Sunday, February 19, 2012

Links I Liked: Brazil & Zimbabwe

Are the other emerging powers following the Chinese embrace of Africa? The Zimbabwe Herald (which is seen in Zim as the govt's mouthpiece) reported in late October, 2011, that Brazil had provided a $300 million loan to Zimbabwe for agricultural support.

If true, it shows how great emerging powers think alike. In March 2011, China Development Bank extended a $342 million loan to Zimbabwe to finance agricultural machinery imports (from China). Interesting that Brazil, a robust democracy, seems to be following Chinese footsteps in doing state-directed business with a government still seen in the US and Europe as one of Africa's foremost pariahs.

A h/t to Peking University's Center for African Studies.


  1. Part II
    China Inc. invests heavily in infrastructure, indeed;
    in the renovation of a stadium (with the same old problems all again),
    in the military university buildings,
    in Mugabe’s Pagode Palace and an outdoor residence (both gifts)
    in another gift to the his party: the new headquarters of the ZANU PF on Rotten Row (I couldn't resist this one).
    Removing hard growths at elephants and rhinos (again in collaboration with ZANU PF people)
    Weapons (legally or not)
    Landgrabs …
    A birthday party for Mugabe (the only one that Mugabe has ever gotten from an Embassy)
    Eventually a few Airbuses for which there appeared to be no money. Oops, I did it again ! Sam Pa is not "state directed". Possibly but in the meantime there are so many Chinese adventurers with low respect for the Zimbabwean law and the Zimbabwean population was so fed up with this that China Inc had to flew in some Chinese professors to teach them some business ABC. Not treating workers as slaves will have been no small part of that.

    But the Zimbabwean swamp was so deep that Mugabe's "the East is red" politics is insufficient, so urgent "aid" was requested by him, a request supported by Zuma.
    Aid means Western aid. From Norway and Australia,Germany, the UK and the US... And don't forget the multitude of NGO’s. How much? 20% of the state budget, give or take ...
    Business is booming, aid is flowing, file handled!
    Hold your horses!
    An article of today that poses at least the right questions;
    Exclusively reserved for people who have an eye for the difference between elite and population and between growth and development!

  2. There is no business like Zimbabwean business!

    Part I
    That Zimbabwe is open for business is clear.
    Normally it were the international companies who (re)discovered Africa, especially the oil majors and mining concerns and then the state directed businesses followed in their track ...
    But Zimbabwe is an exception.
    The situation is indeed different: in Zimbabwe pesky Western sanctions hinder the business deals.
    Why? Anyone can look this up on the internet.
    What kind of responsibility countries who want to deal with dictators like Mugabe are wearing is described by professor Ian Taylor. Easy to find and although he is describing the Chinese deals in Zimbabwe, it can easyly be expanded to every economic actor engaging with dictatorships worldwide.
    Which kind of Brazilian multis will benefit from this loan is obvious; those who are already active in Africa.
    Hopefully for them, the elite in Brasilia has equally well negotiated as their colleagues in Beijing and they have been given a guarantee that they will also be exempted from nationalization (indegenisation).
    Oops, something I cannot prove! Indeed, but I would point the finger at China Inc. and the African rulers that made secrecy a major characteristic of their business deals.
    But I remember how China Inc. openly pleaded with the ZANU PF to be excempt. Note: not with the state authorities!
    "Responsibilities" stands in the Chinese business dictionary well behind "opportunities" hence;