Category Archives: Country Post

News Post (Jorgic, Croome): Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Author Says Aid Cuts Small Price to Pay

In its discussion of a recent bill passed in Uganda imposing jail terms for homosexual acts, this article brings to light the role of the international community in addressing issues of social justice within African countries. This Anti-Homosexuality Act has resulted in extreme backlash from a number of Western donors who, in response, have withheld and diverted substantial aid.

Many of the arguments rationalizing this reaction point to the potential they believe enacting this law creates to promote human rights violations. Alternatively, it has been contended that such a response from donors ignores the fundamental differences in social attitudes existing between Western and African countries. Regardless of the legitimacy of either of these claims, this article raises the question of the degree to which aid should be employed as a mechanism for promoting moral values.

It is undeniable that this event reflects historic trends instituted by colonizers who strategically used aid as a means of implementing Western belief systems in African states. Such involvement has served to influence the nature of relations between donors and recipients.

These trends have clearly persisted and it remains an area of contention as to whether using aid in this way is ethical or even effective. It is crucial to consider such historic examples and their outcomes in order to determining if the responses from Western donors in this instance can ultimately be validated.

 

Article:

Jorgic, Drazen and Croome, Philippa.  “Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Author Says Aid Cuts Small Price to Pay.”  Reuters, March 3, 2014.  http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/uk-uganda-gaybill-author-idUKBREA220P920140303.

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Senegal’s Foreign Relations

Senegal has close ties with several foreign governments that are both cultural and economic links. One of Senegal’s oldest and most complicated relationships is with France. Post-colonial Senegal has many cultural and political ties still to France despite efforts to diversify. France is the official language of Senegal despite a roughly 20% literacy rate for citizens; the most widely spoken language being Wolof. Senegal presidents have classically been educated in France, are friends with French leaders and vacation in parts of France. French poetry and the French curriculum are taught in Senegalese schools. Political ties are also strong. Senegal uses French currency and France is the largest source of imports at 16.2% and an important recipient of exports at 4.7%. France was originally a supported of independence for the colonies with the assumption that these colonies would become part of a French federation. France has helped Senegal maintain political stability through financial support and support in international organizations. Senegal is an important foothold for France in Africa but has also limited the Senegalese economy from branching to far. Senegal has recently been trying to break the strong neocolonial relationship it has with France by looking into English, American and Chinese markets.

 

Another important relationship Senegal has tried to foster is one with China and East Asia. Senegal only recognized Taiwan from 1996 through 2005 making trade between Mainland China and Senegal nonexistent. In October of 2005 a new Senegalese government official recognized the PRC due to pressure from Chinese immigrants in Senegal. Since 2005 aid has ranged from contracting the construction of infrastructure to loans towards to building of high-voltage power transmission lines and transformer substations. Immigration from China has increased rapidly since 2005 and there are currently over 200 Chinese owned businesses in Dakar forming a “Chinatown”. 94% of the trade between these two countries is based on importing cheap goods for resale in Chinatown. Many Senegalese venders have complained about the competition between the Chinese and the Senegalese and have tried to ban more immigration. The competition does however help boost Senegal’s economy by creating more competitive pricing and forcing companies to search for new markets like rural and poor areas. Though there is little interaction outside the business dealings between Senegalese and Chinese in Senegal, citizens working in Chinatown are often learning Mandarin and business owners are learning French. Issues concerning ethnic violence are still problematic in Dakar and police forces often favor natives in these cases.

 

Senegal completely surrounds the Gambia and the cultural and historical connection between these two counties has been complicated and nuanced for centuries. Senegal was France’s first black colony in Africa and was used as the main port for the slave trade to the United States. England also had a stake in the area with their territory the Gambia. The borders between these two colonies were often amorphous and ever changing causing ongoing conflict in the area. Both European powers wanted the access to the ports and their claim to the territory overlapped along the Senegal River. With the end of colonial rule, Senegal maintained strong economic ties to France only while the Gambia had a more global trading plan. The union of the two states in 1982 was brought about by fear of uprising from both sides. Coups and civil unrest over the unclear borders brought violence and mistrust to the region. After Senegambia was former the integration proved harder than anticipated due to conflicting cultural, religious and economic ideas. The union was dissolved 7 years later. Today the two countries maintain a good but restrained relationship. There is ongoing conflict in the region over the Casamance province and both countries have sought to establish diplomatic relations in the name of peace keeping in the province and in all of West Africa.

