Friday, July 10, 2009

"Obama in Africa: Can US rival China's new clout?"

I am quoted in Drew Hinshaw's article in today's Christian Science Monitor on President Obama's trip to Africa. Here are the relevant passages:
For many African governments, China's state-operated Exim Bank, now the world's third largest credit agency, has become a compelling alternative to the World Bank, one that doesn't dwell on humanitarian concerns. ...Exim Bank's loans typically come with gentle 1 to 2 percent interest rates and only one major catch: that the governments contract China's state-owned companies to complete the project. This works well for reform-reluctant leaders, and for China's government, which in many cases directly pays state-owned contractors from state-owned banks, bypassing the host nation altogether. A token amount of the loan reaches the local workforce, or is used to purchase local materials. "But the rest of it will be money that goes from one Chinese bank to another," says former US Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn. "And this has been the pattern across Africa. How can a Western company compete with it?"
And here:
But beyond oil, analysts say American companies are shirking opportunities in Africa. "Except for oil, where investment money goes in no matter what, there hasn't been much Western investment in Africa in recent years," said Mr. Shinn, the ambassador. "This is an area where the United States really needs to make a push, particularly as we start coming out of the economic funk we're in."
The entire article can be accessed here. Photo: July 8. "A street vendor sits in his kiosk selling memoribilia depicting President Obama in Accra, Ghana's capital city. The visit will be Obama's first to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president in January. Luc Gnago-Re." Source: Washington Post.

No comments:

Post a Comment