SIERRA LEONE:- Are we PAYING ATTENTION? Are We?
By Alusine A. Sesay
As China offers another mouthwatering $60 Billion loans to corrupt African countries this week, Sierra Leone must never sleep-walk into The Debt-Den of China’s Aid and Loan-SHARKS. We must negotiate cautiously.
What I have noticed lately with this Afro-China Kumbaya is this:-Whichever country offers the greatest economic gains based on China’s growth strategy becomes a target for its aid and loan-sharks.
Currently this strategy is geared towards partnering with resource-rich countries like Sierra Leone, which often LACK the POLITICAL and ECONOMIC STRUCTURES required to efficiently and effectively manage bilateral trade opportunities.
What complicates this debt scare is that China provides LITTLE information about most of its loans to the continent, and this makes it difficult for observers like myself to track their impact and utilization.–It also means average Sierra Leoneans and by extension Africans would not have accurate knowledge of debts incurred by our governments until we have to repay China, which could become onerous and troublesome .
For example, China recently completed the $3.8 billion Nairobi-Mombasa railway project in Kenya — but upon completion, Kenya still owed 85 percent of the total cost.- You see what I am saying ????–
It is unclear how a country with an unconvincing economic projection like Kenya will repay China without any financial hardship.
In-fact, heavily-indebted recipient countries of China’s loan/aid including Ghana, Ivory-Coast, and Nigeria COULD face SIMILAR problems since THEY HAVE ALL received an average of $3.2 billion in aid from China recently.
These loans alone would commit key African powerhouse economies to TRANSFER large amounts of their revenue directly to China over the next few decades. (mark my words) –and what is even more surprising is, the modes of and timelines for repayments of these loans are UNCLEAR..as far as I know.–
(Sierra Leone,we have to be very careful in our loan-dealings with China).
Not only does Chinese aid/loan affect the development programs of African countries, but it could also reduce Africa to a MERE TOOL for Chinese domination of the global economy.– Instead, our African countries including Sierra Leone, should learn from the history of Chinese dealings in other parts of the world, like Sri-Lanka et al —
Let’s take a closer look at Sri Lanka,– Sri Lanka has formally handed over its southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, which government critics have denounced as an erosion of that country’s sovereignty.–
The $1.3bn port was opened seven years ago using debt from
Chinese state-controlled entities. But it has since STRUGGLED under heavy losses, making it IMPOSSIBLE for Sri Lanka to repay its debts.–
Also, China typically finds so-called “partners”, make these partners accept investment plans that are detrimental to their countries in the long term, and then uses these debts to either acquire the projects altogether or to acquire political leverage in those countries.
This is one of the most vivid examples of China’s aggressive use of LOANS and aid to gain influence in Africa and the rest of the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect.
This is NOT FREE MONEY.–Sierra Leone must be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when entering into any partnerships with China, or else we are in for a rude awakening ,come payment day.