Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Beijing-Abuja oil axis

This is truly alarming:

China has secured four oil drilling licences from Nigeria as President Hu Jintao continues his week-long tour of Africa, his second in three years.

In exchange China will invest $4bn (£2.25bn) in oil and infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

China will buy a controlling stake in Nigeria's 110,000 barrel-a-day Kaduna oil refinery and build a railroad system and power stations.

Nigeria, Africa's top oil exporter, has long been viewed by China as a partner.

That partnership could turn out to have serious ramifications for American and European security. After all, China is clearly trying to set up shop in Africa, forging alliances with resource-rich countries like Nigeria.

Do we have any doubt that China will eventually be a global power to rival the United States? At the very least, we should be anticipating, and preparing for, that future.

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  • Sir - You seem to imply that the US has some kind inalienable right to maintain its hyper-power status. May I beg to disagree (risking extraordinary rendition!).

    In Africa the economic tectonic plates are shifting; as Chinese investment in Africa emulates the introduction of western MNCs to China 20odd years ago – that’s the ripple down effect for you. In the 90s the so called “Washington Consensus” prescribed structural adjustments all across Africa, telling us we should cut back on education and health spending. The Bretton Woods institutions enforced the “Consensus” (Conesus between whom I will never know) with evangelist zeal. We were told this is the bitter pill we ought to swallow now if we want to have just lil bit of FDI. Having just come out of proxy wars of the cold war, Africa was in no position to resist. The promised FDI did not materialise but a lot else happened - let me mention one or two. (1) In 1990 one could count the number of sub-sharan who had some sort election by one hand; now in 2005 I can count by one hand the number of sub-sharan countries who do not have some sort election on regular basis. (2) Like it or not Africa is now more stable than it has ever been since the Berlin Conference of 1895. The west chose not to notice that, hence no FDI (forget this aid non-sense). The Chinese have noticed it, acted on it since the China-Africa forum kicked off fittingly in the year 2000, and now China is doing what the west promised us in the 90s.

    Therefore, Africa would be grateful if the west doesn’t get on the way now. Personally, I have given up hope on seeing meaningful western FDI in Africa.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:12 PM  

  • While I never like any threat to the oil prices going up, I agree with the response. China has as much right as America or anyone else to invest.

    We must think globally sometimes, not nationally. Perhaps this is still progress?

    (I am in no way an expert in oil, however.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:10 PM  

  • Yes, and China is using the dollars we in the U.S. have given them over the years for those cheap little trinkets that American's love so much.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 PM  

  • China has every right to secure oil supplies for itself. Besides, if you have been to Nigeria lately (and I guess you haven't) you would notice that their govt has done little to improve rail transportation, and that the oil refineries are in a state of shambles, with very little turn-around maintenance being done, and that the electricity supply is infamous for its epileptic nature. Meanwhile, Chevron Texaco and Royal Dutch Shell and Halliburton have been extracting and exploiting oil in the region for decades, without much improvement to the lot of the people there...which is one of the reasons for the restiveness in the Niger Delta.

    China is doing what the US and US-based companies should have been doing. Help Nigerians to get their act in order, and you will have not only a political allay, but a strong economic partner as well. China is doing it, the U.S. is not, and if you don't like it, tough luck.

    Where is it written that only the US is allowed to have unlimited access to cheap oil to power its economic growth? Who died and made Bush king? It's sauce for the goose and the gander.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 PM  

  • Remember the cold war? It was cold! The dragon breathes fire, you've guessed what fire does.

    By Blogger Beauty, at 8:50 AM  

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