tv [untitled] June 19, 2011 11:31pm-12:01am EDT
in oxford i do like to go the term africa in the new great game the scramble for influence because a lot of people are saying this right now as africa is stepping up its development some countries are getting ahead while some are not but nonetheless there's enormous foreign interest and i'm thinking of the united states and china if you like the term great game well i think well i think there's been an enormous interest in africa since about the one nine hundred eighty s. with the introduction of the near liberal policies of the international monetary fund and world bank ever since then i think the situation in africa has become one in which which essentially we have not a neo colonialism we don't have a new colonialism what we have is essentially occupied territories territories occupied by the large corporations and supported by the international financial institutions and the aid agencies. and so what they are there to do is to reap as much benefits as they can avoid as much tax as they can
profiteer. the price that is paid by most africans is massive dispossession of their land massive unemployment massive decline in in in standard of living and more hungry people than there ever were that's the situation which which africa currently face now clearly there are competitions between the different international powers for africa's natural resources and what is missing out of that element is the voice of the african citizens about what they need it's all very well having investments in africa but if the country or the people of the country don't benefit from it then it's no real no good to anyone ok those shareholders ok jenny if i go to you in washington now my would you agree with that assessment and a new occupation not even using the term neo colonialism not imperialism occupation go ahead. well of course not i don't agree with that. portrayal of
africa at all i think that in fact we've seen a new dynamism significant growth in these economies a rising middle class african civil society has grown has been more active is holding its government leaders accountable to a larger degree so i think that the projection of africa especially over the last decade has been nothing but positive there obviously are areas in which we have you know backtracking zimbabwe would be one case in point but overall i don't think it's a picture that can be simply reduced to an economic argument you know there's been dynamism on the political front on the civil society front on economic engagement the rise of our japan nors the rise of the middle class and that all speaks to. more complex picture than one that is reduced to economic ok robert if i can go to
you in london where you. progress or backtracking. growing economies growing independence or occupation as we heard earlier in the program. well i really can't think of any african country that is being occupied by corporations and i've traveled all over the continent and it seems to me that while there are one or two places where nobody's in charge like somalia pretty much everywhere else the governments are in charge like they are in most other countries now many of those governments are very inefficient governments but by and large they've gotten a lot better over the past twenty years and when the dealings between corporations and african governments it's absolutely the african governments who call the shots if you go to somewhere like angola doesn't matter whether you're an american oil company a british one or a chinese one you have to deal with the angolan government nobody disputes that they own the oil there and if you annoy them they kick you out as is happening to people for from both sides so that they're striking the bargains now.
jendayi frazer point i think that a lot of things have gotten better in the past ten years you've seen inflation has come down average incomes have gone up and while it's maybe a bit premature to say that there's this massive new african middle classes i think the world bank did recently they're talking about a rise in the number of people who are earning between two and four dollars a day which is you know it's better than it was but it's still not what you'd call middle class in most places so i think it's a much more subtle and nuanced thing than the going on and. then what rose suggests i think the idea that corporations are conquering the place is a bit of a caricature ok if it looks like it's two against one here you want to defend yourself go ahead no no proof no problem in getting you through. you know well let me smoke me save my words the reality is that there is massive amount of
land ground there's more land listeners across africa than there ever has been there is more hunger in africa than has ever been more be there's more unemployment than there's ever. ever been more importantly it's not just those physical resources that people have been dispossessed top but the reality of the last thirty years in africa has been that increasingly our governments are more accountable to the international financial institutions the defense of the befits the don't need has been need as cañete as of the world and they are no more come to blows to to the to the international agencies than they are to citizens now i don't call that democracy what i see that as is us and the company led to the dispossession of their material livelihoods has been the dispossession of their political. gains of independence and i think you know it's all very well saying there's been
huge growth rates but who is benefiting from those growth from those growth rates in fact the division between the rich and the poor has actually increased dramatically over the last thirty years and as for the world bank and their apologists who talk about you know the middle classes beginning with two dollars a day a pound a day have you tried living in nairobi on a pound a day these guys are if they think this is the middle class is there must be be on some other pallet i'm afraid ok jenny if i can go to you i mean there's a there's a lot of talk about foreign investment in africa and the chinese have gone there in an amazing super amazing way and there's one estimate by the year two thousand and twenty though the chinese will have over over two trillion dollars in investment there the united states will have across many three hundred billion dollars i mean this is when i get to the term the great game i mean the the chinese see this is a very very interesting place to invest because there's
a lot of baggage that they have to carry when they deal with the african leaders there's they're the same that would say the values gap that is always bench in between maybe like the united states and china so-called because i think there's a lot of things that western countries ask of they deny people on the ground certain rights so what do you think about that i mean is it easier for their africans to borrow money and get investment from the chinese than from the west because of the baggage. well i do think that the chinese have made a focused effort to invest in africa to increase their trade with africa mainly because they need to natural resources the fuel grows back home that is given african countries more options because they don't simply have to rely on the west and the conditionality that often comes with western assistance and with western loans and so i do think that there is in that sense it's a better environment for africa in terms of the choices that they have but i would
also say that there i do agree that there is a bit of a values gap in that somewhat as whether china you know there's a policy of not interference in the affairs of african countries some would say that that's not an interest in the welfare of african people and i don't want to make it seem like the west is great and china as you know doing bad things in africa that's not true it's more complex you know the west united states and western european countries have a terrible history in africa in terms of some of the cold war policies and certainly the period of colonialism before that but there is this sense of which the west at least is more aligned it seems with civil society in african countries today then china has been you can see that of course in sudan you can also see that when the chinese were trying to export weapons into zimbabwe and civil society and workers in angola in south africa refused to offload those weapons
going into zimbabwe and so it is there is a sense to which the west is more aligned with the democratic forces in africa ok robert if i could go you know i'm not sure that that's not really that's really going to get away with that i mean just look at the downfall of mubarak and ben ali in egypt in tunis. respectively i mean those people who were funded to the hilt by the western governments these were despotic regimes with with a strong military and they've been overthrown not by civil society not by these these these new new missionaries of development the ngos but rather by a mass uprising and it hasn't been confined only to egypt in tunis here we've had libya we've had gabaldon been in brooklyn a far so swaziland ethiopia uganda and so on even in south africa the recent south african police report demonstrated that they they recorded over five thousand
uprisings in south africa per year over the last three years now that is an indication of the degree of opposition of of citizens not just not just civil society or people are losing those iran scary are no solution more chrissy ok robert jobson everybody got a break robert before we go to break i had a look at south africa's a democracy the government there is chosen by the people in free and fair elections but you know there's a lot of people who are locally upset with local corruption and things like that but they are you know sounds like another egypt waiting for some take tator to be overthrown seems absurd i didn't say i did already see this juncture i'm going to jump in we're going to go to a break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the future of africa state started. to take you. straight. to.
world. view the latest in science and technology from the russian. dump the future covered. welcome back to crossfire people about to remind you we're talking about africa and its future. ok robert i want to go back to you in london right before we went to the break we were down there our discussion flared up about the values gap that like the people of term that some people like to use i mean it's been brought up you know the west
likes to say that it likes to support democracy and civil society know it we've already heard on this program the west is really. very vicious very vicious dictators have been overthrown lately so i you know one has to wonder or or understand why african countries will look to china because there are no strings attached or very few strings attached. well i mean the west bank's democracies but it's not always the top priority and certainly if you're talking in the middle east where you have the issues of oil and you have the issues of israel it tends not to be the top priority quite often stability is preferred china is a dictatorship so-called back democracy anywhere and you wouldn't really expect them to i think the important point though is that when you have both western companies and chinese companies both the western governments and the chinese government competing for influence in africa that puts power with the african government because they can play the two off against each other and they can say to western firms if you don't offer better deals maybe the chinese will and they can
do the same to the chinese and that's what they're doing you see them doing it in a number of countries in angola and sometimes you see you know the chinese think that they've they've they've got something sewn up like they will back a dictator like year in sudan and i think that will give them. permanent access to the oil wealth there and then suddenly splits in half and they're finding they very rapidly having to make friends with the the enemies of the guy they've been propping up so they're running into the same kind of problems that that western government because it's interesting going back to a point you made earlier maybe we can all agree with robert b. that it's the people on the ground that suffer the most. well in indeed what i was saying about the uprisings that have been happening across the continent is a reflection of the discontent that is brewing and great and increasing across the continent but looking at china i mean i think you know people are often rather sort
of exaggerated about about the actions of china if you look at foreign direct investment the united kingdom and usa are the leading foreign direct investment investment in in the in in africa followed behind by by france and by germany and all the asian tigers put together are still much smaller proportion of what germany germany's foreign direct investment is so you know i think and that's not because they're nice it's because they came to the show late they already all the oil fields all the mineral resources were already taken by the time china was ready to come into africa so they are being very smart in in offering all kinds of deals and offering offering loans which can be repaid in commodities and so on so they're being very smart about what what what it is but i'm i'm less convinced i mean i think the point is quite right that robert makes that that there is a room for negotiation but i'm surprised at how few african governments have
actually use that leverage in negotiating i think angola certainly certainly has one or two other countries might have but it in general it is not been the case and in fact they are strongly dissuaded from that doing so by by the alliance with the big corporations and there and there and the u.s. and european governments as well as the japanese government's agenda if i go to you in washington it's very interesting point do our due african governments have enough leverage actually to be able to negotiate a deal to their advantage or are they continuously continuously at a disadvantage when it comes visa vive foreign investors i mean east or west. well african governments have tremendous leverage to negotiate obviously they're in control of their countries and their resources i don't think that big corporations control everything and i think that the sort of broad brush picture that's being painted is in correct of africa africans and african governments as victims of some
system that's external to them they have responsibility they are making deals certainly there is it is true that i think the international financial institutions have tremendous soy in these countries in the world bank and i.m.f. but to agree that they get their macro economic performance in place to the degree that they're more responsive to their own citizens into their own population that gives them the leverage with all sides external to the continent so i don't see african governments african leaders or african people and citizens as somehow victimized by the international system i think that they are fully in charge and can play this game of balancing of interests balancing of interests and that you know they have tremendous leverage that they could utilize if they would do so ok robert if i go to you if you were an african leader and he wanted to get
foreign investment needed money would you go to the i.m.f. or would you go to the chinese what which would you prefer if you put yourself in a position of being an african leader of the i.m.f. doesn't do foreign investment may i.m.f. rescues. rescue less you know rescue ok rescue by the chinese say they have ten billion dollars in the economy ask questions. well i think what you would do is you would say what's the problem we're looking at if the problem is you want lots of people to come and do business in your country then you wouldn't pick either or you'd say we're open for business for both chinese and the americans and anyone else who wants to come so long as they abide by the law and the basic minimum standards and there are always going to be occasions where that doesn't happen and most african countries south of congo you'll find that chinese sentiment is a a pretty big political factor now that's not because they're the most influential it's because they knew i mean chinese investment in africa was almost nothing
fifteen years ago and now it's about one hundred twenty billion dollars a year so it's just suddenly happened really quickly and with it there's come a very large number of chinese people into africa we don't really know how many but it's certainly in the tens of thousands probably in the hundreds of thousands and there's a guy at the african development bank said but more chinese people have come to africa in the past ten years than europeans had in the past four hundred years so this is a big change and it's a very visible it's something to do yourself to your i was going to just have to go to a place like you have a look at a place like nairobi in kenya where i come from there are more was zoom or more white europeans and americans sitting there making a buck today than there have been in any time in kenya's history and that's true all over africa in fact that doesn't quite literally wrote i just i don't really. have the chinese are tiny in proportion to that. and certainly you don't see the
