AU says must replace Western partners with China

* Western loans slowed by conditions and checks

* AU says friction likely with traditional donors

By Jeremy Clarke

KAMPALA, July 24 (BestGrowthStock) – The African Union said on
Saturday Africa must turn ever more to China for its development
because conditions and checks often stalled the flow of funds
from Western nations and the World Bank.

Maxwell Mkwezalamba, the AU’s economic chief, said Africa
must end its reliance on Western money.

“For Africa’s development and integration we have depended
on the Western world — we cannot continue to proceed like
this,” Mkwezalamba told reporters.

“We need to diversify our partners that we work with and
hence for us, working with China is something that we have
welcomed,” he said at the AU summit in Uganda.

China pledged last year to give Africa $10 billion in
concessional loans over the next three years and it is pouring
money into developing infrastructure in many nations on the
world’s poorest continent.

Some Western nations say China is interested only in
extracting Africa’s natural resources to feed its fast-growing
economy, cares little for African development and supports
governments with dubious human rights records.

Rights groups say China, which last year imported $6.3
billion of Sudanese crude oil, has failed to do enough to stop
bloodshed in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur and has violated a U.N.
arms embargo on the region.

China denies the charges and has appointed its own envoy to
try to bring peace to Darfur. China’s Foreign Ministry says
critics who suggest China is only interested in Africa because
of its energy resources are “erroneous and one-sided”.

Mkwezalamba said restrictive conditions placed on loans by
some of its traditional Western partners and groups such as the
World Bank was driving African nations into the arms of China.
He did not specify the restrictive conditions.

“By getting support from China and other countries we
strengthen our position in dealing with institutions such as the
World Bank, which tend to impose huge conditions,” he said. “The
resources tend to come very slowly.”

“They tell you that you are going to get $100 million today
but then you don’t get the $100 million until after maybe two
years because the whole question of processing the loan takes a
long time,” he said.

Mkwezalamba said Africa’s increasing outreach to China in
place of traditional development partners would create friction.

“We know that there could be some difficulties that some
financial institutions and development institutions may have
with some of these partners (like China), but for Africa I think
this is the way to go,” he said.

Some Chinese commentators say the West still treats Africa
like a colony, whereas Beijing’s interest is based on mutual
economic development.

Stock Market Trading
(Editing by David Clarke)

AU says must replace Western partners with China