|Africa News Digest
Ghana President Signs Huge Development Deals with China
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)Ghana President John Atta Mills signed more than $14 billion in development deals during a five-day state visit to China, which ended yesterday. The deals include the establishment of a Ghanaian industrial export capability, which will open the way for breaking out of the colonial model of exporting raw materials and cash crops. The deals also involve building infrastructure.
Some leading circles in the United States have expressed dissatisfaction with the growing role that China is playing in African development; they have also refused to promote this combination of industry and infrastructure development, and are instead promoting low-technology approaches to African development.
During the trip, Mills met with President Hu Jintao. The accords signed by Mills during his visit include $3 billion from the Chinese Development Bank to finance Ghana's oil-and-gas infrastructure and agricultural development.
A second deal for $9.87 billion was signed with Chinese Exim Bank for road, railway, and dam work. The last involved a $270 million loan facility from China to expand the Kpong Water Project, a water-treatment plant in Kpong, Ghana, as well as water distribution networks from the facility. China is involved in several other deals for water supply projects throughout Ghana.
Mills also signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese minerals group, Bosai, for a $1.2 billion investment to establish a modern alumina refinery plant in Ghana. Bosai recently acquired 80% of the Ghana Bauxite Company, which had previously been held by the British imperial Rio-Tinto-Alcan combine, which had exported ore. Since Ghana has substantial bauxite deposits, this is precisely the type of export industry that Ghana's founder, Kwame Nkrumah (1909-72) had intended to install. He had built the huge Akosombo hydroelectric installation for this purpose, but was overthrown in a British-orchestrated coup, which aborted what he had envisioned. But the vision was never totally extirpated, despite concentrated efforts by the IMF and World Bank.
Ghana will begin tapping huge off-shore oil fields later this year, which are expected to rank it in the group of Africa's big oil producers. This is providing a chance to restart its industrialization drive.