- The party that brought independence in Ghana, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has warned against what it called "new scramble for Africa."
In recent times, several world economic giants, including China, India and the European Union have rushed to close collaboration with the natural resources-opulent Africa.
At the end of a recent Summit, a “Delhi Declaration” and “Africa-India Framework for Cooperation” were issued ostensibly to the satisfaction of both parties.
The CPP said it fully supports cooperation between peoples and nations of good-will from all over the world, but it is simultaneously worried that unless these “declarations” and “frameworks” are jointly developed to take proper account of the varied and sometimes even conflicting interests of the parties involved, African leaders may end up being unwitting participants in a new “Scramble for Africa” to the detriment of their people.
In the original Scramble for Africa, the continent was carved up into competing spheres of foreign economic influences and its natural resources used to fuel Europe’s industrial revolution at the expense of Africa’s own development.
“We don’t want history to repeat itself," a statement issued by CPP reads.
“In the case of the India Summit, the Delhi Declaration appears designed primarily to facilitate India’s quest for rapid industrialisation and development while implicitly seeking to cement Africa’s position in the global economy as the provider of raw materials for the industrialisation of other economies,” CPP observed.
The party stated that under the Delhi Declaration, India promises a US$5.4bn credit facility for African countries to import a range of industrial products from India, including tractors, water pumps, transportation equipment, and communication gear.
“In return, India offers Africa “duty free” access to its market for the following: “cocoa, cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, ready-made garments, fish-fillets, copper and aluminium ore, as well as non-industrial diamonds.”
With the exception of “ready-made garments”, which in any case may face resistance from India’s apparel industry, all the products for which Africa is seemingly being granted preferential access are the kinds of primary commodities whose concentration in Africa’s exports has contributed immensely to the continent’s economic and social stagnation.”
The statement indicates that India already has negligible tariffs on most primary commodities from Africa, but maintains high tariffs on processed exports from the continent. This, according to the CPP, has the effect of promoting India’s industrial development through the conversion of raw materials into finished goods while retarding that of Africa because raw materials are exported unprocessed.
By proposing “duty free” access for African raw materials, whose tariffs are already very low, the CPP said India is effectively offering nothing to Africa, while it uses low-interest government-subsidised loans to lure Indian finished products into Africa without offering reciprocal access for Africa’s finished products. “We deem this unfair. It will lead to the collapse of African industry, create high unemployment, and worsen poverty on the continent.”
The party that was founded by late Dr Kwame Nkrumah call upon the African Union to scrutinise the Delhi Declaration carefully before giving it its full blessing and also ensure that the industrial goods from India are of the highest quality and can complement Africa’s own efforts at industrialisation and development.
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