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Thread: CPEC and Developments

  1. #421
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Sierra Leone cancels $300 million airport deal with China

    Hong Kong (CNN)Sierra Leone has nixed plans to build a controversial, $318 million airport outside the capital of Freetown with a Chinese company and funded by Chinese loans.

    The mega project, which was due to be completed in 2022, had been commissioned by the previous president Ernest Bai Koroma in March this year.

    Its cancellation comes amid cooling enthusiasm in both Pakistan and Malaysia for Chinese loans backing large-scale infrastructure projects in recent months. But Sierra Leone's decision is the first time an African government has canceled an already announced, major China-backed deal.

    "After serious consideration and diligence, it is the Government's view that (it) is uneconomical to proceed with the construction of the new airport when the existing one is grossly under utilized," said a letter from the country's Minister of Transport and Aviation to the project's director, published in local media.

    Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Sierra Leone's Aviation Minister Kabineh Kallon said the current airport would be renovated instead.

    "I do have the right to take the best decision for the country," he said. It's unclear if there are any financial penalties associated with canceling the deal.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Thursday the cancellation didn't indicate any rift between China and Sierra Leone, claiming the project had only been in an exploratory phase.

    "When cooperating with African countries that include Sierra Leone, China has always adhered to the principles of equality-based consultations and win-win cooperation," the spokesman said.

    "I don't think this particular project should be overblown as an indication of problems between the Chinese and Sierra Leone governments."

    Politics at play

    Sierra Leone is one of Africa's poorest nations, and is rated by the International Monetary Fund as being at moderate risk of debt distress.

    Under former president Koroma, who was in office from September 2007 until April this year, the country took on $224 million of Chinese debt -- $161 million of which was racked up in 2016 alone, according to the Johns Hopkins SAIS China-Africa Research Initiative.

    President Julius Maada Bio came to power in a hotly contested election several months ago, and has since reassessed some of the financial commitments made by his predecessor.

    The Mamamah International Airport deal had been controversial for years, partly due to the "lack of transparency" about its terms, according to Lina Benabdallah, assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

    The state-backed China Railway Seventh Group -- an experienced builder of bridges and highways across Africa -- had been contracted to construct the airport, with funding from China Exim Bank.

    "These re-negotiations are an important sign of African agency and rethinking the terms of deals signed between Chinese and African leaders," Benabdallah said.

    Sierra Leone will now upgrade its current airport in the town of Lungi, which has been criticized for its poor connectivity to the capital. Lungi is separated from Freetown by an estuary, which means a ferry ride is necessary to reach the city.

    The government is reportedly considering building a bridge to link the airport to Freetown.

    Debt-trap diplomacy

    Collectively, African countries owe China about $130 billion, according to the China-Africa Research Initiative, money which has mainly been used to fund transport, power and mining projects.

    At this year's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, a triennial meeting between Beijing and African heads of state, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a further $60 billion in loans and aid for the continent.

    In August, 16 United States senators warned their government, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that "predatory Chinese infrastructure financing" was creating unsustainable levels of debt in the developing world, which the IMF was having to bail out.

    Much of the debt was due to extravagant spending in support of Xi's ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure program, which aims to build huge trade corridors linking China, Europe, Africa and the rest of Asia.

    China has been accused of operating a policy of debt-trap diplomacy, which could see Beijing pressure countries that can't repay loans into exploitative deals. In 2010, Beijing invested $1.5 billion in a Sri Lankan port. When the country couldn't repay its debt, the facility was signed over to a Chinese-state owned company on a 99-year lease.

    But some African leaders have been grateful for the investment the Chinese government has been providing.
    "China has become a major investor in our continent. As we look to expand Chinese investment in Africa, we need to encourage more local partnerships between Chinese and African entrepreneurs," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the opening of FOCAC in September.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  2. #422
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  3. #423
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  4. #424
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  5. #425
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    That was quick and see how he reversed his previous stance on cutting foreign aid.

