By Edward Miguel

Edward Miguel, coauthor with Raymond Fisman of monetary Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of countries, is affiliate Professor of Economics and Director of the heart of Evalulations for international motion on the collage of California, Berkeley.

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Extra info for Africa's Turn? (Boston Review Books)

Sample text

While the Chambishi copper mine eventually reopened, the belief that Chinese investment brings slave-labor conditions remains widespread in Zambia. Some have begun to ask whether Chinese investment is worse than no foreign investment at all, as it seems increasingly out of step with Africans’ democratic aspirations. Even more controversially, Chinese investors have taken the lead tapping into Sudan’s rich crude oil reserves. Western energy firms have shunned the Khartoum regime as punishment for its support for the janjaweed militias that have massacred thousands of civilians in Darfur and displaced millions more.

And drives down world cotton prices, hurting millions of poor cotton farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Tanzania, for whom higher cotton prices would improve living standards. S. policymakers are genuinely interested in keeping Africa’s current economic turnaround going, reducing agricultural subsidies to our domestic cotton farmers would be an obvious starting point. Recent history suggests that unilateral trade liberalization by rich countries can make a difference. In 2000 the United States enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which reduced tariff rates and lifted quotas on African textiles.

Their experiences at home give them a big leg up on the competition. But the importing of Chinese business practices along with Chinese direct investment is not wholly positive for Africa. Take the example  is it africa’s turn? of Zambia’s decrepit Chambishi mine, bought out by a Chinese state-owned enterprise and reopened in 2003 to great fanfare. Local support for the project quickly evaporated when brutal labor conditions came to light: workers were given inadequate safety equipment, paid below the national minimum wage, and denied days off—working conditions similar to what many Chinese mine workers face.

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