Wednesday, October 21, 2009

China and Africa

An African writer comments on the Chinese presence in Africa:  The long and short if it is that they are ruthless bastards who know how to get a job done:

Here is an example of what I mean: A Korean company was building a highway westwards out of Accra for more than a year.

The work stalled because the authorities could not, or would not, pull down the structures demarcated to be pulled down and for which compensation had been paid.

Indeed, the gossip was that more people started putting up structures after the demarcation exercise so they could be paid compensation - but that is another story.

A Chinese company started building a highway northwards out of Accra.

Once the demarcation was done and the compensation paid, they waited for seven days and one fine Sunday morning, as people made their way to church, they brought out the bulldozers and by the time church was over, the houses and kiosks in their way had all been pulled down.

No amount of shouting or pleading or threatening impressed them - they claimed they couldn't understand English.

After a few days of shock, the communities resigned themselves and concentrated on the beautiful road being built for them.

Meanwhile on the western front, it took for ever before the project could be completed. And guess who got kudos for delivering the work on time?

As I have said before, the Chinese seem to have a comparative advantage in dealing with third world countries.  We should just stand back and let them do the dirty work for us.

No comments: