Chinese influence grows in Africa: Sierra Leone elections

Yeah, that place out 'there'. Anything not really Cambodia related should go here.
User avatar
Posts: 45316
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 2833
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Chinese influence grows in Africa: Sierra Leone elections

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

China’s influence looms as Sierra Leone goes to the polls
Beijing has been a close ally of outgoing president and is seen as a powerful player in an unusually open election

Wed 7 Mar 2018 05.00 GMT
A strange slogan went up from the hundreds of Sierra Leoneans struggling to catch a glimpse of Samura Kamara, the presidential candidate for the ruling All People’s Congress. “We are Chinese!” they chanted during the campaign stop last week. “We are Chinese!”

Sierra Leone will vote on its first new government in 10 years on Tuesday in an election that a prolonged economic crisis and a slow recovery from the Ebola epidemic has left unusually open. A new party led by a former UN executive, the National Grand Coalition, stands a chance of upsetting the traditional two-party system.

But many people perceive one of the poll’s most powerful players to be a trading partner 8,000 miles away that has invested heavily in the struggling west African country and has been a close ally of the outgoing president, Ernest Bai Koroma.

Over the course of Koroma’s presidency, Sierra Leone has broadened trade relations with China to levels not seen since the 1980s. Chinese companies have secured the largest iron ore concession in the country and built roads through underdeveloped areas, including a £115m toll road. China has become one of the largest importers of Sierra Leone’s fish and timber.

Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, faces decades of debt bondage for a new $300m international airport on which construction has just begun, despite warnings from the IMF, the World Bank and many others that it would be a white elephant and a vanity project.

Solidarity with China and its people has taken root in Koroma’s party, the APC. Photos taken in January during a campaign rally in the country’s interior show ethnically Chinese men openly campaigning with local APC candidates, wearing APC clothing. Much of the APC merchandise – cups, fans, T-shirts and banners – was made by Chinese companies. A new seven-storey APC headquarters was constructed recently in downtown Freetown by a Chinese construction firm.

The APC’s presidential aspirant, Kamara, a former finance minister and foreign minister, has been a consistent advocate for Chinese investment in Sierra Leone. Last year, he told an audience at the Chinese embassy in Freetown that China’s success had ushered in a “new era of development” for the developing world, and that Beijing it was an “all-weather friend of Sierra Leone”.

Officials at the country’s embassy in Freetown said China was “apolitical” when it comes to Sierra Leone, and Chinese companies did not equal the Chinese state.

But for many Sierra Leoneans they are synonymous. For Michael Kamara, an APC supporter, chanting “We are Chinese” was an expression of gratitude and solidarity. “They’re trying to show their affection for the Chinese in the only way they know how: by pledging allegiance,” he said. “We’ve done it for the west for 60 years. Now we’re giving the Chinese a try.” ... -the-polls
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

  • Similar Topics
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Big Daikon, cautious colin, Ghostwriter, IraHayes, Oumedc, sigmoid, Spigzy, Stiliko and 432 guests