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New Communist Party of Britain

AFRICA

The Group of Eight, G8, had until 2010 to deliver on the promises made in 2005 at Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid by $25 billion-a-year in real terms. To give their promises a kick start, the G8 countries resorted to an accounting exercise by cancelling the debts owed by some “friendly” countries. This exercise was relatively cheap as the actual value of the debt to the G8 was worthless because few, if any, debt repayments were likely to be made. Even with this kick start, by 2011 OECD member countries were giving on average 0.31 per cent of their national income, well below the 0.7 per cent target set by the United Nations. Britain contributed about 0.55 per cent, the highest of the G8 countries, Germany 0.4 per cent whilst the United States less than 0.2 per cent. A large proportion of US “aid” has been given to Iraq and Afghanistan. This aid is tiny when compared to the trillions of dollars used to bail out the banking sectors in Britain, US and Europe.

Africa, a continent of one billion people, has 10 per cent of global oil reserves, more than one-third of all known cobalt reserves It is also rich in base metals with South Africa having almost half the world’s gold deposits. But its share of world trade is small, about two per cent and its foreign direct investment in 2010 was only about three per cent ($48 billion) of the $1,120 trillion global foreign direct investment.

With all this potential wealth, Africa still has over 350 million people living in poverty. The African Development Bank (AfDB) says that in 2010, 113 million people had an income of between $150 and$600 (£100 and £390) a month, which it described as the “stable middle-class”. With rising food prices, inflation bears heavily on African families where in the poorest countries the money spent on food can occasionally exceed 75 per cent of total income.

Overall growth in Africa was per cent in 2011 and will grow by another six per cent in 2012 despite the capitalist crisis in the European Union, Japan and the United States. A lot of this growth is a result of trade with China, India and Brazil. There has been a 12-fold increase in trade with China, $120 billion in 2011, and in recent years China has imported almost half of its aluminium (bauxite), copper, iron ore and oil from Africa. In 2012 in almost every sector demand outstrips supply.

In recent years China has developed a new model for investing in developing countries based on the principles of non-interference, structural development, friendship and respect, and the Chinese model of development.

A trade deal signed in 2008 with the Democratic Republic of Congo included Chinese commercial investments totalling $6 billion to build 2,400 miles of roads, 2,000 miles of railways, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities, in addition to an earlier hydro dam. Chinese companies invested $8 billion in Sudan in 2009 in the oil, iron and cotton sectors, including a new seaport, tanker terminal, oil pipeline, a railway linking Chad with the sea, two iron ore processing plants, and agricultural infrastructure and training.

Elsewhere Chinese companies over the decades have built a railway and a 1,000 Mega-Watt hydro-electric plant in Nigeria; rebuilt the Benguela railway linking Angola and Zambia; a 1,000 km motorway on Algeria; the 1,860 km Tanzam railway linking Tanzania and Zambia and signed deals to build a mine, a dam, a hydroelectric plant, a railway, and a refinery in Guinea.

China has made similar commitments in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, with a Chinese-Iranian deal worth $70 billion.

It remains to be seen how urbanisation will impact on agriculture, which is generally undeveloped. But in urban areas there is a change in dietary preferences from grain-based to protein-based foodstuffs with the resultant development of manufacture.

The NCP will continue to campaign to ensure that the G8 honour its commitments made at Gleneagles in 2005 and that the aid be given unconditionally.

The NCP demands: