Tuesday, January 15, 2008

News from Africa

Malawi ends ties with Taiwan in favour of China - The war of economic bribery between Taiwan and China continues to be won by China. The most recent change in diplomatic relations: Malawi, a small, poor country in Southern Africa bordering Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. "Taiwan's hopes of maintaining relations with the Southern Africa nation were dealt a blow recently when the government in Taipei said it could not match a Chinese offer to provide $6-billion in aid to Malawi, one of Africa's poorest countries." The only countries that still have formal relations with Taipei are the Holy See, some heavily Catholic Central American countries, and some poor island or African countries (full list at Wikipedia).

An optimist might have hoped that the end of the colonial era, and then the end of the cold war, would bring a close to some of these shenanigans. Yet economic battles still rage across the African continent. Deals such as this one from yesterday "Tanzania: U.S. Firm Acquires Copper Concession" are routine. Most of these deals are a lot more boring than Mark Thatcher's involvement in a coup in Equatorial Guinea over oil rights, but the sum total of all the deals is a large numbers of foreign companies and governments trying to find the best way to make money and install friendly governments in Africa.

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