Clinton to Africa: Keep a Weather Eye on China

Posted: Jun 10, 2011 5:10 PM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently on a diplomatic mission in Africa that includes stops in Zambia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania (as has been well-publicized, seeing as how Anthony Weiner’s possibly-pregnant wife is resolutely accompanying her). Among the items on the agenda are HIV/AIDS, food security, and economic growth, but Clinton also dropped this little bomb:

She quickly zeroed in on the fast expanding clout of China, which pumped almost $10 billion dollars in investment into Africa in 2009 and has also seen trade soar as Beijing buys oil and other raw materials to fuel its booming economy.

"The United States does not see these Chinese interests as inherently incompatible with our own," Clinton told reporters in Lusaka, adding that Washington believed everyone benefited as Beijing assumes "a greater and more responsible role" in world affairs.

"We are however concerned that China's foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests," she said.

Clinton's comments echo Washington's concern that China's quick economic push into Africa -- including billions of dollars in development aid unfettered by political or economic requirements -- risk scuttling efforts to help the continent develop a more mature and transparent economy.

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, whose country has attracted Chinese investment in mining and in May received a $180 million dollar loan to upgrade a major road, said Africa's ties with Beijing were healthy and long-standing.

Good for her – the Chinese government is sneaky, deceptive, and chock-full of hypocrisies, human-rights abuses, and hidden agendas, and I don’t like ‘em.

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