 

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Botswana’s foreign relations

The three main countries who have the most involvement with the state of Botswana would be: South Africa, The United States, and last but not least Russia.

Out of all the African countries, South Africa by far has the most involvement with the country of Botswana. Between these two countries they have had a long history of border disputes due to the British Protectorate.  Along the theme of disputes; South Africa has also attacked Botswana a number of times during their apartheid era in South Africa. In fact, South Africa last launched an attack on a military base in Botswana in the year 1986. Due to Western involvement: South Africa quickly halted all military exploits against Botswana when they gained support internationally to fight against the apartheid. Thus, from the World’s pressure to rid apartheid; South Africa eventually gave up their efforts towards trying to annex Botswana under South African rule. They have  now shift their focus to more of an economic orientated plan.  Since this feud Botswana and South Africa have made several agreements to help advance both their countries economically. Since the beginning of their diplomatic relationship in 1994 the two countries have been able to form SADC, which has done wonders for the African community. Another relationship that is fostering Botswana growth would be their relationship with the United States.

The United States and Botswana since the apartheid have been very close international partners. The U.S. had an important influence during the apartheid era in southern Africa. Due to the U.S.’s involvement; they have been able to maintain a  stable relationship with Botswana in terms of trade. Botswana has one of the richest diamond themed resource in all of the World. The U.S. is very aware of this valuable resource and has done everything it can to  maintain a stable relationship with Botswana. They’ve been able to achieve this stable relationship through their involvement in Aid programs with the country of Botswana. The U.S. has improved Botswana’s AID’s epidemic miraculously in the past few decades. The result of this improvement had thoroughly shaped a bright future for Botswana economically, and infrastructure.

Another country who has had a recent involvement in Botswana relations would be the nation of China. In fact, their relationship is so recent that it was only established for the first time in 1975. Beginning in the 1980s; economic and commercial relationships expanded exponentially. In 2008,  total trade  between Botswana and China was  360 million US dollars. From January 2009 to October 2009, trade volume still totaled 193 million in 10 months despite the worldwide recession. In February 2009, Chinese government officials influenced Botswana to further develop economic relations. The Chinese wanted to expand their relations specifically in Botswana’s crucial diamond industry. An industry that many outside influences have tried to obtain from Botswana. Chinese had done a lot to develop Botswana’s financial situation as well. They held their first forum in 2000, and the Chinese government has successfully delivered 129 million in development of Botswana’s finance. This isn’t just a national interest. It’s also has a strong investment quality as well. The Chinese government isn’t only assisting; private banks are getting on the Botswana wave as well. There relationship is also growing domestically. China has over 28 projects stationed in Botswana involving railways, roads, health facilities, and low-cost housing. Also, China has had an influence on Botswana civilians as well by being involved in the University of Botswana. China has aided in the in promotion of Chinese culture, history, and language but helping found the Confucius institute at the University. This has had a large impact ton the local population. The effect can be seen in the following fact: In the year 2005 only 400 Botswana’s had traveled to China. In 2008 that size nearly tippled; proving that China has had a large influence on Botswana.

 

Sources:

http://www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/bilateral/botswana.html#his

http://www.sadc.int/

 

 

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Foreign Relations of South Africa

South Africa’s foreign relations have opened up significantly since the fall of apartheid, before which they were crippled by sanctions and effectively confined to the so-called “pariah countries” with whom apartheid South Africa had historical links. President Zuma’s central role in fostering this greater openness is symbolized by his decision to rename the Department of Foreign Affairs the “Department of International Relations and Cooperation” (DIRCO) in 2009. South African foreign policy is now best characterized by an emphasis on human rights, a concern with promoting democracy, peace and stability in other countries experiencing transition, and a determination to reduce the economic disparities between the global North and South. The foreign countries that matter most to South Africa are those that can best help it achieve these strategic interests: the United States, China and Zimbabwe.

