African political bigwigs convened in Beijing, the Chinese capital last week, to hobnob with President Xi Jinping and his coterie of communists.
Dubbed the China-Africa Summit, the gathering has become an annual ritual where African leaders are feted by their Chinese partners for obvious reasons.
At the end of the lavish banquets and lengthy conferences, the Chinese cunningly dangle billions of dollars in development aid and loans and a compendium of infrastructural projects before our leaders who subsequently get weak-kneed and unwittingly sign away our abundant natural resources to be exhaustively exploited and our pristine environment to be irretrievably despoiled by ravenous bands of scavenging Chinese.
Our leaders' meek attitude is deeply worrisome. The recklessness and depravity of Chinese companies in Africa have been well documented --- there is extensive literature on that ---but one fact that has not been given much scrutiny is the complicity of African authorities in the Chinese stampede on the continent.
One is therefore left wondering when will African leaders muster enough courage to be blunt with their Chinese counterparts and alert them to the fact that while investments on the African continent on the whole are worthwhile and profoundly changing lives, they are inevitably leading to the destruction of our environment, farmlands and precious water-bodies. And, once these are laid to waste, they cannot be replenished.
President Nana Akuffo Addo was the toast of the Chinese in Beijing. He was wined and dined and as a departure gift, the Chinese lavished Ghana with a two billion dollar loan in exchange for the right to explore our bauxite deposits.
Smitten with the Chinese, Nana said with glee that Ghana will emulate the Chinese economic model. Incredible. This suggests to me that the President is living in a bubble.; does not know the reality of the world outside Jubilee House.
Is Nana going to ape, adopt the Chinese political system too, with its authoritarianism and blatant disregard for human rights? Sometimes, Nana says things without giving them much thought.
Here is hoping that at the Beijing conference, Nana and the other African leaders were able to erect a firewall against China's insatiable appetite for our oil, gold, diamonds, bauxite, and timber.