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  #1  
Old 10 Nov 2010
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Cool Opinions of African Issues moved from another thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cvfred View Post

And what happens when the 5 billion is spent? They'll have a few nice roads and bridges. But what about maintenance of this infrastructure?
It is a bit more than worrying indeed; the Chinese laborers which are brought to Africa are often "criminals" i.e. political dissidents and small time crooks who are released from jail on this condition and they are often left behind after the civil contracts are completed; kinda repopulating Africa with Chinese. There seem to be 2 million in Angola alone! To make matter worse, the infrastructure is designed in such a way that it has a commercial life time that fits the mining concessions life time! When the mining contracts end the infrastructure has been rundown to the extent that it has become virtually worthless! They are the 11th biblical plague to Africa!

Sorry, bit off topic but I needed to say this.

cheers,
Noel
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  #2  
Old 11 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noel di pietro View Post
It is a bit more than worrying indeed... they are often left behind after the civil contracts are completed; kinda repopulating Africa with Chinese. There seem to be 2 million in Angola alone! To make matter worse, the infrastructure is designed in such a way that it has a commercial life time that fits the mining concessions life time!
Ah, Noel, you are being far too pensive and far too philosophical. You have to look at this whole matter pragmatically.

Chinese labour built the railroads across Western Canada and opened up the hinterlands here. That was 125 years ago, and the railways are still there, so it is fair to conclude that they did a pretty good job. Hell, the Chinese built a wall in their own country some time ago, and that wall is still standing.

Many of these Chinese labourers who were brought to Canada to build the railroads stayed behind, and they applied their Confucian values to the kids that they raised - these kids became doctors, lawyers, and businesspeople. Even the kids that didn't do so well in school have made a positive contribution - please consider that you can find a Chinese restaurant in just about every small town in Canada, this is very handy if you are hungry.

Although I have only ever flown over the Congo (not driven inter-city), I have driven on the roads that the Chinese recently built in Nairobi - notably the main road leading from Jomo Kenyatta airport to the city - and I note that it is a very fine road indeed. Hundreds of thousands of vehicles use it every day. It is a much better road than the road to Nairobi Wilson Airport, which was built about the same time by a European contractor using Kenyan labour.

As far as I am concerned, these "roads for minerals" deals are quite beneficial. They are a heck of a lot more beneficial to the local population than "cash for minerals". If you are not sure about this, just ask any Congolese citizen who lives in the Kivu provinces what benefit they are getting from the cash generated by all the mining activity there.

Michael
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  #3  
Old 11 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
Chinese labour built the railroads across Western Canada and opened up the hinterlands here. That was 125 years ago, and the railways are still there, so it is fair to conclude that they did a pretty good job.

As far as I am concerned, these "roads for minerals" deals are quite beneficial. They are a heck of a lot more beneficial to the local population than "cash for minerals". If you are not sure about this, just ask any Congolese citizen who lives in the Kivu provinces what benefit they are getting from the cash generated by all the mining activity there.

Michael
Hi Michael,

What Chinese did 125 years ago was labor only under Canadian/American management and design. What they do in Angola and other African countries is under 100% Chinese management and there is ZERO % local content. They even bring their own noodles! Not exaggerating! And how precisely does the local population benefit from a sealed road? You mean it cuts back the walking time from 4 hours to 3 hours 45 minutes to the next village! I have been there! In Gabon, there a perfect sealed roads in the North and no traffic whatsoever, just have look at my Video's on Youtube; for example YouTube - Crossing Africa full version part 4 last minute is Gabon!

Kenia is a different story btw; there the Chinese steal away contracts with cheap (prisson) labor and Chinese Government subsidised low bids for projects financed with European money! There the mineral issue is not so strong as on the West Coast and Congo, so the road building is more about road building and less about trucking out minerals as quickly as possible and as cheap as possible.

OK, this is the last i'm saying about this, don't want to hi-jack Freds thread.

Cheers,
Noel
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  #4  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Cool Opinions of African Issues moved from another thread

I hope you'll do a wrap-up at the end with lessons learned, missing supplies, best tactics for confusing officials, etc.

For example, I would want a gsm amp+yagi, solar panel + batt + radios + dremel/drill, bike + panniers, raincatcher + filter, more food, advance introductions, and arrangements with bush pilots just in case.
(and no women, but it seems this trip ended without incident.)

Without getting into contentious areas, the average person you meet in DRC has limited defenses against confident rhetoric. It's usually easy to manipulate them, and planned barter tends to be far cheaper than cash when you have to pay: they can't buy electronics etc at the prices we enjoy.

