Many misappropriate the phrase “all politics is local” in our ever-globalizing society. They prioritize the significance of what happens on the home front above the events unfolding on the world stage and, for a variety of reasons, cannot be blamed for it.

[h4]US Deliemma Vs Sino-African Opportunities[/h4]

Many misappropriate the phrase “all politics is local” in our ever-globalizing society. They prioritize the significance of what happens on the home front above the events unfolding on the world stage and, for a variety of reasons, cannot be blamed for it.

But when it pertains to our nations’ leaders, it becomes a different story. Today this is applicable more than any country to the United States, whose foreign policy stewards acknowledge China’s increasingly important role in the economic development and political affairs of Africa but continue to disregard it. Opportunities for mutual benefit in the African continent are being squandered in the West and bearing fruit in the East.

When US President Barack Obama begins his trip to Africa later this month, one of the few undertaken during his two-term presidency which has called for dynamic “resets” and “pivots” elsewhere, the US will be under scrutiny for exhibiting complacency in the face of African pragmatism.

We have seen the US cite improperly yet near uniformly China’s “no strings attached” integration policy into Africa as the root of American investment trepidation. Conversely and due in part to China’s potentially stepped-up role under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, a reality is emerging from across the developing world, one so eloquently stated by Brookings Institute’s visiting fellow Yun Sun, who said: The US “is being increasingly edged out of the African continent both politically and economically”, and there is less and less it can do about it.

Take Nigeria, for example. Despite the predicaments hindering our domestic trajectory, Nigeria has enjoyed a particularly rich history of cooperation with Chinese multinational enterprises, one that continues to be fostered and mutually cultivated.

The trade volume between Nigeria and China in 1994 was $90 million, which more than doubled to $210 million in 1995. And by 2000, it had climbed to about $830 million. In late April of this year alone, 20 Chinese companies indicated their interest in establishing manufacturing bases and offices in Nigeria, further cementing the nation’s position as China’s largest trading partner in Africa.

To compete with China’s ongoing presence in Nigeria, the US must become more engaged, implementing and promoting effective, mutually beneficial and social responsibility driven strategies in oil and non-oil sectors alike.

Stephen Hayes, president and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, was quoted recently as having said: ” given all of this activity, it should not be alarming that the US market share in Africa is significantly declining. What should be of great concern is that US investment is not increasing at a faster rate, failing to keep up with much of the rest of the world.”

Scott Eisner, vice-president of African affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, has said that the US ” probably has a small window in the next couple of years before China, India and Brazil take over all of the ownership on the continent and trade relations are theirs to own'”.

The “pivot to Asia” policy of the US has created a controversy, not simply because it denotes a theme of containing China as opposed to capitalizing on the opportunities offered by the developing world, but also because by allowing such two-way relationships in Africa to flourish without offering significant competition, the US has fundamentally missed the mark in asserting such control.

The World Bank ranks 11 African countries higher than Russia for doing business, which in itself speaks volumes of the opportunities offered by the continent. One can live a secluded life only for so long, shying away from unprecedented access to emerging markets, and ignoring the potential to foster new business models and integrate and flourish investment opportunities. We believe that today politics is enough “malleable to facilitate growth abroad and on the home front”.

It is fair to say that China has set a benchmark in African integration for the world to follow. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who warned: ” let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world”. But no one assumed his prediction would work out so productively.

[h4]美国困局与中非机遇[/h4]

在当今全球化的社会中,由于种种原因,许多人仍然在错误地沿用“政治具有本地性”这句话。在他们看来在国内发生的事情远比国际舞台上的事件要重要得多,这是 情有可原的。但是,当与国家领导层联系到一起时,就要另当别论了。这用来形容当下的美国再合适不过。即使已经认识到中国在非洲的经济发展和政治事务中所发 挥的日渐增长的 重要作用,美国的外交政策仍然选择继续视而不见。与非洲大陆互惠共利的机会没有被西方抓住,却在东方结下了丰硕的果实。

美国总统奥巴马将在本月底启程前往非洲,在他两届任期内有一项重要的外交战略即为动态“重置“和”转向”。届时美国对自信和自满的展示将受到非洲实用主义的审视。

我 们已经看到,由于投资上的顾虑和恐慌,美国几乎众口一词地抹黑中国在融入非洲中所奉行的“无附带条件”政策。而另一方面,在中国国家主席习近平的领导下, 中国在发展中国家世界中有可能将更主动地发挥影响。布鲁金学院(Brookings Institute)访问学者孙云(音)解读为,在政治上和经济上,美国在非洲都正在被边缘化,而且扭转局势的可能性也越来越小。

以 尼日利亚为例,虽然在国内发展的轨道上遇到了一些障碍,尼日利亚在与中国跨国企业的合作上有着丰厚的历史渊源,并且仍在继续共同推进合作关系。1994年 中尼贸易总额为9000万美元,1995年增长超过2倍至2.1亿美元。至2000年,中尼贸易额已攀越8.3亿美元。仅在今年四月下旬,就有20家中国 公司表达了在尼日利亚办厂设点的意愿,进一步稳固了尼日利亚作为中国在非洲最大贸易伙伴的地位。

在石油和非石油产业领域里,美国必须更加积极参与、有效推广互利互惠政策、承担社会责任,才能与中国在尼日利亚现有的影响力相竞争。

近日,非洲企业联合会主席兼CEO史蒂芬·海斯评论说:“基于(美国在非洲目前的)这些活动,美国在非洲的市场份额显著下降是可以预见的。人们应当关心的是,美国投资并未快速增长,增长速率已跌至与世界其他国家持平。”

美国商会欧洲事务副主席斯考特·艾斯纳说, 在接下来的几年中,中国、印度和巴西即将夺过非洲大陆的所有权,继而是贸易关系,美国的时间已所剩无几。

美国的“转向亚洲”战略不仅定下了遏制中国发展、而不是利用发展中国家提供的机会的基调,而且面对中国与其他非洲国家这种双边关系的持续加深却没有有效的竞争手段,已经引起了一些争议。

在世界银行的全世界营商环境排名中,有11个非洲国家位次超过俄罗斯,这本身已经说明了非洲所提供的大量机会。生命的长度是有限的,你当然可以选择面对进入新 兴市场的大好机遇而退怯,忽视发展新经济模型的潜力,错过整合扩大投资的机会。我们相信,今天的政治已经足够灵活以应对国内外的双重发展。可以说,中国在 非洲的融入为全世界提供了学习的典范。拿破仑曾警示过:“中国是一头沉睡的狮子,一但苏醒世界将要震惊。”但没有人会预见到,他的预言会得到如此有力的印证。

 

Author: Orji Uzor Kalu, an entrepreneur and politician in Nigeria. Translator: Siqi Han. Siqi is an Intern at the China Program at the Carter Center. Source: China Daily Source Date: 06/20/2013