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Trade with Chinese taking Africa backwards

IT is a little-known fact that around 1950 “Made in Japan” was synonymous with shoddy low-quality, low-durability goods. The Japanese fixed that problem, as everyone knows.

Nowadays goods produced in Mainland China are very variable: some are of high quality, b

ut many are not.

China is now flooding Africa not only with consumer goods but also industrial goods and durable consumer items.
The problem arises when governments and wholesalers engineer a situation where only Chinese goods are available for political or financial reasons.

Typically, a Chinese soldering iron in Zimbabwe is sold with the caveat and when it breaks soon after, there will be no replacement or refund while a Chinese bicycle develops all kinds of mechanical problems after a few months of modest use.

This situation is taking hard-earned foreign currency out of the hands of poor Africans in poor African countries and giving it to rich Chinese and their African and other collaborators — political and commercial.

Trade in many Chinese goods is taking Africa backwards but it is making lots of money for a few.

What is required is for an independent study of the situation, and with appropriate measures taken after the results of that study, by the Chinese and African governments.

But as long as the few are feeding at the trough, there is little chance of such a sensible solution, and of course the ineffectual and corrupt UN is of little use.

Alex Weir,

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