Ghana is likely to end off the worst in its dealings with world superpower China, political commentators have expressed fears.
According to Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Policy Think tank IMANI Africa, and Dr. Lloyd Amoah who is the acting head of the University of Ghana Centre for Asian Studies, the government is not well prepared to do a deal with world superpower believed to be a ruthless negotiator.
Dr. Amoah described Ghana as a country that has not “put in the necessary hardwork..to deal with this nation” while Bentil observed, “we haven’t done our homework”.
Two Chinese dealings with Ghana have put the bilateral relations under public scrutiny.
There is the $2bn deal in which China would pre-finance the building of $2bn worth of infrastructure and get paid back in processed bauxite.
It has been called a creative, out-of-the-box move to bridge Ghana’s severe infrastructural deficit.
There is also an understanding between the government and China to give a contract to a Chinese satellite TV firm StarTimes, as part of a condition for accessing a loan from China-backed Eximbank.
Ghana is part of China’s grand African plan to within three years, spend as much as $60bn in investment, aid, and loans in the world’s least developed continent – Africa.
In 2009, China surpassed the World Bank as Africa’s top lender and also became Africa’s leading trading partner.
After years of Ghana’s engagement with the West believed to be exploitative, questions are being asked about China’s agenda.
Dr. Lloyd Amoah does not want Ghanaians to “demonise” China because Ghana can learn from the sino-power which took two decades to become a superpower.
Ghana and Africa for that matter, finds itself on the periphery of global trade and is mainly a primary producer and consumes finished imported goods.
China like Ghana, was an agrarian economy in the 60’s with 60 percent of the Chinese labor force employed in agriculture.
China is now the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouse, producing nearly 50 percent of the world’s major industrial goods.
It produces 50 percent of global supply of crude steel, 60 percent of the world’s production of cement, 50 percent of the world’s production of coal.
China manufactures more than 25 percent of global supply of vehicles and is also the world’s largest producer of ships, high-speed trains, robots, tunnels, bridges, highways, chemical fibers, machine tools, computers and cell phones.
Ghana is still struggling to revive factories that collapsed by 1980.
Dr. Amoah believes Ghana needs to do some “hard thinking” in answering an important question of “how do we utilise [China’s] presence to re-industrialise?”.
In his view, Ghana’s leaders need to critically assess its interest in dealing with China.
Kofi Bentil explained the Chinese are ruthless negotiators who “will continue to pursue their goals regardless of the cost to you”.
“The Chinese don’t negotiate with their heart, they negotiate with their head,” he said while advising that, “…the next thing you need to know is that when you are down, the Chinese will not have mercy on you.”
He pointed out a well-known distinction between China and the West’s dealings with Africa explaining, China does not meddle with a country’s local politics.
He picked on the bauxite-for-infrastructure deal as evidence that Ghana does not fully understand what it wants.
“We haven’t even evaluated our own bauxite and what they are worth and then we go into negotiations”, he claimed and pointed out that this is a sure way to lose out in dealing with China.
Source : Myjoyonline.com