Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Why are African countries better off under the influence of the USA, the UK and France than under China?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
They’re not. Let me try to explain.
In the context of Trump’s upcoming visit to China in 2017, CNN posted an article on Chinese President Xi Jinping which declared that almost nothing is known about the man. Of course they said that not only because they are abysmally ignorant about the non-US-aligned East (which they despise), but also because if they had told the truth about Xi it would present an embarrassing contrast between an Easterner, a truly enlightened man who is challenging the zero-sum US economics with a deeply held belief in a win-win for everyone, and a West that seems not to comprehend this and in no way shares this sentiment. This simple idea is explained in Xi’s book “Up and Out of Poverty,” which no one in the West seems to have read and no one has meaningfully reviewed. (I read about this at a Chinese-language site). Which is perhaps why CNN thought nothing was known about Xi. The book, written in 1992 and later translated into English and French, tells of Xi’s experience as a social worker in Ningde in Shaanxi Province where he was sent as a youth by the government in a program along the lines of a domestic Peace Corps.
Xi, the son of a Chinese functionary from a relatively well-off city, was shocked at the grinding poverty he found in this town but immediately set about to change this situation. In short, thanks to his efforts, that town, which once had an annual average income of 198 USD, wound up with an average income of 8000 USD last year – virtually unheard of for rural China. Xi thinks he has reason to believe this miracle can be duplicated elsewhere.
Xi has stated in public that the poor concern him more than anything else. Therein lies the salient contrast between China and the West, where the elites, mostly billionaires and their lackeys, never say nice things about the poor, blaming them for not lifting themselves up by their own bootstrops using the levers of the wonderful capitalist system. While CNN admits it knows nothing about this, Xi’s dream is a nightmare to the West, where a Steve Bannon can get away with saying they want to “screw up” Xi’s dream to raise Africa out of poverty through his Belt and Road Initiative. Bannon was in essence saying to hell with the African poor, probably without even realizing it (the Western narrative is that the BRI is just a way of allowing China to rule the world like a despot, the way the US does now. There’s not a stick of evidence to support this, but when you have a multi-billion dollar propaganda machine at your service, who needs evidence?). Even worse, racist Bannon was admitting in this careless statement that he wants to destroy Xi’s chances of helping the African poor. Thoughtless statements like these stick around in history books. Let them eat cake?
But if the West ignores, wittingly or not, that Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative is aimed at raising Africa and other nations out of poverty, Africa is keenly aware of this and anxiously awaits its culmination.
In June of 2017, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi gave a keynote address to a meeting at the opening ceremony of the High-Level Dialogue on Poverty Reduction and Development held at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, and said that China’s goal is to simultaneously lift the poor in both China and Africa out of poverty. Wang also delivered an inspiring talk about Xi’s book on his experiences working with the poor in Ningde. So unlike the shamefully ignorant US media and political class, the Africans are aware that much is known about President Xi and that Xi is a veteran in battling poverty, with success. Can you name an American president who has successfully lifted anyone out of poverty in the last half-century? Lyndon Johnson birthed welfare, but the ghettos grew in proportion to the money paid out because no attempt was made to allow the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. Xi, however, says that is what he did in Ningde and what he intends to do in the future. He also frequently uses the expression "win-win" in his speeches, as if to rebuke the West for its mean-spirited zero-sum nonsense.
The US is the leader of the World Bank and the IMF, organizations that have been involved in Africa for decades, issuing loans but not making a dent in African poverty. The reason for their failure is perhaps best summed up in the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins, the former CEO for a CIA front company working for the World Bank whose trainer at the beginning of his career bluntly told him the goal of his company was to bankrupt Third World nations, making them dependent on these banks for more and more loans. Thus the West’s policy was self-defeating because — as Xi knows — banks make more money off of rich customers than poor ones. And this is the secret behind China’s policy, which could be summed up: I make you rich, you make me richer.
A brief explanation of how the IMF and World Bank keep Africans poor is found here.
By contrast, Xi’s China has lifted millions out of poverty from 2013 to 2016. The English-language Chinese site CGTN reports:
“A total of 55.64 million Chinese rural residents were lifted out of poverty from 2013 to 2016 and at least another 10 million will shake off poverty this year, which means the number of rural Chinese lifted out of poverty in five years will exceed 65 million – roughly the population of a major European country such as Britain, France or Italy.”
So when Trump went to Beijing, an arrogant and haughty man who boasted about his achievements met a humble man who, without a word of boasting, simply made China a much better place to live – and hopes to replicate that experience elsewhere.
And you know what’s funny? The Trump administration makes a big show of being “Christian,” while the CCP is avowedly atheist. Yet Xi’s behaviour and the love he shows toward his fellow humans is hundreds of times more Christ-like than Trump’s.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first.