Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chinese imperialism at work again

For centuries Africa has failed to gain much benefit from its enormous mineral deposits; they were plundered by colonisers and during wars.

A multi-billion dollar oil deal between China and the west African state of Niger has been denounced by unions and transparency campaigners.
Civil rights groups in Niger are calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the $5bn (£2.5bn) contract and for scrutiny of how funds will be spent.
China's state oil company was given oil exploration rights in Niger in June.
There is widespread concern that the people of Niger will not benefit from the country's oil wealth.

A mining union in Niger said the deal with China took place in the greatest of secrecy and with contempt for regulation.
It is not easy changing the way such deals are struck - political and business elites often have a vested interest in avoiding transparency.
Even when a company or investor wants to disclose the details of a deal, it risks losing its license to a less scrupulous competitor.
There are plenty of examples where governments have failed to do business in the interests of the people they serve.

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