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Is China Winning the Battle for Southern Africa? — 2 Comments

  1. As a former staff member in the World Bank UK Executive Director’s office I’m perhaps more sceptical than most about multilateral development banks. But say what you like about the IMF and IBRD, they at least know the meaning of due diligence and have rigorous procedures for approving loans to client countries. It is this which China and their followers seek to usurp. China never forgave the World Bank for rejecting the Three Gorges Dam project proposal (which was subsequently taken on by a consortium of private business interests) and has been agitating for a greater share of voting power (vis a vis developed country members – those who put in the greatest share of the Bank’s capital) ever since. I can’t see a BRIC development bank proving to be very effective, and it would certainly not have the same concerns about environmental appraisal. Its capital would be dominated by China and therefore so too would its voting powers in the Board. South Africa would be required to contribute possibly substantial capital before it could get any money out in the form of loans. Where is that coming from? There is of course an African Development Bank as well, headquartered in Addis, to which SA contributes. The BRIC bank is altogether a bad idea, except for further extending Chinese influence on the continent.

    • It’s a catch-22 in that the World Bank and IMF have far too much power which i see more as enslavement of poorer countries than assisting them. Thankfully, the EU has caused widespread dissatisfaction so that it’s no longer just an “African” problem. Do i believe that BRICS is fantastic? – of course not… but i do believe that we need more of such so that there’s bigger, better representation in IMF and World Bank matters. It’s also not about what we like or don’t want but how we decide to fit ourselves into this more challenging, kick us out of our armchair, world that is coming.

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