The New York Times is running an article on China’s economic effects on Africa’s own economy. It is an interesting but not surprising to read that the fact that China is able to produce goods cheaper than African industry and export back to Africa, resulting in the closing of several textile factories is really not a surprise.
The fact that Chinese goods are taking over many markets around the world should not surprise anyone at all. India, in addition to China, has been blamed for the loss of both white and blue color jobs in many countries in the West, and that is likely to continue. As person in the article basically indicates, China is simply doing what it should, competing in the global economy.
What is rather surprising to me is the attitude of some of the Africans blaming China for the loss of jobs and income. On one hand I think that is tragic, but on the other hand, I think we are seeing the continued result of a continent and peoples, who have long become more used to receiving handouts rather than learning how to compete, how to develop its resources including human resources to become self sufficient and less reliant on handouts. How can Africa really expect to compete when it has refused to put in place the infrastructure that would provide the environment to foster economic progress. I am talking about education, health, security and policies that encourage the growth and development of business. I am talking about roads, bridges, rail, electricity, phone and internet.
The saddest and most pathetic part of all this is that Africa has been blessed with a lot of natural resources. Even as much was was taken or exploited during the colonial times, there still remains an abundance of natural resources. Yet, Africa remains the poorest of the continents. And not just the poorest, but way, way behind the others.
I think the statement by Moeletsi Mbeki, a South African entrepreneur and a political analyst …. sums it up nicely… most of Africa has has 35 to 50 years of independence and have not developed any manufacturing… I would actually venture to say instead that most of Africa has been independent for 35 to 50 years and has nothing to show for it! That I think that, is pretty sad