Thursday, November 02, 2006


The Chrisitan Science Monitor has two interesting articles today that are oddly related. The first is entitled "China Woos African Trade." The second is entitled "India Steps Up Trade Ties in Africa." Those two articles represent roughly 2.2 billion people interested in trade with Africa.

To be fair, the first article covers more of the problematic reality that the Chinese trade with the most repugnant regimes in Africa without taking any notice whatever of the human rights or internal governance issues the countries may have. Now that the cold war is over, the U.S. doesn't do that anymore (except for oil) . . . (or against terrorism).

Anyway, both articles mention the mineral wealth that Africa possesses and frame the issue as Africa being in the catbird seat between India and China (as well as the rest of the world). In addition, unmentioned in the articles are the trade benefits that the Europeans give to Africa, or either of the two programs the United States extends to African trade, as well as the free trade agreements the United States has negotiated (or is negotiating) in Africa. Seems like Africa is really moving forward!

Of course, even with all of these great friends, Africa still has a few issues. Thirty-four of the fifty least developed countries in the world are in Africa. Even as compared to all LDCs and other regions, Africa's LDCs have the lowest daily caloric intake, the lowest percentage enrollment in secondary schools, the lowest adult literacy, and the highest child mortality. Meanwhile this link shows the high incidence of A.I.D.S. in Africa. What the colonialist Belgians, French, English, Germans, Spanish, Italians, and Portuguese inadvertantly left in the soil in the 19th Century, the Chinese and Indians are now seeking. Whatever they don't get the United States will no doubt pursue. My guess, based on past history, is that this is not going to end well...

And so I say, if Africa's present is filled with friends, what would enemies do to it?


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