Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow
China has strong ambitions regarding the continent of Africa. It wants it as a type of “Bread Basket” to provide food for its one billion plus citizens. They are stealing the precious minerals that God has blessed our Motherland with. The aggression seems to be growing exponentially.
Recently, China established a naval base and an army outpost in the eastern nation of Djibouti. They are strategically located at the mouth of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Now the aggressive nation is seeking to step up their plan to take Africa over. Using an “easy credit rip-off scheme” they are attempting to seize the Port of Mombasa on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. How can they do this? It is explained in the Maritime Executive magazine:
“Kenya runs the risk of losing control of the Port of Mombasa if it should default on loans from state financial institution China Exim Bank, according to a new report from Ken-
ya’s auditor general. The terms of a $2.3 billion loan for Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) specify that the port’s assets are collateral, and they are not protected by Kenya’s sovereign immunity due to a waiver in the contract.
KRC accepted the multi-billion-dollar loan in order to build the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) with construction services provided by China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC), a division of state-owned conglomerate China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).
The payment arrangement agreement substantively means that the Authority’s revenue would be used to pay the Government of Kenya’s debt to China Exim bank if the minimum volumes required for (rail) consignment are not met. The China Exim Bank would become a principal over KPA if KRC defaults in its obligations.
In addition, any dispute with China Exim Bank would be handled through an arbitration process in China, not in Kenyan courts. The auditor general expressed concern that the port authority had not disclosed these arrangements in its financial statements.
Kenyan concerns about the transfer of a strategic seaport to China have precedent elsewhere. In December 2017, Sri Lanka handed control of a newly-built port of Hambantota to a Chinese operator in order to satisfy part of its significant debt to Chinese lenders.”
If China gets hold of the Port of Mombasa it will certainly put a naval and army presence there which would border our naval base next door. This is indeed threatening and a certain risk to our national security as well as that of all of Africa. It is an imperialistic attempt to take over the entire African continent and we have no alternative but to start “checking” this nation. Our EXIM bank and OPIC must compete via aggressive investment throughout Africa. Through good policy and strong leadership, we can turn this trend around. President Trump is to be applauded for addressing this trend.
Recently, our Bechtel Construction Co. signed a $4 billion contract with Kenya to build a new highway between Mombasa and Nairobi. Such U.S. contractual activity must be replicated throughout the continent. Let’s compete head on with China. If Africa becomes wise and aggressive in its infrastructure enhancement and eliminates its debilitating political corruption, it will become an economic powerhouse.
It is the destiny of African Americans to link up with our African brothers and sisters. We can change Africa from the poorest continent to the richest land on earth. The potential is undeniable, and it is in the best interest of the United States to ensure that we reach that potential. We must be firm in our intentions and make it clear to China that it must change its ways or go to hell. The era of us sitting by while China tries to rip off our roots needs to end abruptly.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce is going to “refresh” our approach regarding Africa. The trade missions will increase, and the investment opportunities will be exploited. It sickens us to arrive in various airports such as Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra, etc. and see construction signs written in Chinese Mandarin. A change is going to come and the sooner, the better.
Your feedback to this three-part series on the economic status of Africa and the current threat from China exploitation are welcome. Let’s come together for the benefit and future of both continents – Africa and North America and in addition to the entire African Diaspora throughout the world.
Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Ms. DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the NBCC. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Emails: [email protected] [email protected].