By Sonakshi Madan:
Africa, the richest continent in terms of natural resources, is facing a course of neo colonialism. Neocolonialism is defined as the practice of using capitalism and business globalization to command over a country that includes indirect access to political domination. In simpler terms, it is defined as the “last stage of imperialism.”
China’s (one of the leading producers of the world) mounted interest in African nations has raised several questions. China’s sway on Africa has increased considerably. Hilary Clinton has even exhorted Africans by emphasizing that during colonial times, countries extract the natural resources for their own benefit, pay heavily to the leaders and leave behind a trace of natural resources insufficient for the locals. In Lusaka, Clinton said, “We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.”
Though she didn’t mention directly about China’s advancing penetration in investment practices in Africa, but she alluded by saying, “When people come to Africa to make investments, we want them to do well but also want them to do good. We don’t want them to undermine good governance in Africa.” Her officials later affirmed that she wanted to emphasize that African nations should watch out for Chinese move and hold their own investors at apex.
The current pace of depletion of natural resources in Africa to satiate the surplus demands by China is the onset of the new era of colonialism. The great controversy created by this has posed several problems. Chinese are found mistreating their workers. According to sources, several Zambian workers lost their lives while an accident occurred in an explosives factory which was owned by the Chinese. The pathetic working condition in the factory was investigated as the prime cause behind the accident. Chinese form one of the largest block in construction and oil industries in Libya. China’s investment is above $20 billion in Libya. China has invested several millions of dollars for doubling the manganese output in Ivory Coast. Several workers were fired from work in Collum mine (A mine owned by Chinese in Zambia) after they demanded an increase in wages along with improvement in working conditions.
Chinese do not adhere to the minimum wage limit, they do not pay fair and square to the Africans neither they provide protective clothing to prevent accidents in hazardous factories. Several Chinese investors have signed contracts with Africans and created mines to push out resources for the exhausting supply of raw materials for China.
There is no substitute for greed. The temporary success of China poses a threat to the euphoria. There is a great possibility that the emergence of China might revive the old colonialism in a new way. The China-African venture might bring the period of unrest and instability back, if African nations are not cautious while handling this grim situation.