British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Africa to be wary of China during a visit to Nigeria. From The Daily Mail:
‘I believe the model of authoritarian capitalism [in China] we are seeing will fall short in the long term.
‘When people get economically richer they make legitimate demands for political freedoms to match their economic freedoms. This model is unable to respond.
‘Neither can it offer the confidence and stability needed for investment.’ He added: ‘If you are going to set up in business, you need to know that you can go to a court confident that a contract will be enforced objectively – including against the government.
‘And you need to know that your assets won’t suddenly be seized by the government.
‘Free societies can provide this stability and confidence.
‘So I passionately believe in liberal democracy – and I believe Africa can do it too.’
Cameron’s speech echoed remarks made last month in Zambia by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. From Bloomberg:
“We saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave,” Clinton said. “And when you leave, you don’t leave much behind for the people who are there. We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.”
Referring to China, Clinton said “I believe we are beginning to see a lot of problems that you are going to pay more attention to in the next 10 years.” The audience present during the recording clapped when she concluded by saying “young people will not accept to be told what to do.”
For a more optimistic view of China’s involvement in Africa, see China in Africa: A “New Colonialism”? via CDT.