50 African states meet in Beijing

first_imgForum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, July 19.A two-day meeting on July 19-20 in Beijing was the focus of international attention as ministers from 50 African states held discussions with officials of the People’s Republic of China. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation also attracted the heads of state of six of these countries: South Africa, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti and Niger. Also attending was United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.FOCAC was formed in 2000. Its existence has fostered growing trade and state-to-state relations between the African continent and China.In the concluding news conference on July 21, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi noted, “We are pleased with the results of our cooperation since we launched this forum. African countries have registered tremendous growth in infrastructural development.” (The New Times [Rwanda], July 22)Yang went on to say, “We are committed to open more and more prospective ways of strengthening our mutual cooperation with Africa.” During the meeting a “Beijing Declaration” and “Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015)” were adopted.Also at the concluding press conference, South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that the meeting built on the already strong foundation enhancing sustainable development in Africa. “Let us continue to act in the spirit of mutual trust and sincerity to make our partnership stronger,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.Emphasizing the continental approach to Africa-China relations, Nkoana-Mashabane pointed out that South Africa will not pursue its own separate agenda in regard to relations with Beijing. “It will be based on the aspirations of the African agenda and leadership.”Now co-chair of the FOCAC, South Africa will host the next summit in Johannesburg in 2015. Egypt just ended its co-chairpersonship at the meetingOn July 19, the Chinese government pledged to extend another $20 billion in concessional loans — government-to-government loans at low interest — to various African states over the next three years. These loans will assist in developing infrastructure, agricultural development, manufacturing and the growth of small – and medium-size enterprises.Growth in relations since 2000There has been tremendous involvement in Africa by China over the last several years. In 2011 trade between the continent and China reached $166.3 billion, with exports from Africa to China totaling $93 billion.Zambia’s Daily Mail newspaper, in a guest article by Chen Deming, China’s minister of commerce and honorary co-chair of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of FOCAC, provided a glimpse of some of the joint Africa-China projects begun over the last few years. The article points out that between 2009 and 2011, total trade volume grew by 83 percent.According to Chen, “In Malawi, a landlocked African country, rows of cotton cultivated by local farmers with instruction from Chinese experts are budding; in Ethiopia, a shoe factory, which was built with investment from the China-Africa Development Fund, is teeming with local workers; in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a hydropower station, financed by credit from China, has just been inaugurated.” (July 23)In 2009, when the world capitalist economic crisis was causing retractions throughout North America and Europe, the fourth FOCAC meeting announced eight new measures that advanced concrete cooperation between the two regions. These included development assistance, credit and financial support, technical training and promotion of trade. Products from China are gaining wider distribution in Africa, and goods produced on the continent are being made available to Chinese consumers.In reference to direct investment, China’s involvement stood at $14.7 billion by the end of 2011, a 60 percent increase over a period of just two years. Investment projects are taking place in various sectors of the African economy, including energy, mining, construction and manufacturing, in addition to greater collaboration in the fields of finance, aviation, agriculture and tourism.This escalation in economic investments has involved more than 2,000 Chinese firms. In regard to project contracting, the African continent is now China’s second-largest international market.The inflow of Chinese capital assistance has brought about an improvement in Africa’s infrastructural development. Social improvement projects have created new schools, water and clean energy projects, and the education of more than 20,000 people in numerous occupational fields over a three-year period. The Daily Mail article stressed, “These programs, tailor-made to meet the needs of African countries, focus on enhancing the welfare of the local people.”The same article states that the China-Africa projects “are promptly implemented without any political strings attached, contributing to the realization of the millennium development goals (MDGS) in Africa. They are testimony to the friendship between Chinese and African people. … China and Africa are spotting new and greater opportunities in our economic co-operation.”During the opening ceremony of the FOCAC meeting on July 19, Chinese President Hu Jintao said, “China will staunchly support African countries in upholding peace and stability and seeking strength through unity. China will play a positive and constructive role in African affairs.” (Xinhua, July 19)When referring to the character of cooperation between Beijing and the continent, the Chinese president said, “Both sides should oppose the practices of the big bullying the small, the strong domineering over the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor. We should step up consultation and coordination and accommodate each other’s concerns and work together to meet global challenges on climate change, food security and sustainable development.”Mutual cooperation,not colonialismThe increasing role of China in African development has drawn the ire of U.S. imperialism, which has sought to denigrate these projects as a new form of colonialism. This seems ironic considering the historic and contemporary role of the U.S. and Western Europe in the overall underdevelopment of Africa.The legacy of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism has rendered Africa and its people to a state of poverty and political instability. In all efforts aimed at African liberation and sovereignty, the imperialist states have always come down on the wrong side of history.The People’s Daily Online refuted the imperialist view on Africa-China relations, pointing out that “Africa’s exports of crude oil, minerals, steel and agricultural products have played an active role in lifting the Chinese people’s livelihood. Meanwhile, the continent also serves as an indispensable market with great potential for Chinese products.” (July 18)The same article goes on to report, “Beijing is focused on helping build the continent’s productive capacity by improving its infrastructure and boosting the manufacturing sector, rather than involving the so-called ‘resource-grabbing practice.’ China also provides Africa with much-needed products and technologies, and a vast market for its commodities.”The article also points to the “loans made by the Export-Import Bank of China as an example. Most of the 500 projects it has financed are designed to support local infrastructure construction, including water treatment plants, schools and irrigation systems.”Even though the capitalist governments are attempting to discourage ever-growing relations between China and Africa, the alternative for the continent’s governments and peoples are clear. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) drone attacks in Somalia, the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011 and the failure to initiate effective assistance programs for the continent have illustrated to the world that imperialism has nothing positive to offer the majority of the world’s working and poor people.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

