Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images

The Chinese Invade Africa

By Ian Johnson

“Kushner is fair-minded and has invested much time and effort in figuring out the interplay between the new superpower and a poor but strategically important African country.”

“The Chinese approach guarantees that something will get done. As one Congo official told Kushner: ‘It’s been 50 years that we’ve cooperated with the IMF, the World Bank. And for 50 years we’ve had the same problem. There aren’t roads. There aren’t schools. There aren’t universities.'”

“This way of doing business also leaves Chinese companies exposed. A Chinese manager named Robin told Kushner that the Chinese talked with a Congolese official who promised to help them do it. They began courting him with kind words, and later, with gifts. ‘We gave him a car, a house, and a lot of furniture,’ says Robin. ‘He had been to China to meet with our (company) president. He said ‘No problem, I promise you, you can buy a mine in Congo.’ But it was so complicated.’ The mine never materialized.”

“Some Westerners might shake their heads, but the West pioneered not only colonialism in Africa, but the worst practices in dealing with newly independent countries. For thirty years after Congo’s independence, Western countries supported Mobutu Sese Seko, one of Africa’s most corrupt dictators, supplying him with aid and weapons.”

Read the full review at the New York Review of Books.

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