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Published on: January 10, 2014
China’s Congo Plan

Why the world’s poorest nation is embracing Chinese investment over Western aid.

Jacob Kushner reports on the extractives industry and development aid in Africa and the Caribbean. In 2012 his investigation scrutinizing US aid to post-earthquake Haiti won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award for digital investigative journalism. His research for this article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. His eBook, China's Congo Plan, is available through iTunes and Amazon.
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  • michaelj68

    Interesting article overall but I do found citing this off the mark:

    It isn’t merely an idea, but a policy that dates back half a century to a treatise signed between China and India in 1954 that outlined the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”: “mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity; nonaggression; noninterference in each other’s internal affairs; equality and mutual benefit; peaceful coexistence.”

    The article left out how China in 1962 attacked and humiliated India in the disputed border regions in the Himalayas. This tension between the two countries has flared up since then. If India felt secure with its neighbor one can question whether it would of developed nuclear weapons and is expanding the capabilities of its strategic forces and navy. China has been an ally of Pakistan providing diplomatic support, weapons, and nuclear know how.

    • Cam

      Michaelj68 does include some interesting history here with this comment. My question to this contributor is – What does the history between China/India/Pakistan have to do with this article and P.R.C. Congo Plan ?

  • Anthony

    Institutions will (political and economic ) always be determinative or matter. As Acemoglu and Robinson (“Why Nations Fail”) write economic prosperity is persistently rare under extractive institutions. China’s Congo Plan upon first look appears to be an historical improvement vis-a-vis African engagement. But even so, generally synergy between extractive economic institutions and extractive political institutions may still result in “enriching foreign businesses and Congo’s elite while the Congolese people remain in endemic poverty”. That is, the Congo Plan hinges not just on China’s African development model as contrasted with West but on African institutions (governmental and political) escaping history of extractive framework.

    • Cam

      Anthony’s reference to Acemoglu & Robinson is apt and the synergy between countries in Africa, such as Angola D.R.C. & Zimbabwe works. The A.U. & P.R.C. relationship is working for several reasons, one of which is that it’s an antipodean approach to the West’s historical involvement in Africa. The wounds may have healed from the colonization of Africa but the scars still remain.

      • Anthony

        Your antipodean categorization is sound and inclusive of scars much institutional reconfiguration (both political & economic) remains for parts of continent. I wish them success.

  • Cam

    Thank you to Jacob Kusnner for this article and the other commentators for their words. The subject of China & The Democratic Republic of Congo is of great interest because it reflects the current global situation in this first quarter of this century (2000-2100).

    This Q1 of the Asian Century (21st Century) is a transitional period and the world is on a trajectory that was created in the latter half of the 21st Century (One Hundred Years of War)…

    “As the American President spoke of a “Pivot to Asia,” China was intently channeling its attention here: In 2009 China supplanted the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner and never looked back.

    Deng Xiaoping set a course that Xi Jinping is maintaining and the Chinese model of ‘infrastructure for resources’ has been successful in Africa.This model has been well honed in Angola, a relationship that dates back to pre-independent Angola, which now is China’s second biggest trading partner in Africa.

    I will not elaborate further because I would like to retain the reader’s attention but will say if you are a citizen of the U.S.A.
    it is such a shame that U.S. Foreign Policy over the past two decades left a void in Africa. If you are a citizen of P.R.C. Africa loves you, and congratulations on your governments vision and direction.

    Whoever runs Africa this decade (2010-2020) rules the world in the next. The Red Dragon Rising is like the new dawn as the sun is slowly setting in the West. The global challenges ahead during this transitional period will require effective solutions and I hope you can swim because the uncharted waters ahead will be across stormy seas.

    Further comment and or debate is most welcomed here by the writer of this comment.

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