South Africa has maintained an excellent bilateral relationship with the United States throughout the post-apartheid era and particularly under the Zuma and Obama Administrations. In addition to being a source of assistance in fighting HIV/AIDs, and cooperation on issues of counter-terrorism and military relations, the United States provides significant financial assistance to South Africa to help it meet its developmental goals through the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The United States is also South Africa’s largest export destination. Despite South Africa’s recent interest in bolstering the influence of the global South as a counterweight to US power, cooperation and good relations with the United States are fundamental to South Africa’s development, stability and reputation for promoting democracy.

The improvement of South Africa’s relations with China has been an important part of the country’s efforts to align itself with the global South and promote domestic economic growth through foreign investment. It was only after the fall of the Soviet Union that South Africa was able to establish official relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), before which relations were unofficially antagonistic. Since then, President Zuma has made concerted efforts to expand its economic and trade cooperation with China, calling China one of South Africa’s most important strategic partners and joining the BRICS group of emerging economies in 2010. As of 2011, South Africa was China’s largest trading partner in Southern Africa. While Chinese foreign aid to South Africa remains small relative to that of the United States, contributions from emerging donor countries like China have become increasingly important to South Africa as a developing country. Because South Africa views China’s success in reducing poverty and promoting growth as a policy inspiration, a close relationship with China also helps South Africa ensure that the position of the countries of the South is not prejudiced in the world economy.

In contrast to the United States and China, Zimbabwe’s importance to South Africa does not stem from its direct contributions to South African economic development or political influence, but rather from the “key role” that Obama has credited South Africa in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. Since 2000, South Africa has seen a massive influx of migrants entering the country Zimbabwe to escape oppression, unemployment and severe inflation. These migrants threaten to worsen high unemployment and resource scarcity in the country. Even so, South Africa has worked to help mediate and end Zimbabwe’s long political crisis without criticizing President Mugabe’s authoritarian rule or seeming to have a stake in the outcome. Between 2005 and 2011, South Africa donated $93 million worth of aid to Zimbabwe. The significance of South Africa’s history of (often morally suspect) involvement in Zimbabwe’s affairs is that to international observers, it appears to be an example of South Africa acting on its commitments to help improve the political stability of its African neighbors, build confidence in the continent and ultimately make way for regional economic integration and democracy in Africa.

Sources:

Johan Lagerkvist and Gabriel Johnson, “Foreign Aid, Trade and Development: The Strategic Presence of China, Japan and Korea in sub-Saharan Africa,” The Swedish Institute of International Affairs

http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2009/07/20-south-africa-mangcu

http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=230

http://capetown.chineseconsulate.org/eng/xwdt/t726883.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/23/world/africa/23zimbabwe.html?pagewanted=all&module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A10%22%7D&_r=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93South_Africa_relations

http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2013/09/26/sa-helps-zimbabwe-with-93m-in-aid-funds

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Angola’s Relations with China, South Africa, and Portugal

China is in many ways one of the most, if not the most, important trading partner to Angola. China has been involved in Angolan affairs for decades, providing funding for the Angolan liberation fighters and has been a major trading partner of Angolan oil. For many years, Angola was the top oil exporter to China, and Chinese investment over the years has expanded into widespread infrastructure projects. The Chinese premier has visited Angola twice, and economic and foreign affairs ministers from both states have made several trips to each other’s nations over the years. Both countries describe their relationship as being mutually advantageous, with Angola needing economic aid and development and China needing natural resources, which Angola has in abundance. Chinese investment has undoubtedly benefitted in many ways Angolan infrastructure, as their many projects include building hospitals, schools, and economic centers. Chinese involvement has also been criticized however, as the construction projects undertaken by Chinese companies are often staffed entirely with Chinese laborers. Some criticize the relationship as benefitting only Angolan elites and Chinese companies, as the projects are given to them over Angolan companies and Angolan workers. This in some ways hinders development as it leaves infrastructure building in the hands of outsiders and obstructs the expansion of certain Angolan workforces. It’s also questioned whether Chinese investment in Angolan oil has perpetuated Angola’s resource curse by keeping the ruling party rich from profits and keeping the government from diversifying its economy. China has also given Angola billions of dollars in aid and credit, which as we’ve discussed in class, is not necessarily beneficial for a state’s economy. The relationship in some ways benefits both countries, but the long-term benefits to Angola are often questioned.

The EU, particularly Portugal, and South Africa are other major partners for Angola. South Africa has a strong historical relationship with Angola, as both ruling parties for the states fought together during past wars. The nations have established the Angola-South Africa Joint Commission for Cooperation, in which bilateral agreements are made on how to progress trade and relations between the countries. Angola has become South Africa’s top trading partner on the continent, and the two nations are often in cooperation in African politics. Portugal’s relations with Angola post-independence have been strong as well, particularly after 1991 when the government embraced democracy over communism. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Angola made headlines in 2011 when it announced the beginning of Angolan aid and investment to Portugal amidst that nation’s financial crisis. The reversal of fortune has created some tension between nations, however, with rich Angolan families becoming the main shoppers in the fanciest parts of Lisbon. Angola’s reputation for extreme corruption has also brought criticism to Portugal for accepting Angolan aid. The nations undoubtedly have a special relationship after their long history together, with elites of both nations frequently mixing and traveling between the nations. There is also a substantial portion of young Portuguese who consider Angola a promising market for future careers or advancement. As the financial situations in both nations develop and change, Angola’s relationship with Portugal will undoubtedly take turns as well; unlike other partners, however, there are cultural links that make the relationship dependent on factors besides the economy.

 

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/03/portugal-economy-bailout-angola-invests

Manuel Ennes Ferreira. 2008. Chapter 15. “China in Angola: Just a Passion for Oil?” in China Returns to Africa edited by Chris Alden, Daniel Large, and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angola%E2%80%93South_Africa_relations

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Kenya foreign relations

Many of Kenya’s most important ties lie with Uganda, Tanzania, China, the United States, and India. From an economic and political standpoint, the last three have an especially enormous influence in Kenya.
Uganda and Tanzania’s social and economic ties with Kenya are strengthened through the East African Community organization. The three nations have made other attempts at integration, such as the 1961 East African Common Services Organization (EACSO), which attempted to create a common currency. In 2013, several nations within the EAC met in Kampala to draft a constitution for an East African Federation, a proposed political union of the EAC nations as a single federated sovereign state.
China in particular has invested a lot in Kenya’s development. From 2000-2012 alone, China has initiated over 65 Official Development finance projects for Kenya. These include a $108 million grant for building North and East Ring Road sections in Nairobi and a loan to finance the construction of the Kenyatta University Teaching, Research, and Referral project.
Kenya has enjoyed trade links and commercial ties with India for several centuries. First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, went as far as to ask Indians to identify themselves with Africans in order to give support to Jomo Kenyatta and the Kenyan African National Union Party. Prior to an increase in trade with China, India was Kenya’s largest exporter. From a political standpoint, India and Kenya often cooperate with each other in international forums such as those of the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Shortly after Kenya declared its independence from the United Kingdom, the United States was quick to recognize Kenya as a new nation. As mentioned in a previous journal post, the United States has also invested a lot in Kenya’s development, especially relative to many other African nations. Among other projects, the US invested approximately $50 million through USAID to counter corruption specifically in Kenya.
Something important to note about Kenya’s relations with these partners is that the balance of trade is heavily India, China, or the US’s favor. In 2002 for example, China exported approximately $180 million worth of goods to Kenya while Kenya only exported $5.8 million worth of goods to China; in 2011-2013, $2.3 billion out of $2.4 billion worth of total trade between India and Kenya composed of Kenya’s imports of Indian goods. In 2006, China also signed an oil exploration contract, allowing CNOOC Ltd, China’s state owned offshore oil company, to prospect for oil in Kenya. While fingers are often pointed at the West for taking advantage of African nations, other eastern nations have clearly reaped economic benefits in their relations with Kenya. That being said, their economic investments are still a vital aspect to the Kenya’s overall development.

