USA president Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John R. Bolton says China has suffocated Zamhia with debt and is about to take over Zesco as payment for huge debt.
Mr Bolton was remarking on the The Trump Administration’s New Africa Strategy. He said
China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands.
He said China’s investment ventures are riddled with corruption, and do not meet the same environmental or ethical standards as U.S. developmental programs.
‘Such predatory actions are sub-components of broader Chinese strategic initiatives, including “One Belt, One Road”—a plan to develop a series of trade routes leading to and from China with the ultimate goal of advancing Chinese global dominance,’ he said.
Mr Bolton said that ‘In Africa, we are already seeing the disturbing effects of China’s quest to obtain more political, economic, and military power.
‘The nation of Zambia, for example, is currently in debt to China to the tune of $6 to $10 billion dollars. China is now poised to take over Zambia’s national power and utility company in order to collect on Zambia’s financial obligations.’
Similarly, from 2014 to 2016, Djibouti’s external public debt-to-GDP ratio ballooned from fifty percent to eighty-five percent, with most of that debt owed to China.
And soon, Djibouti may hand over control of the Doraleh Container Terminal, a strategically-located shipping port on the Red Sea, to Chinese state-owned enterprises.
Mr Bolton says Countries that receive U.S. assistance must invest in health and education, encourage accountable and transparent governance, support fiscal transparency, and promote the rule of law.
The administration will not allow hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund corrupt autocrats, who use the money to fill their coffers at the expense of their people, or commit gross human rights abuses.
The administration is also developing a new foreign assistance strategy to improve the effectiveness of American foreign aid worldwide. American foreign assistance was originally designed to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and most recently to fight terrorism after 9/11.
Today, we need to make adjustments to address the pressing challenge of great power competition, and to correct past mistakes in structuring our funding.
In short, the predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa; threaten the financial independence of African nations; inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment; interfere with U.S. military operations; and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.