China in Africa Round-up 07.30: China-Niger Oil Deal, African Art in Beijing, and China’s Power Diplomacy

 

Outcry Over China- Oil Deal

From the BBC:

A multi-billion dollar oil deal between China and the west African state of Niger has been denounced by unions and transparency campaigners. Civil rights groups in Niger are calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the $5bn (£2.5bn) contract and for scrutiny of how funds will be spent.

China’s state oil company was given oil exploration rights in Niger in June. There is widespread concern that the people of Niger will not benefit from the country’s oil wealth. […]

China recently said it would invest $5bn in Niger over the next three years to develop oil production.

But a coalition of organisations in Niger has called for a parliamentary investigation into the deal and an examination of how the funds resulting from the agreement are spent. […]

Unless the deals are transparent and accounts published, it is almost impossible to spot any corruption.

That is why campaigners are now making noise in Niger as they hope China’s vast investment will break the mould and actually benefit the population. 

African Becomes Popular in Beijing

From Xinhua:

“African art is pure and unrestricted. It is the most original and advant-courier expression of human feelings,” said Cheng Hui, a member of Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association.

Cheng is also the executive director of a handcraft chain shop “Close to ”. The shop started from a stall in a Beijing-based shopping mall which sold -made handcrafts. Now there are 50 chain shops under the name of “Close to ” across the country.

He said he would open a factory in Beijing to make products featured with African flavors.

“We cannot rely on imports to meet growing domestic demand. We are going to use African materials and hire African craftsmen to produce things like bags, lights and sofa,” he said.

Aside from handicrafts, mysterious African music and dances are seen displayed in Beijing’s bars and pubs. More and more foreign students from Africa joined the performances.

“African culture becomes popular in China because Chinese begin to accept diversified foreign cultures other than Occident ones.” said Ms. Zhang who has worked with the Embassy of the Republic of Senegal and Tunisian Embassy in Beijing.

China Sides With Developing Nations in Trade Talks

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

China’s willingness to let the latest round of global trade talks collapse is a sign of how the emerging giant’s ties with other developing nations are growing in importance.

The talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva foundered after member countries couldn’t agree on a proposal to allow developing nations special “safeguard” tariffs to shield their farmers from low-price imports. Wealthy nations led by the U.S. heaped blame on India and China for blocking a global deal over a narrow point. The poorer countries, chiefly India, blasted the rich nations for coddling their farmers at a time of record food prices. […]

China’s trade with other emerging markets — from Asian neighbors like Indonesia and Malaysia to the Persian Gulf and Africa — has been booming, even as its exports to the U.S. have slowed sharply this year. China has been particularly active in developing economic ties with Africa, with its companies building infrastructure projects there and striking large mining deals.

Some of those relationships have come under fire by Western critics, most notably in the case of China’s ties with Sudan and Myanmar. But they highlight how China seems to be looking for future growth outside the U.S. and Europe. And that gives China less incentive to participate in negotiations that are still dominated by those big powers.

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