Speaker Events - Monday, September 10, 2012
Dambisa Moyo: Chinese Investment Is Improving African Livelihoods
“In 2007, the PEW Institute went around to ten African countries… and they actually asked the Africans, ‘What do you think of the Chinese?’” said author Dambisa Moyo during an IPI Beyond the Headlines event on September 10, 2012. “Africans that were surveyed said, ‘We love the Chinese. We think they are improving our livelihoods. They are changing our lives for the better.’”
Ms. Moyo cited the survey in discussing her new book, Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World. The book examines China’s aggressive pursuit of commodities in Africa and argues that it is ultimately of benefit to Africans rather than counter to their interests, as often portrayed.
“The story here is not the way it’s painted… the issue is a lot more nuanced than these headlines,” said Ms. Moyo, in reference to the negative press surrounding Chinese involvement in Africa. “Africa is the one continent where there is a lot more misinformation about what the Chinese are doing there. I think it is quite unfair, because [African] economies do need [Chinese] investment very desperately.”
In her presentation, Ms. Moyo disputed allegations that Chinese investments in Africa replace African workers with Chinese workers. “The headline that the Chinese are bringing in foreign workers and putting Africans out of work is far too simplistic,” she said. “We found that in all instances, there were more Africans hired than there were Chinese. And what has tended to happen is that in the cases where there were a number of Chinese workers, a lot of them came with technical skills that perhaps were missing.”
Ms. Moyo explained that there are basically two contrasting models in which countries may pursue development: “One is democratic with private capitalism (US), the other is nondemocratic with state capitalism (China), and they have the same ratio in terms of income inequality.” She added, “From the perspective of the emerging world… they’re looking at this and saying, which model should we pursue?”
“For over 50 years, many countries have leaned towards the western model of economic development and political infrastructure. However, in terms of delivery of the reduction of poverty and also sustainable economic growth, clearly the Chinese story has some appeal.”
Ms. Moyo was born and raised in Zambia. She attended primary, secondary, and tertiary schools there before leaving to pursue master’s degrees at Harvard and American University and a doctorate in economics at Oxford. Her previous much commented-upon books are Dead Aid (2009) and How the West Was Lost (2011).
According to Ms. Moyo, the main difference between the Chinese and American approaches to Africa is that China has treated Africa as a trading partner, while the US has approached Africa as a donor.
“The United States knows that Africa needs investment, desperately,” she said.“ And if the United States really cares about Africa, they should actually start to engage with Africans as equal partners. They need to invest in the African continent and not just write checks out of pity…You want people to invest in you, to bet on you, not to feel sorry for you.”
She added, “It’s a misapplication of great resources to point fingers at China and almost scare them out of the African continent. Instead, we should use those energies to highlight the inadequacies and failures of [African] governments.”
The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations.
Watch event video:
The Global Observatory
India-US Cooperation Grows With Obama Visit
The visit is particularly important for efforts related to stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.
January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”
December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.
January 29, 2015
Ebola Outbreak: The UN’s First Emergency Health Mission
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt