By Daniel Chigundu recently in Kadoma
MABVUKU-TAFARA legislator James Maridadi says African governments are to blame for the exploitative deals that the continent is getting from Chinese investors.
Chinese investors have been accused of undermining Africa by looting resources and raw materials through poorly negotiated deals that have left local people vulnerable to exploitation.
The Asian industrial giants have interests in Africa’s mining, infrastructure development and power sector among others.
Speaking at a Dialogue Exchange Program (DEP) on perceptions of Chinese investments in Africa organised by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), American Friend Service Committee and Nango Zimbabwe, Honourable Maridadi said Africa must engage China with a sober mind.
“Platforms like this will give them an insight into what people think about their involvement and it’s entirely up to the Chinese to change the way they do business so that they do business in a way that satisfies our people.
“But we cannot blame the Chinese entirely we must also be able to blame our African governments because Chinese work within the framework that they have been given,” he said.
Honourable Maridadi added that when Chinese investors engage other countries in Europe or United States they do not engage in a similar way they engage Africa because of the frameworks that are put in place in America and Europe which are not exactly the same framework they get in Africa.
The disc-jockey cum-legislator said African leaders must engage all their faculties when it comes to dealing Chinese investors.
“So we are saying to our countries you must start to negotiate business like you are business people and when you negotiate with Chinese, Chinese are shrewd business people with serious work ethic and you don’t get into a deal with Chinese on half a brain.
“You must engage all your faculties and only then are you able to get a deal which is good for your country,” he said.
Zimbabwe is said to have lost about US$15billion in diamond revenue due to poor deals signed with Chinese diamond companies that operated in Chiadzwa.
Speaking at the same occasion Afrodad executive director Fanuel Bokosi said it was unfair to blame the Chinese because they set what they want in deals and contracts and that they will be protecting those interests.
“It’s not always the case that Chinese are bad, they are protecting their interests and they know their interests if we don’t see and know what our interests are we will keep saying they are bad investors.
“So we shouldn’t always blame the Chinese for what they are doing, they set what they want. They say in their deals equipment, material, technology and services needed for the projects should be procured from China ahead of other countries.
“They have said it in black and white that at least 50 percent of materials must come from China and they told us but instead we tell them to bring everything because it’s easier for us,” he said.