…Explains why African countries find Yuan attractive
By Charles Kumolu, Deputy Editor
Professor Kamilu Fagge is of the Political Science Department, Bayero University, Kano. In this interview, he speaks on the likely implications of President Donald Trump’s post-election attitude on global politics and Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with China among other issues.
President Donald Trump will be leaving office next Tuesday in a manner never seen in history. One of the factors that culminated in such an exit is his attempt to overturn the result of the US election and the subsequent invasion of the Capitol by his supporters. What are the implications for fledgling democracies like Nigeria’s?
Lately, we have seen supporters of President Donald Trump unleashing violence on the Capitol over claims by Trump that he won the election. For him, he must remain in power. These events took place just days before the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Some considered it a shame that this happened in the heart of democracy.
It is a shame, not only to Americans but also to the global community. It is disgraceful because America was witnessing what it accuses other countries of doing. It was so disgraceful that even Republicans joined in condemning the action of Trump supporters.
For instance, a statement by Vice President Pence expressed disapproval of the incident.
Many major leaders, such as the French President and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, have spoken out. They have not publicly criticised it but they indirectly condemned it. The incident will also intensify the rivalry between their conservatives and other races such as blacks and others. Surprisingly, most of his ,Trump, supporters are conservatives, fluent in English but most did not go to school beyond high school.
In the post-election tally, he saw that most of the Biden voters were black and other races. All these things have been ongoing since the days of Black Lives Matter. Imagine how the whites entered the parliament. The police earlier failed to stop the protesters. What do you think would have happened if the protesters were blacks? The number of victims of the attack would have been high. However, the aftermath of the incident will affect internal security in some ways, but it will not have much impact. The only thing that may affect security is Trump’s refusal to cooperate with President-elect Biden. He should have given him some information and handed over power peacefully afterward.
Lately, Nigeria’s relationship with China is growing in many areas. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi, even visited the country recently…
The Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi, did not visit Nigeria alone. He also visited other countries such as Tanzania, DR Congo, Botswana, and Seychelles. The visit lasted for five days from January 4 -9 this year. All these countries have good relations with China in many fields such as trade and economic development.
The point here is that China has some economic relations with these countries. Since 1990, China has decided that every year it will visit countries in Africa that are closely related. This is one of the reasons this year, it chose these countries including Nigeria. In the past, China had nothing to do with world politics. In the 1970s, after the revolution, they closed their country, but after they opened later. Ever since it has focused more on development. China is interested in Africa. In this region, it aims to provide trade and aid mechanisms that are different from the Western system. China is now the world’s second-largest economy in terms of aid and trade. There are strong reasons for this visit.
The common fear is that China is dominating trade in Africa, raising fears of trade imbalance…
China’s system of government and its economy are socialist-oriented. That was the reason it did not get involved in international politics in the past. China has changed its approach to opening up its economic and communist system, meaning that it is looking for a transition to a new system that will help boost trade, economic and political development.
China, after opening up, noted that in the past, some countries in the region had been involved in slavery, colonialism, and had close ties with the West. This gave the westerners an influence in Africa and their leader was the United States. When China came in, it decided that what it had to do to rival the American model in Africa was to come up with a trading plan.
It came up with a lending model that is not the same as the conditions offered by westerners. China has built the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, making it more acceptable to African countries. They are also offering easier loans to African countries. One is not surprised that some African countries including Nigeria have started finding the Yuan attractive.
In May 2018, Nigeria agreed to a currency swap deal with China. China’s central bank said it was a three-year bilateral currency swap agreement worth 15 billion yuan. Nothing seems to have happened ever since…
If you talk about the problems that have caused the delay in the use of the yuan, you will realise that there is more to it. We are just outsiders who see the issue as a failure, but there is more to it. There is a lot of pressure, especially from westerners, such as the United States. In buying and selling oil, the dollar is what is accepted in the world market.
We have to trade in dollars and deposit our proceeds in foreign reserves. As a result, countries trying to break away from the US dollar have been embroiled in a standoff with the United States. For example, Iraq has been at war with the United States, which has led to the death of President Saddam Hussein. Gaddafi’s attempt to change the use of the dollar, thereby allowing gold to be used in Africa also perished for similar reasons.
Looking at Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with China, especially in the area of trade, would you say there is a balance?
Nigeria first entered world politics after independence in 1960, thus opening diplomatic relations with the rest of the world. From 1960- 1970 Nigeria was under western pressure not to have one-on-one contacts with communist countries such as China and Russia. After all, Nigeria at that time refused to accept all aid and assistance from such countries. Nigeria later established a one-on-one relationship with China on February 10, 1971.
There was a trade relationship that allowed Nigeria to have easy trade. Today, China is focusing on major projects such as the Abuja-Kaduna railway, Lagos/ Ibadan, Abuja/Lagos, Kano, and Port Harcourt among others. China gave simple loans unlike the World Bank, International Monetary Fund,IMF, and Paris Club. These institutions have currency devaluation, removal of oil and agricultural subsidies, and high-interest rates as conditions for loans, but China doesn’t come up with such conditions.
Countries trading with Nigeria are doing it according to their national interest. They are coming to Nigeria because this is a country with numerous unexploited natural resources apart from oil.
But China is believed to also have certain stringent conditions for loan…
I am not saying that China’s debt is not a problem, but it is 100 percent better than loans obtained from the West. Some people think that Chinese companies do not pay their workers as much as they should. It is for these reasons that the United States criticises China.
The United States is undermining China’s efforts in Africa, especially in trade and major projects. 20 years ago, China was not one of the world’s leading economies, but now it lags behind the United States as the world’s second-largest economy. In the past, the United States was the dominant power, but now it has a rival in economics, science, and technology. The United States is at odds with China, especially with the advent of 5G technology, and it is rumored that they will move to 6G soon.
Any time Chinese products are mentioned, people feel they are inferior…
Most of these problems are not from Chinese companies.
The problems are from our business community. When they go to place an order in China, they purchase substandard goods to make a huge profit. Surprisingly, when you visit other countries in the world such as the United Kingdom and the United States, you will find Chinese products that are very durable and of high quality.