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/NEH/kforeignrelation.htm

http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/ken/

http://www.csmonitor.com/1981/0312/031250.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenya%E2%80%93United_States_relations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Kenya_relations

http://china.aiddata.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indians_in_Kenya

http://www.hcinairobi.co.ke/india-kenya-overview

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Nigeria and Foreign Actors

Nigeria has generally good relations with its immediate neighbors in Africa, and its most significant economic ties are with the world’s larger economies. Thus, this entry will focus on global economic relations more than local security relations. Foreign actors can improve life for average people in a given country. They can also engage in relations that offer benefits for the state or narrow interests at the exclusion of the larger population. Trade is traditionally assumed to deliver economic benefits to both parties, but the way in which relatively developed countries operate in a developing country such as Nigeria is likely to have inevitable externalities. These externalities can be positive (e.g. knowledge-sharing and standard enforcement) or negative (e.g. negligent, corrupt, and exploitative practices).

The involvement of China in Nigeria illustrates a certain type of foreign relationship – one that delivers mutual economic benefits, contributes to general development, and involves a host of uncertain externalities. Trade between the two countries has expanded rapidly in recent decades, from $384m in 1998 to $13b in 2014. One indicator of whether and how China “matters” to Africa is public perception. Over 85% of Nigerians surveyed have a positive view of China and its involvement in Nigeria. This indicated that China’s contributions to the Nigerian economy, which have come primarily in the form of increased trade, oil infrastructure development, and investment (Wikipedia).

There are critiques of certain forms of Chinese investment on the grounds that it tends to involve Chinese companies and be oriented towards Chinese resource needs. However, certain infrastructure investments can be a boon both to the investors and to locals. For example, an oil refinery is being built by a Chinese Company right outside of Lagos, increasing local refinery capacity that was lacking. This type of investment is not solely extractive, in contrast with investment in extraction sites and certain roads. However, investment in an oil refinery is also limited and underscores Nigeria’s poor state capacity to provide public services such as sufficient energy distribution infrastructure (The Economist, 2010). Additionally, much Chinese investment in Nigeria comes without stringent regulations and likely works around existing corruption.

Nigeria’s relationship with India has progressed in a similar vein to its relationship with India. India has invested in many Nigerian industries, imports large volumes of Nigerian petroleum resources. Indian trade with Nigeria, at $20 billion, is even larger than China’s trade with Nigeria. India and Nigeria have a collaborative relationship, according to some sources, where Indian companies employ Nigerians in managerial positions and vice versa (The Nigeria Guardian, 2014).

The US and Nigeria have an economic relationship based largely on oil and resource extraction but involving other types of investment and aid as well.  Multinational energy companies such as Shell and Exxon have targeted Africa for some time, and India and China are beginning to do the same (Lagerkvist 2011). Many multinational corporations with American origins invest in Nigeria due its growing consumer base and its cultural capital in sub-Saharan Africa. Large consumer companies like Nestle and Proctor and Gamble have plans to expand dramatically in Nigeria (The Economist 2014). Nigeria tends to expect different things from its relationship with the US than with its other significant economic partners, which may have to do with a clash between perceptions of neo-colonialism and Nigerian patriotism (The Washington Post 2014).

Sources:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2010/07/investing_nigeria

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/despite-joint-search-for-missing-girls-nigeria-and-united-states-are-wary-partners/2014/05/29/68cbec9e-e683-11e3-a70e-ea1863229397_story.html

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21613341-make-it-big-africa-business-must-succeed-nigeria-continents-largest-market-no

http://ngrguardiannews.com/business/180802-india-nigeria-to-deepen-trade-relations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Nigeria_relations

http://www.nigeria.gov.ng/2012-10-29-11-05-46/foreign-relations

http://www.ui.se/upl/files/54056.pdf

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journal 6

 

Libya’s foreign relationships were reshaped dramatically as a result of the revolution. Since the overthrow of Gaddafi, multiple nations, including the U.S., Italy and China, have supported political and economic stability through a combination of recognition of the new government, humanitarian aid, military protection, economic development and foreign trade.

 

The United Sates, along with NATO allies, played a large role in helping rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and has provided millions in aid and humanitarian assistance during Libya’s transitional period. The U.S. military supported the establishment and stabilization of the new government. The United States is the largest provider of aid and one of Libya’s major economic trading partners. Additionally, the U.S. has taken steps to provide Libya access to its financial assets that remain overseas since the Gaddafi regime.

