for us in Africa?
#13884728
This is an interesting development. China definitely is taking the ball dropped by Western powers here. And yes, there is a huge potential in Africa, but the US will start investing soon. The rise of a truly African power will take a while to happen – and it will probably be Nigeria. Whatever happens, Africa will probably be fully developed in the next 200 years or so...

And the AU flag sucks :p
#13884884
We spend billions feeding poor Africans, fighting diseases and providing healthcare, education and sanitation. For what return? Yet more mouths to feed and more failed societies to prop up. The Chinese spend billions buying resources and influence. The West needs to learn from China, or rather learn from it's own past.

A second scramble for Africa is underway and we have been caught napping.
#13884889
Otebo wrote:We spend billions feeding poor Africans, fighting diseases and providing healthcare, education and sanitation. For what return? Yet more mouths to feed and more failed societies to prop up. The Chinese spend billions buying resources and influence. The West needs to learn from China, or rather learn from it's own past.


Exactly. It makes no sense to spend millions in helping Africa, if that money will not be invested in actual infrastructure. Certainly, feeding starving children is okay (and should even be encouraged), but what is the point, if they will go back to starvation the minute that money stops coming? That has to come together with investment in their industry, buying more resources etc, so they have the money to help themselves...
#13884891
Smertios, regarding your previous post, some projections are showing an african population larger than China+India in the future. With the depletion of their water resources, development would be impossible. On the other hand, crazy projections for muslim countries have been proven wrong (Maghreb countries, Turkey, Iran have now quite low TFRs).
Great improvements of agricultural yields are possible, hence why lands are sold to Gulf and Asian countries; they don't have the capital and training to extract much from them anyway.

However I doubt neither side is fooled by 999 years leases, except some posters, given the state of property and rule of law right now in most of Africa. It has more of a token value, I should assume. Even if contracts were serious, political instability would provide endless opportunity to scrap them. 5% of that duration would already be quite a feat.
#13885471
Smertios wrote:Exactly. It makes no sense to spend millions in helping Africa, if that money will not be invested in actual infrastructure.

Spending foreign aid "fight disease" etc is just plugging holes when there is a flood. That spending is good-willed, but short-sighted.
#13885474
Rei Murasame wrote:This is so annoying. I have to give China some credit for that, that's a pretty smart idea.



This is all true...

But I am less annoyed... Of course, the Chinse do not hold Verv's interests close to their bosoms... But how can I be upset with good plans for success? :lol:

Especially in a day and age when the traditional power structures are waning...
#13885500
Otebo wrote:We spend billions feeding poor Africans, fighting diseases and providing healthcare, education and sanitation. For what return? Yet more mouths to feed and more failed societies to prop up.

my exact feelings.
Sending food never solved their problem.
And their problem are a lack of food, no prosperity and to much violence. When they get a chance to make some money and get food on the table, than hardly anybody will choose to leave that certainty of a rather ok life and risk being blown up for what is left of an other guys blown up property.
#13885892
Maas, while either trolling or failing at reading comprehension wrote:is it? You don't want them to immigrate to England to work, and you don't want them to have stuff to get some prosperity going in Africa so they wont come (less) to England. No doubt you're against giving them $200m for a building. WTF do you want? Them being poor slaves and do our work for us in Africa?

I believe the second sentence in the post you quoted from, as well as my subsequent post after that, answered that question. I find it hard to believe that you aren't trolling me.

It's annoying because China annoys me (obviously I was hoping that they wouldn't be the ones who get to be in the limelight). However I support these plans anyway - and it's pretty well-known that I almost always do, enough to even say I'd put my own money behind it and call for others to do the same.

I don't think anyone failed to grasp that. You can't possibly be so lacking in reading comprehension. Just because I'm a 'hater', doesn't mean I'm some irrational caricature of what you think that is.

Rei Murasame in her first post wrote:that's a pretty smart idea.

Rei Murasame in her second post (emphasis added) wrote:This is really about farmland in the long-run, for food security. If you happen to be in Japan, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, or South Korea, or an overseas supporter of any of those countries, you'll notice that investing in the arms of Keiretsus, Chaebols, or SOEs that are quietly buying farmland in places like Africa and South America, is one of the most profitable investments you can make - and one of the most effective ways to show solidarity with those [Asian] countries (consider it a form of remittance!).
#13885921
The real significance of the Chinese purchasing of African farmland has not been understood. The point is that the World is running out of usable farmland. That will result in starvations in the next few decades. Worldwide several millions of acres are lost each year due to the intensive use of land by industrial farming. Degradation and desertification of farmland is particularly dramatic in China. Having destroyed a substantial part of its own farmland due to intensive cultivation, China now buys up land in Africa; however, tropical or arid soils in Africa are even more at risk. They cannot stand industrial farming for more than a few years. Large scale monoculture projects funded by China or the West in Africa will invariably lead to the deterioration of land, the destruction of local communities and the emigration of the local populations to the cities or to Europe.
#13885966
Either that or you will see Africans dying first rather than Asians dying, which is the implicit point of why everyone has started to descend on Africa again.

Regarding the issue of land degradation in various forms (the most prominent one being salinity), this is something that is being worked on already by East Asian (again, it is not just China) states: [Link]
#13886149
Rei Murasame wrote:Either that or you will see Africans dying first rather than Asians dying, which is the implicit point of why everyone has started to descend on Africa again.


The ones to die first are those with little buying power. That is already happening today, irrespective of the big African land-grab.

Rei Murasame wrote:Regarding the issue of land degradation in various forms (the most prominent one being salinity), this is something that is being worked on already ...


Salinity is only part of the problem. Other problems are: loss of fertility, loss of soil due to erosion, loss of soil organisms, loss of biodiversity, depletion of water resources, depletion of natural resources for making fertilizers, etc.

All of these problems have a single cause: technology (ie. industrial farming). Regarding salinity: your food is grown in dead soil by applying synthetic fertilizers in nitrate (salt) form, the nutrients disappear, but the salt stays, that is the reason why there is a problem with salinity in farming soils.

The only real solution is to stop using chemicals and feed the soil organically. But nobody can make a lot of money with “dirt” (ie. fertile soil). Therefore, industry applies more technology to solve the problems created by technology in the first place. That means more business and more profits for industry, but the problem will only get worse. And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or ignorant.

PS: The tsunami has nothing to do with the degradation of farming soils. There is a solution to salinity and to the other problems, but that solution is being ignored because it is not a money making solution.
#13886196
Rei Murasame wrote:It's annoying because China annoys me / You can't possibly be so lacking in reading comprehension. Just because I'm a 'hater'

OK, so next time I will immagine that you're just a hater and extremistic fascist that can be annoyed by random foreign nations, even when you didn't write it down so you can't accuse me of lacking reading comprehension. :roll:
doesn't mean I'm some irrational caricature of what you think that is.

I fail to see the rational part of being annoyed at China for doing this just because its China.


Salinity is only part of the problem. Other problems are: loss of fertility, loss of soil due to erosion, loss of soil organisms, loss of biodiversity, depletion of water resources, depletion of natural resources for making fertilizers, etc.

I seriously doubt China wants all kinds things to occure that potentially could damage their farmland in Africa. And so loss of fertility, loss of soil etc... I don't see that happening. Than again, depletion of things and wildlife... yeah. They will pay a high price. They always to pay a high price for human activities. It won't be any different than in Europe and US. So us saying that may not happen and so convicting Africans to hardly any development, is just hyporcrytical.
Last edited by Maas on 01 Feb 2012 16:47, edited 1 time in total.
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