Now that almost all of Africa’s 54 countries are reporting cases of the new coronavirus, one thing is certain: The pandemic will have drastic consequences in Africa, especially in the many countries that still have poor public health infrastructure and weak social welfare systems.
Even as Africa is still bracing for the full effect of the pandemic, it has already been hit by collapsing trade and broken supply chains. Many African countries are highly dependent on exports to China—in particular Angola, South Africa, and Congo, but also South Sudan, Namibia, Kenya, and Rwanda.
The presence of China in Africa has been a concern to both Africans and the West. Their interest is mainly in the extractive industries while they offer to build facilities such as roads and highways for the areas where they settle.
They have benefited from oil in Congo, Angola and South Sudan, and copper from Zambia. This is meanwhile loaning these African nations money to develop their infrastructure. However, details of such loans are never made public to enable citizens contribute to their nation’s wellbeing. It is widely rumoured that the Chinese took over the Zambia port after their debt was not repaid on time.
Debt has been a perennial issue in China-Africa relations, one that ratcheted up to a boiling point from 2019, as Western countries became more critical about the impact of Chinese lending on African debt sustainability.
There are concrete reasons for concern: African debt has risen rapidly and a sizeable proportion is Chinese. However, the dominant narrative around Chinese debt became a highly misleading story of China purposefully indebting poor countries to gain leverage over state assets as part of a ‘debt trap.’
Chinese have taken over Africa, while dumping cheap goods to consumers. They have been known for their arrogance towards Africans and using racist remarks when addressing blacks. A case in mind was a Chinese national who called the Kenyan president a monkey. He was reported.
Another case was a Chinese hotel owner filmed whipping a Kenyan for allegedly coming late to work. Interestingly, the hotel owner offered a journalist 20,000 shillings to kill the story. It goes to show how they believe in shady ways of doing things and how cheap black human beings are.
The CCP could be waiting for this pandemic to cripple Africa so that they can pounce on these hapless economies while demanding their pound of flesh. They know Africa may not be able to pay their debts, especially after such a pandemic, essentially leaving the neocolonial masters to scramble and partition Africa all over again.