14 April 2008

China-Congo Infrastructure Deal ~ Win/Win?

As I wrote a few days ago, there's a pressing need for rail infrastructure in Africa. In today's BBC, there's a comprehensive article entitled China to seal $9bn DR Congo deal about a massive trade -- road & rail investment in exchange for copper and cobalt mining rights. The Congo is one of central Africa's largest states and desperately in need of infrastructure upgrades. Hence the deal, which is murky and secretive and sends rights activists a-tizzy. But compared to nothing, this seemingly apolitical exchange is probably an improvement. The Congolese get "about 2,400 miles of road, 2,000 miles of railway, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities." If you have a chance, check out the video with Paul Fortin, the key negotiator.

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