 

 

Libya has a centuries-old relationship with its former colonial power, Italy. After the end of its civil war in 2011, Italy has recognized and supported the transitional government, provided military personnel and economic aid. Additionally, Italy has provided Libya with 4,000,971 euro to the humanitarian crises that continue to escalate. Italy is Libya’s largest economic trading partners in terms of exports and imports. In 2013, Italy accounted for 30% of Libya’s $49.1 billion in exports and provides 17% of Libya’s imports.

 

 

China has an increasingly important economic relationship with Libya. Trade between China and Libya reached $4.9 billion in the third quarter of 2010, a 46.5% increase from 2009, the bulk of which were oil exports from China. Exports of crude petroleum from Libya to China increased and Chinese exports to Libya also grew by 3.8%, the majority of which consisted of industrial machinery, helping to contribute to Libya’s production capacity. While the export of oil to China and other countries account for the bulk of government revenues, Libya, like other African nations needs increased support from trading partners in helping them develop a broader economic foundation.

 

The U.S., China and Italy have contributed significantly to Libya’s, still, fragile economic and political progress following the revolution. The primary challenge in the coming years will be maintaining a stable, functioning government. It will also be essential for these and other allies to support Libya’s ability to leverage its substantial petroleum assets, while encouraging development of a more diversified industrial and economic base.

 

 

Sources:

 

 

African Economic Outlook. Libya. 2014. Accessed on 10 November 2014 http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/countries/north-africa/libya/

 

Gadzala, Aleksandra and Marek Hanusch. “African Perspectives on China-Africa: Gauging Popular Perceptions and Their Economic and Political Determinants.” January 2010. Afrobaromter Working Paper.

 

“Libya Trade and Economic Partnerships 2011.” 4 May 2012. Afribiz. Accessed on 10 November 2014 < http://www.afribiz.info/content/2012/libya-trade-and-economic-partnerships-2011>

 

“Trade in Libya.” 2012. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Accessed on 10 November 2014 < http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/lby/>

 

 

 

 

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Namibia and its relationship with China, Us and Germany

Namibia has definitely had a large influence from foreign countries such as China, the US, and Germany.

 

US: Overall, bilateral trade is not that strong between the two countries. The main interaction between the two countries is the US involvement in Namibia through the USAID organization, which is a development assistance and aid organization. It supports Namibia through economic support, good governance (democratic) support, and social support. One of its big achievements is its high focus on combating HIV/AIDS, which affects 13.1% of the population. Around a quarter of a million patients receive care and support for HIV/AIDS through USAID, thus enabling much more of the working population to work, improving economic growth and increasing the public opinion of the US in Namibia.

 

Germany: Due to its colonization of Namibia in the late 1800s and early 1900s, post-independence bilateral relationships between the two countries are established on friendship and Germany having a special responsibility for Namibia. Bilateral trade between the two countries is still insignificant compared to its bilateral development assistance programme. It emphasis poverty reduction, good governance and health, similar to that of USAIDS, up to now, since independence in 1990, this organization has provided over N$7 Billion in assistance. Thus,

 

While the previous two countries mainly interact with Namibia through strong assistance and aid, China takes a different approach, and has a much larger role in Namibia than Germany and the US.

 

China: China is by far the most important foreign partner of Namibia. China does not just provide Namibia with aid and development assistance, it provides education to students and civil servants, and there are over 1600 Chinese companies in Namibia, furthermore, many construction companies have planted themselves in Namibia, increasing the amount of infrastructure which could fuel economic growth in the long-term. Bilateral trade between Namibia is massive, amounting to N$2.7 billion in 2013, an increase of 33% from just one year ago. A friend of mine in Namibia even said every time he is in the airport in Windhoek, half of the people there are Chinese businessmen. However, it is all too good to be true. The Namibian people have been developing resentment against the Chinese. Chinese construction companies have been hiring migrant workers from China rather than from Namibia, thus losing the opportunity for jobs. Furthermore, hard Chinese work ethic has angered trade unions as Chinese companies were accused of underpaying workers and violating labor rights. In the northern Namibian town of Oshikango, Chinese resentment has been so strong that local practices involve in the regulation of Chinese shops. Now it is almost impossible in Oshikango to set up shop, as it is hard to get a license. Furthermore, Chinese construction companies have become serious competition for Namibian firms, as they are winning more contracts for building, putting the Namibian firms out of business.