scale of of s.u.v.s or four wheel drives and so warm that you that you see in the cities of africa which are all western in fact. you could see them through the nature of what is what is happening in africa everyone says that you know ok you know it's open for business. if it's open for business who benefits from that most of the profits made by these companies who are investing in africa are are exported many of these companies and there's been recent reports by the tax justice network which have demonstrated that that huge of molds even the un d p talks about twenty three billion dollars over the last year being being siphoned out illegally from from africa from all kinds of tax evasion schemes like offshore banks and so on i mean the scale of theft that is going on is unprecedented touted
as a lot of that going on but you seem to be under the illusion that the the most important thing that a business does for a country is to do to make profits there and leave them there i mean that's that's not what they do it all and that part of it but if you're looking at the horizontal at the top the difference that has been made by mobile phone companies in africa is completely transformed the way that the africans communicate with each other and the way that they do business with each other and if you look even at you know completely the traders who are not even slightly interested in the welfare of africans may still do a great deal of benefit to them you see in zambia for example since the chinese traders came into the mobile into the markets there the price of things like to chickenhawk of these are these are series one of the disorderly goings on isn't generally you have to do benefit to the people yourself i want to ask a question we will come up gentlemen gentlemen please please make sure everyone's
in here. there seems to be two different points of view here africa is exploited now more than ever before or on the other side of the ledger it's actually speaking it's getting its act together and making progress where do you stand in the between these two schools of this program. i certainly agree that is getting its act together and it's making more progress that said i do think that part of their progress has to be. to increase the number of jobs to reduce the income gap between the very wealthy and the very poor to actually make agriculture benefit the farmers and the population as a whole rather than export the food externally and giving the large tracts of land to external companies or governments so that they can export food to their population so i think that it's a very complex picture but what i the bottom line is that africans are more in charge of setting the agenda and africa they have the rules they are response of
more responsive to their populations traders in africa do not want to compete with chinese workers and so they are holding their governments to account businessmen in africa do not want to compete with bad deals given to chinese companies or even western companies that are very opaque so they're pushing for greater transparency and that's because there's a dynamism within african populations and civil society in sub-saharan africa in particular i agree that north africa stability was more of a priority i've always said that there was no democratization and that's why north africa has collapsed so significantly you do not see mass uprisings across africa what you do see is populations demonstrating within the framework framework of a greater rule of law and greater democratization it's not one hundred percent but it's certainly more than it was ten years ago and so i'm on the side more progress . if you last more last ten seconds because that goes to an ox are going well
climate. that she's living on but the reality is that poor people in africa there are more hungry people there more lot of those people who's great to unemployment that's the sum total of the achievement of course thank you very much. we've run out of time many thanks to my guest today in oxford washington and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t.c. next time and remember. crosstalk rules.
dot com. nato admits to killing civilians in sunday's strike on tripoli blaming a weapons failure being officials claimed been more than eight hundred such deaths since the intervention began. as the international atomic watchdog prepares to present to reporters hands of the nuclear crisis visits a city say parties to find radiation levels one thousand times the norm. so dimitri medvedev has ruled out the possibility of a presidential runoff with prime minister putin in next year's election. and the tragic story of a russian mother whose baby died because she asked for help from the internet not a doctor disturbing trend with children suffering from parents distrust of health care services.
and welcome to our table world news and much more twenty four hours a day. has admitted that civilians were killed in an airstrike in a tripoli suburb on sunday that alfie officials say two babies were among the nine dead but the alliance says the targets was a military missile site i mean a weapon systems failure for hitting an apartment block instead. indications are that a weapons systems failure may have caused this incident but despite international outrage alarms attacks continue just hours later after three months of military operation is because health ministry claims almost nine hundred civilians have been to by air strikes their financial reports now from the capital tripoli may find some of the images disturbing residence so secrecy my district here in tripoli have
been woken up by a strike in the middle of the night a bomb or several moms landed here this story as you can see behind me several three story buildings quite a densely populated area with buildings standing very close to each other home to many people some of them very poor as we were told at least four families have been living in the damaged houses which is from twelve to fourteen people. under the rubble who were able to show children into adults and do one zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero people here on the ground are saying that there is little hope that someone could be alive the buildings on the opposite side of this street have also been partially damaged but we were told that no one from there has been hurt but the government spokesperson looked at him aside but he has come to the scene photo this time.