Looking forward to the rest of the story.
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  #5  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curio View Post
...I would want ... arrangements with bush pilots just in case...
Uh, let me tell you something:

I'm a bush pilot. I've worked in Africa since the late 80s, and in the DRC, always in war environment, usually doing medivacs and stuff like that.

There is NO WAY under the sun that I would fly into any airport in the DRC that was not already well established as an operating base for whatever humanitarian organization it was that I was flying for. Have a look at all the reports of official interference, requests for bribes, etc. that you have read so far in this ride report, then imagine multiplying that headache by a factor of 10 to apply to airplanes.

Consider also the condition of the roads that has been reported in this ride report. Do you think the runways are any better cared for? Not likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curio View Post
....the average person you meet in DRC has limited defenses against confident rhetoric...
You may think so, but when either a gun or a machete forms part of those 'limited defenses', it can really ruin your day.

Michael
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  #6  
Old 16 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
There is NO WAY under the sun that I would fly into any airport in the DRC that was not already well established as an operating base for whatever humanitarian organization it was that I was flying for.
...
Consider also the condition of the roads that has been reported in this ride report. Do you think the runways are any better cared for?
I don't know where you fly, but an airport with officials and improved strip is not "bush"; there were many areas to put down an R44 or cub/C172 for evac in his photos, and at worst there's always the hoist..

Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
...
when either a gun or a machete forms part of those 'limited defenses', it can really ruin your day.
This is absolutely down to personality. All I can say is I've had better luck with trickery than bribery.
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  #7  
Old 17 Nov 2010
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Curio:

I have flown in Angola, Mozambique, DRC (and DRC back when it was Zaire), Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, and Eretria. All professionally. All during conflicts. All with 19 seat aircraft.

Before you propose using a 2 or 4 seat piston aircraft, consider that there is no Avgas available anywhere within flying range of the majority of the route that Fred has travelled. With considerable advance work, it might be possible to get barrels of Avgas delivered to Goma or Lubumbashi. But, the stuff is not available for purchase on a regular basis at those airports, and it is certainly not available in any smaller communities.

You won't find a R44 anywhere within or nearby DRC, and it is unlikely you will find a functional 172 anywhere in the DRC.

Michael
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  #8  
Old 17 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noel di pietro View Post
It is a bit more than worrying indeed; the Chinese laborers which are brought to Africa are often "criminals" i.e. political dissidents and small time crooks who are released from jail on this condition and they are often left behind after the civil contracts are completed; kinda repopulating Africa with Chinese. There seem to be 2 million in Angola alone! To make matter worse, the infrastructure is designed in such a way that it has a commercial life time that fits the mining concessions life time! When the mining contracts end the infrastructure has been rundown to the extent that it has become virtually worthless! They are the 11th biblical plague to Africa!

Sorry, bit off topic but I needed to say this.

cheers,
Noel
Well, what's the contract between Congo & China ?
If I remember well, Congo promised to allow the Chinese to mine 10million Tons of Cu , if the Chinese build first for about 9bn $ on infrastructure.
If Congo defaults on the mining pledge or if there is not enough Cu ore available, the 9bn reverts into Congolese souvereign debt.

Accepting Noel's view that this contract is a plague for Congo and a extremely good deal for China, why then blame China for this? Is it China's fault to try to make a profit for its own inhabitants ? Is China to blame for the mistakes of congolese government?
I don't agree. If the congolese got a rotten deal, they have only 1 party to blame: themselves.

But is this contract a plague for Congo?
I am not so sure:
1) Accepting payment first and delivering the goods (years) later, seems a sound business model to me.
2) Would you invest your savings in an enterprise that gives 9bn $ away as a goodwill payment, in return for a pledge of the Congolese government for a mining licence?
The Congo goverment is not exactly a reliable counterparty, is it?


And, this contract may be bad, but one should ask then "compared to what?"
Compared to no investment in roads & mining infrastructure at all, i.e. the status quo? Reading Fred2CV's report, the status quo is not really heaven on earth for the Congolese, but maybe they themselves disagree.

Compared to China sending in its army and annexing this lawless country ? Anybody here preferring the latter option?
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  #9  
Old 17 Nov 2010
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New diaspora

Hi Uganduro,

The Chinese issue in Africa is a bit more than good deal/bad deal! Maybe have a look at this;

How China's taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried | Mail Online

A few quotes;

- In the greatest movement of people the world has ever seen, China is secretly working to turn the entire continent into a new colony.

- Pristine forests are being destroyed, with China taking up to 70 per cent of all timber from Africa.

- In effect, through its supplies of arms and support, China has been accused of underwriting a humanitarian scandal.

- In Africa, corruption is a multi-billion pound industry and many experts believe that China is fuelling the cancer.

- As well as enticing hundreds of thousands to settle in Africa, they have even shipped Chinese prisoners to produce the goods cheaply.

- In Kenya, for example, only ten textile factories are still producing, compared with 200 factories five years ago, as China undercuts locals in the production of 'African' souvenirs.


It ends with these words;

The people of this bewitching, beautiful continent, where humankind first emerged from the Great Rift Valley, desperately need progress. The Chinese are not here for that. They are here for plunder. After centuries of pain and war, Africa deserves better.

And that summs it up (at least for me) !

Sure, we have our colonial past which in many cases is not something to be proud of but I like to believe that we have learned from that. We are in 2010 now but it is starting all over again for the Africans but in a much more destructive and definite way.


I'm interested in your opinion when you finished this article.

Cheers,

Noel
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  #10  
Old 20 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
...
Before you propose using a 2 or 4 seat piston aircraft, consider that there is no Avgas available anywhere within flying range of the majority of the route that Fred has travelled. With considerable advance work, it might be possible to get barrels of Avgas delivered to Goma or Lubumbashi. But, the stuff is not available for purchase on a regular basis at those airports, and it is certainly not available in any smaller communities.

You won't find a R44 anywhere within or nearby DRC, and it is unlikely you will find a functional 172 anywhere in the DRC.
I'm told there is currently avgas in Goma, but OK: send your own drums with the supply run to two farms. One stop each way gives you more than enough range with a cub. I mentioned an R44 because it opens the option to refuel from his petrol tanks, and you might find one in Zambia.

Seems pretty cheap insurance considering the alternatives.
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  #11  
Old 25 Jan 2011
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I'm not an aviator, so please correct me if I'm wrong. However I would not be too keen on flying into DRC to a place that someone told me I could buy fuel there. That's a long wait if they gave me wrong information.

I think that one the messages from 2cvfreds report is that a real adventure is probably not covered by insurance. It's a personal decision whether you accept the risk or not. Nothing ventured nothing gained I guess.
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  #12  
Old 27 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noel di pietro View Post
Hi Uganduro,

The Chinese issue in Africa is a bit more than good deal/bad deal! Maybe have a look at this;

How China's taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried | Mail Online

A few quotes;

- In the greatest movement of people the world has ever seen, China is secretly working to turn the entire continent into a new colony.

- Pristine forests are being destroyed, with China taking up to 70 per cent of all timber from Africa.

- In effect, through its supplies of arms and support, China has been accused of underwriting a humanitarian scandal.

- In Africa, corruption is a multi-billion pound industry and many experts believe that China is fuelling the cancer.

- As well as enticing hundreds of thousands to settle in Africa, they have even shipped Chinese prisoners to produce the goods cheaply.

- In Kenya, for example, only ten textile factories are still producing, compared with 200 factories five years ago, as China undercuts locals in the production of 'African' souvenirs.


It ends with these words;

The people of this bewitching, beautiful continent, where humankind first emerged from the Great Rift Valley, desperately need progress. The Chinese are not here for that. They are here for plunder. After centuries of pain and war, Africa deserves better.

And that summs it up (at least for me) !

Sure, we have our colonial past which in many cases is not something to be proud of but I like to believe that we have learned from that. We are in 2010 now but it is starting all over again for the Africans but in a much more destructive and definite way.


I'm interested in your opinion when you finished this article.

Cheers,

Noel
I wouldn't use the Daily Mail to support any argument. It is a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist tabloid rag of the highest order that is read by bored housewives. Compared to other British media outlets it only has a 16% stake of the overall media market and for good reason too. It is trash.

Last edited by everywherevirtually; 30 Jan 2011 at 05:40.
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  #13  
Old 21 Apr 2011
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A more balanced view:

The Chinese in Africa: Trying to pull together | The Economist


I particularly like this part:

"Indeed, China has boosted employment in Africa and made basic goods like shoes and radios more affordable. Trade surpassed $120 billion last year.

(...)



Quite a bit of criticism of China is disguised protectionism. Established businesses try to maintain privileged positions—at the expense of consumers. The recent arrival of Chinese traders in the grimy alleys of Soweto market in Lusaka halved the cost of chicken. Cabbage prices dropped by 65%. Local traders soon marched their wire-mesh cages filled with livestock to the local competition commission to complain. “How dare the Chinese disturb our market,” says Justin Muchindu, a seller. In Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, Chinese are banned from selling in markets. The government earlier this year said Chinese were welcome as investors but not as “vendors or shoe-shiners”.


The above quote could be straight out of Thomas Sowells' essay on "middlemen people", (=one of the essays in Amazon.com: Black Rednecks & White Liberals (9781594031434): Thomas Sowell: Books).
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