Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Secretive aid to Africa...

I doubt the authors of this report "Chinese Development Finance in Africa Roughly Equal to US Assistance" really and accurately know about Africa. The idea is good but they seem to use a poor methodology: "The database draws upon thousands of news reports on Chinese-backed projects in Africa from 2000 to 2011" therefore often inaccurate and non actualised data, and in the end this report, started with a good idea but ended with mediocre result. It fits the mood of a massive neo colonial interest for human resources and minerals of Africa not for aid to Africa's development.

The focus of this US funded project for the way China handles its aid to Africa is set in motion with this comment: "... Further analysis of the media reports of Chinese-backed projects may eventually yield insights into such controversial questions as to what extent Chinese assistance to the region is focused on natural resource extraction, and whether Chinese activities complement or compete with assistance from other donors."

The difficulty to assess the situation of such aid to Africa is roughly admitted here: "Further complicating matters, Chinese package financing often brings together agreements that mix aid, investment, export credits, and both concessional and non-concessional financing. Chinese state-owned enterprises also blur the line between official government finance and private flows." I am amazed to read that this report has been repeated everywhere, of course it is a Washington based report!

TICAD V is approaching. Still a lot of misunderstanding by US, Chinese and Japanese about how African nations think, conceive, achieve.

Some watchers also wonder whether Japan contrary to China will offer the sufficient tools for development to its African partners? Does it fit the needs of African nations, one by one, or as a whole, or is it going to be a way for digging further more into Africa's rich soil, as usual, sending their NGO's as intelligence agencies' spooks for the benefit of Japan corporations.

In the end the whole motion will obliterate the aim of development of people and nations to a mere rush for a quick profit. Same as China is doing filling the suitcases of African leaders with cash after a juicy's visit to Beijing.

"While official ODA from Western countries and some major developing countries is openly reported and easily tabulated, Chinese aid [to Africa] has been much more difficult to track, said creators of the database, china aid-data org

"China treats its aid activities as a state secret".

About this Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington's report, read the French presentation in "Jeune Afrique"

Now an interesting counter report, quite informative here "China in Africa: The Real Story". "The main problem is that the teams that have been collecting the data and their supervisors simply don't know enough about China in Africa, or how to check media reports"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Japan "Sovereignty Day" celebration or humiliation?

In Asia, Cold War history and treaties remain tumultuous times

Demonstration in Ginowan, Okinawa, April 28

"Sovereignty Anniversary a Day of Celebration, or Humiliation?" That's the title of the Wall Street Journal today: "As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led a ceremony Sunday to commemorate Japan’s return to independence from U.S. occupation after World War II, a flame of anger erupted in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa." 

Earlier  April 28 this Editorial of the Japan Times: "Japan ceremony an affront to Okinawans" 69.9 % of polled didn't support the ceremony… former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said in a recent interview with Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times: “I am afraid that this ceremony will serve as a step to change the shape of Japan and to open the door for changing the Constitution...” most politicians do not know the cruelty of war and these politicians are trying to change the Constitution including its Article 9. " EoQ.

Here is Japanese TV ANN news Evening news screen copy April 28, 2013. A recent poll by a local Okinawa media found that about 70% of respondents opposed the ceremony in Tokyo, and about 60% said Okinawan prefectural officials shouldn’t attend. Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima did not attend the ceremony.

Here is the ceremony with the Imperial couple and the nationalist prime minister Abe with deputy prime minister Taro Aso (also a nationalist) celebrating the Treaty of San Francisco April 28 which infuriated majority of the Okinawans.

Prime minister Abe speech

Some wonder if: "sovereignty really came back to Okinawa and to Japan." Abroad, among countries who suffered from the Pacific War, neither the Republic of China in Taiwan nor the People's Republic of China in mainland China were invited to the signature of San Francisco Peace Treaty because of the Chinese Civil War and the controversy over which government was legitimate. On August 15, 1951 and September 18, 1951 the People's Republic of China published statements denouncing the treaty, stating that it was illegal and should not be recognised. Russia, then the Soviet Union's objections were detailed in a lengthy September 8, 1951 statement by Gromyko. The statement contained a number of Soviet Union's claims and assertions: that the treaty did not provide any guarantees against the rise of Japanese militarism...

Futenma in Ginowan city, Okinawa

How to illustrate the extremely tense situation between Okinawa and the rest of Japan, between the injured hearts of Okinawans and Washington? To find out I have just been flying to Okinawa this month of April to see how Okinawa could be a target for North Korea, about opposition of Okinawa to US military bases and the noisy take-off of US Air Force jets, and to discover current issues of social and cultural life of this strategic island. Here is my news-report aired from Naha, "en Français" on RTL Monde news, program anchored from Paris by Daniel Férin.

The "hawkish" prime minister Shinzo Abe consider that such a "Sovereignty Day" ceremony would help younger Japanese "recognise" that the country regained independence following seven years of postwar occupation by US forces after its surrender. "We should particularly bear in mind the fact that the administrative rights over Okinawa, which experienced, he said, brutal ground battles and suffered an immense toll, were separated from Japan for the longest period of time. Any casual statement would be meaningless in light of the sufferings that the people of Okinawa endured, and were forced to conceal, both during and after the war..."