 

China has no doubt been helping the Namibian economy grow over the past decade, however, if Chinese resentment continues to grow in Namibia, Chinese involvement in the country will diminish as less investment would be put into Namibia due to fear and stronger regulations against the Chinese. I believe if the Chinese could set up more ethical work behavior for the Namibians and stop importing migrant workers, Chinese resentment would be mitigated and a strong long-term economic relationship could be created, benefiting both countries massively.

 

http://www.kas.de/upload/Publikationen/2014/namibias_foreign_relations/Namibias_Foreign_Relations_pisani.pdf

 

http://www.kas.de/upload/Publikationen/2014/namibias_foreign_relations/Namibias_Foreign_Relations_lindeke.pdf

 

http://www.kas.de/upload/Publikationen/2014/namibias_foreign_relations/Namibias_Foreign_Relations_katjavivi.pdf

 

Gregor Dobler. 2008. Chapter 12. “Solidarity, Xenophobia and The Regulation of Chinese Businesses in Namibia.” in China Returns to Africa edited by Chris Alden, Daniel Large, and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.

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Cameroon: Friends of the French but Making New Friends

Much like nearly every other country to have been a colony of France, Cameroon remains to have very close ties to the French. France is the largest export destination for Cameroon by a large margin. This is very typical of former French colonies, due to France’s continued involvement on the continent. Despite that the French are beginning to temper their interests in Francophone countries, looking to involve themselves more in more resource-rich African nations and other regions of the world, they still remain heavily impactful on the Cameroonian economy. France is the number one provider of aid to Cameroon by an outlandish margin, as well as the number one import destination. Additionally, the old relations and camaraderie between Cameroonian elites and the French elites continues to support the French influence in the country and allows the French to maintain great diplomatic relations without immense effort. According to some, the economic ties between Cameroon and France are deepening and the presence of “French capitalism and nationalism” in Cameroon, allows their influence to continually expand.

A new player on the African continent and particularly in sub-Saharan countries like Cameroon, China has begun to gain a foothold in the economy of Cameroon. Despite its only very recent involvement, China has begun to rise on the list of Cameroon’s top import and export destinations. Historically, their relationship has been a bumpy one. Cameroon created diplomatic ties to Taiwan directly following their independence; however shortly after this they severed those ties in favor of diplomatic ties with the Chinese. Since Paul Biya has come to power in Cameroon, the relationship between Cameroon and China has extended greatly, with many diplomatic and economic visits from both sides. This was cumulated by the “first ever visit to Cameroon by a Chinese President (Hu Jintao) in January 2007,” (Kahn and Baye). Throughout Cameroon, there are many infrastructural developments that were financed by the Chinese underway. Due to this and the increased diplomatic ties, “China will soon rival France as the main source of imports.” Throughout Africa and no different in Cameroon, the Chinese’s policy of not intervening in state affairs has made them a morally preferred trading partner to the constantly-intervening Western nations.

Cameroon’s relations with their other colonial ruler, the British, have been far weaker than with the French. As they are with many other countries, particularly those in the Security Council, Cameroon’s relations towards the British have been very diplomatic. Britain hardly appears on list of the Cameroon’s top import and export destinations. Additionally, the amount of aid given by the British to Cameroon is literally microscopic in comparison to the French. However, recently there has been talk of their relations “entering a new phase” of increased involvement. For the British, this looks to be either completely diplomatic with no intention of a follow-through, mostly just meetings and talk but no actions, or a pursuit of a relationship of resource extraction, mainly oil. The Cameroon perspective of this new phase is one of hope but with great skepticism. The meetings between Cameroonian and British leaders are a step in the right direction but the years of little to no involvement have left the British far behind the French, Americans, many other Europeans and now the Chinese in the eyes of Cameroon.

Martin Antagana, “French Capitalism and Nationalism in Cameroon” 1997.

Kahn and Baye, “China-Africa Economic Relations: The Case of Cameroon” 2008.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/may/23/cameroon-france-colony-independence-commemorations

http://irokoheritage.com/2013/08/22/cameroon-special-relationship-with-france-a-benefit/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-closer-uk-cameroon-relations

https://www.cameroon-tribune.cm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75565:cameroon-uk-relations-entering-into-a-new-phase&catid=1:politique&Itemid=3

 

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