OC trustees approve resolution for solar firm tax break

first_img WhatsApp Facebook By admin – May 22, 2018 Steve Goff Photography. Facebook Pinterest Twitter Pinterestcenter_img OC trustees approve resolution for solar firm tax break Twitter WhatsApp Local NewsGovernment Odessa High’s Jesus Montes (12) passes the ball in the first half of the Bronchos’ 2-1 loss to the Del Rio Rams, Tuesday night at Ratliff Stadium. The Odessa College Board of Trustees has approved a resolution formalizing a tax abatement agreement with Oberon Solar LLC.The company plans to build a solar project in west Ector County.Board member Gary Johnson said the agreement was that Oberon would create at least two new jobs and invest at least $50 million. OC agreed to provide a 100 percent tax abatement for the first five years and 50 percent the next five years.Johnson said the idea was to get the company to invest more upfront. He said he heard Tuesday that Oberon could be investing $150 million.On a separate item, as part of the Globe Theater revitalization project, the board approved a $458,643 bid from Basin Electric and Technology of Midland. The bid includes an audio system and installation, acoustic panel installation, theatrical lighting and installation and performance and payment bonds, information from the board meeting said.Estimated completion date is Aug. 31.Odessa College commissioned a sound study by Marsh PMK for the Globe Theater to conceptualize a new sound system design to “optimize sound quality and system functionality,” the information said.The current lighting system needs to be replaced because it is outdated and cannot be fixed, the information said.Along with the bid from Basin Electric and Technology, a $529,675 bid was received from San Antonio Sound & Lighting. The firm estimated its completion date would be October, the information said.Vice President for Business Affairs Virginia Chisum said all the funds for improvements at the Globe were raised privately. The total was more than $750,000 and there is $543,000 left.She said the college wants to save as much money as possible for landscaping outside the theater.On a separate item, the board reorganized. Tommy Clark is now president, replacing Royce Bodiford. Gary Johnson was named board vice president; Larry Johnson as secretary; and Neil Grape as assistant secretary.In other business:Jeff Meyers, executive director for advancement, said $45,878.30 was raised by employees for the student success scholarships. This was with 97 percent participation. Meyers said the goal was $42,000 with 95 percent participation.Johnson, Miller & Co. was appointed as OC’s independent auditor.In a report from President Gregory Williams, he noted that the Options Gallery in Sedate Hall has been named the Phillips Goff Gallery for Barry Phillips the Elder, a retired art instructor, and Steve Goff, chairman of the photography department at OC.Tabled a request for consent from the board of trustees of the Odessa Junior College District to sell property for less than the market value specified in the judgment of foreclosure and less than the amount of judgment.More Information Previous articleCouncil commissions transportation planNext articleWalden wins JP runoff adminlast_img read more