    Earlier mentioned OPIC here

    It appears our rejection of BRI is now vindicated : )
    Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Oct 18, at 13:56.

  6. #426
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    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  7. #427
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    India went bankrupt and learnt its biggest geo-political lesson. Economic independence. Pakistanis go bankrupt often and KSA or the Chinese or the US bail them out everytime. Even if TAPI is up and moving, the transit fees goes to the state, not to the PA. There will be a coup then, again, like a soft coup now that put Taliban Khan in power.
    It is often said that Pakistan is strategically located. What does this mean

    Strategically located with respect to what ?

    India

    Its in allowing trade to flow from North of Pakistan to India and vice versa that they make a decent amount in transit fees.

  8. #428
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    It is often said that Pakistan is strategically located. What does this mean

    Strategically located with respect to what ?

    India

    Its in allowing trade to flow from North of Pakistan to India and vice versa that they make a decent amount in transit fees.
    If the great game is any consideration, then Pak is a wedge between Russia and Russians having control over Gwadar. Right or wrong?
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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  9. #429
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    If the great game is any consideration, then Pak is a wedge between Russia and Russians having control over Gwadar. Right or wrong?
    Explain some more

    Great game was in play when Russia wasn't as friendly with India. There was no Pakistan back then.

  10. #430
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Explain some more

    Great game was in play when Russia wasn't as friendly with India. There was no Pakistan back then.
    Even during the cold war, it was assumed that USSR wanted a warm water port, isn't it? Upto the last part of 80s.

    You're saying Pak is strategically located w.r.t India. What makes this thinking?
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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  11. #431
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    CPEC moves into agriculture

    Agree with the article. This is just one of many Chinese designs.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  12. #432
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    You're saying Pak is strategically located w.r.t India. What makes this thinking?
    Transit. We're the biggest market for trade to as well as from. China doesn't need Pakistan for transit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Even during the cold war, it was assumed that USSR wanted a warm water port, isn't it? Upto the last part of 80s.
    How will that apply today ?

  13. #433
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Transit. We're the biggest market for trade to as well as from. China doesn't need Pakistan for transit.
    Sea-route is the cheapest, land routes not so cheap for transit. And I know China doesn't need Pak for transit. Explain the bold part please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    How will that apply today ?
    It doesn't. China has stolen the march over Russia.
    Last edited by Oracle; 26 Oct 18, at 11:13.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

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  14. #434
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Sea-route is the cheapest, land routes not so cheap for transit. And I know China doesn't need Pak for transit. Explain the bold part please
    There is no sea route without Pakistan from Central Asia. Now there is Chabahar. But through Pakistan trade between Central Asia and India is what i'm referring to.

    Panacea to Pakistan's economic woes is to allow this trade

  15. #435
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    From over a month back and directed at Imran Khan

    “We do not want to be like Sweden, for God’s sake, please make us like Bangladesh” | ET | Sept 24 2018

    Noted journalist Zaigham Khan advised the newly elected Prime Minister and the ruling party of Pakistan to follow the Bangladesh model of development instead of Sweden. In the talk-show he lauded the tremendous progress Bangladesh made in the last couple of years. He drew an analogy between Dhaka Stock Exchange and Islamabad Stock Exchange to explain the weakness of Pakistan bourse. Other participants at the talk-show also lauded the progress of Bangladesh.

    Zaigham Khan said even if the Pakistani Prime Minister can fix up all the problems, including wide ranging corruption, it will take ten years for Pakistan to become equal to Bangladesh in development. He mentioned that Bangladesh now exports goods and services worth $ 40 billion a year but Pakistan only $ 22 billion. Zaigham Khan said “We do not want to be like Sweden, for God’s sake, please make us like Bangladesh”. He further added “We will be grateful to Imran Khan if he can take us to the level of Bangladesh by next ten years, which is also impossible”. The video clip of the talk-show went viral on the social media.

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