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Infrastructural construction is always evaluated jointly by several entities including experts from both the borrowing and lending nations. Feasibility studies will scientifically preclude the approval or implementation of dead-end projects.|
Nobody is forcing aid on anyone. Just as in the case of the post-WWII U.S. Marshall Plan which successfully helped to revitalize war-torn Europe, Chinese aid is going to hugely benefit only those countries that have determined to make use of the aid wisely. Just as American aid was not forced upon unwilling West Europeans, Chinese aid is given only to worthy recipients regardless of political, racial, cultural or ideological factors.
Btw, if you know of a bank anywhere in the world that would force me to accept a low-interest loan to the tune of hundreds of millions please call me at 999-999-999 immediately. Huge award awaiting the first one who calls! My address is 999 Nine Cloud Street, Nairobi, Nigeria. My city is notorious for scam operations involving solicitation letters promising huge monetary transfers to qualified clients who must first provide a valid checking account number for the transfer.
While I am waiting for your call, I must tell you that a significant part of the Chinese aid is designed to build an infrastructure that will connect hitherto unreachable landlocked nations with the rest of the world. That means what China is doing is much larger in scope than what the Americans were doing with their Marshall Plan in that the latter was focused on highly advanced industrialized nations in Western Europe which already had a highly-trained labor force to utilize such aid.
In contrast, Chinese aid is given to those nations which lack trained manpower -- a fact which makes it riskier for China as an investor. So China is taking up her role not only as a marketer, but as a teacher of the skills needed to use such aid. In other words, China is that proverbial benevolent fisherman teaching others to fish and not just to buy his barrel of fish.
Yes, the Tanzanian-Zambian Railway was built at a time when politics and not economics was taking command. The main problem of dispensing aid to Tanzania, Korea, Vietnam and Albania etc. was that without a single exception, the recipient nations weren't grateful to China because nobody would ever be thankful to a lender who was economically in dire straits herself.
Only when your country is strong politically, powerful militarily and rich economically would your aid to poor nations elicit commensurate respect and true thankfulness. Otherwise it is just lunch money borrowed from a credulous brother. This is not to say that Chinese aid to those nations had been fruitless, but the financial returns had been low because we ourselves weren't well-to-do and the projects had not been fully vetted in terms of feasibility studies. The projects served a good political purpose at the time in that they had facilitated China's recovery of her rights as a sovereign nation in the United Nations.
At each stage in China's development, the country had its problems unique for the times to solve and so we shouldn't just be blaming our previous generation who helped others without receiving adequate compensatory rewards. Times are different and the nature of problems are bound to change as a result.
Our job this time around is to ensure that our aid is not squandered, or else we will always find ourselves in the unenviable position of being the Big Brother doing a thankless job again. The proper way to do it this time in the BRI is to use only scientific methodology in prognosticating the problem, matching the needs and estimating the capabilities of recipient nations in constructing their own countries in stride. If they don't have the money we will provide it to only vetted, qualified applicants.
As much as possible we are not going to let hundreds of Chinese workers die in the process of helping others as they did in building the Tanzania-Zambia Railway.
Do not use colored lenses in evaluating whatever China is doing. Developed nations aren't helping African nations to get out of their perpetual malaise occasioned by the lack of infrastructural construction.
The so-called Dark Continent is in actuality full of smart people who just happened not to have gone through the industrial revolution or missed the boat at several critical stages in their prior development and it was not their fault that their development had been held back by their centuries of colonizing experience.
That China is helping them to learn to fish should be deemed exactly the way it is -- a gift from Confucius -- and shouldn't be eliciting sour-grape responses from erstwhile colonizers who had enforced the use of their languages, their customs and their world outlook upon so-called savage nations which in fact have a lot to teach the rest of humanity.