David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso and an expert on Chinese-African relations, said the timing of the announcement was strategic on Guinea's part. "The fact that the announcement came from Guinea and not Hong Kong or China is important," he said. "I can't imagine that China would want to use this timing to announce it." Africa's trade with China reached more than $100 billion in 2008 and has multiplied by 10 since 2001, according to the African Economic Outlook. China's policy of operating on purely business terms has raised questions about whether it will hamper the progress of human rights in Africa. China is accused of protecting the government of Sudan, its oil supplier, despite the conflict in Darfur that has claimed at least 300,000 lives from violence, disease and displacement. The Chinese also helped construct a private palace for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is ostracized by Western governments that accuse him of ruining his nation's economy and stifling democracy. "The Chinese have never had any concerns about working out deals with non-democratic governments," Shinn said. "And for that matter, some Western countries and their corporations haven't either."Photo: "Diamond Mining, Sierra Leone" licensed by creative commons on flickr. User: AdamCohn.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I am quoted in the AP story "Analysts question $7B China-Guinea mining deal," which can be accessed via Yahoo here.