By: Josephus Moses Gray | Assistant Professor of International Relations |
In the contemporary international sphere power politics is mainly being driven by realism, although there is always conflict with liberalism which sees power from a contrary view. These two theories usually swayed world leaders in the areas of globalist and nationalist, depend on the prevailing situation that involves a state’s national interest. But, this article considers mostly structural realism which suggests that countries are formed a structure by their interactions and then being strongly affected by the structure their interactions. Waltz (2003) indicated that inline with structural realism, balance of power and lobby are the two main strategies that states use for protecting themselves and for interacting with other states and that the choice of one of these strategies is directly influenced by the international structure. According to realism, the possibilities of an alliance forming are related to major powers in international politics while minor powers are only able to form coalition mainly to balance the rising power or to lobby with the recognized influential states; An Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Liberia Graduate School, Prof. Josephus Moses Gray offers a deep content analysis of Liberia, U.S. and China’s Triangular Relations and Its Development Impact.
This article is very essential as it delved into triangular relations of the Republic of Liberia, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, especially when both the U.S. and China are caught in a deadlock of a trade war. The question is can African take advantage of the trade war and maximizes its relations with both countries, and what does African need to do? The Chinese ties with African countries cannot be analyzed without the United States of America being brought into the debate as an overbearing variable regarding the bond of friendship and cooperation. China has a major diplomatic presence in Africa. In fact, Beijing is more widely represented in Africa with missions on the ground than in the United States. Beijing, which has diplomatic relations with Fifty-one continent’s fifty-three countries, maintains an embassy with an accredited ambassador in 48 of them. China maintains offices of a commercial counselor in 40 of those countries and seven consulates-general in five of them.
The phenomena of the People’s Republic of China and the United States in the global arena are quite significant and it presents opportunities and challenges for post-war Liberia’s development. But what is the ultimate push behind Beijing and Washington’s new ties with Liberia and the impact of Beijing and Washington’s foreign aid assistance towards Africa’s poorest states including Liberia? But the new level of Beijing’s influence has ignited political competition between China and the United States. China views development and foreign aid as practical policy instruments to promote relations, friendship, and economic cooperation, while the U.S. attaches clearly stated goals, stringent conditions, and strict criteria for its development programs.
Therefore, considering the balance of power approach, Liberia, U.S. and China triangular relations placed the Liberia-state in a positive position to singly lobby with both America and China’s coalition. What needed is to balance the equation with both states, while at the same time benefit from the African Union bloc interactions with the U.S. and China friendship.
Similarly, the colorful Africa-U.S. ties on one hand and amazing China- African bond of exceptional friendship would be fractional if one does not take into consideration both states’ engagement with Africa’s entire five regions and 55 states. It is against this backdrop that this article provides a vivid picture of Liberia, U.S. and China’s triangular relations, a detailing of the three countries’ long-standing bilateral relations and its socioeconomic and development impacts.
The three countries are known to be democratic states but run different forms of governments- both Liberia and the United States run a presidential system of government, while China, although democratic, runs a socialist form of government. The United States and China have been chosen because they are stable, are the world’s economic powers, actively engaged in Africa and deemed as democratic nations. These countries have been selected, as they depict and reflect an alteration in governance, resources and economic powers.
Ellis (2012) criticizes the “triangle” concept on grounds that it does not consider other important actors in the international sphere; it treats Africa as a unitary actor. The triangular relations approach also offers a comprehensive analysis of complex interactions among the three states involved, therefore the study brings a focused approach to three countries’ relations by assessing impact, challenges and implications for Liberia. The work considered triangular relationships in a plural, nonexclusive style, considering a subcategory of the numerous imaginable triangular relationships that hypothetically exist, without suggesting that the relations of Africa.
Since there are three sides interacting, the conduct of their apparent bilateral relations produces almost simultaneous effects among the three states. it is against this background that Liberia, the first independent state in African is brought into the narrative as the basis of this work since Liberia was founded by freed slaves from America-the American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1847, while Liberia and China to some extent share similar historical experience having suffered imperialism. Therefore, significant effort has been devoted to evaluate the triangular relations involved Liberia, particularly Africa, U.S., and China. Even though there have been several publications, there is no such study regarding Liberia, U.S. and China’s triangular relations and its impact. Therefore, the author deems it very appropriate that the ties are put under investigation to contextualize the framework of triangular relations, as the basis to present informed conclusions.
It is appropriate because the United States and China’s relationship with Liberia is amazing and projects the much anticipated social, political, economic and culture dividends, while at the same time it also has the consequence in the context of gaps. China and U.S’s triangular relations with Liberia and engagement with African states and governments is an opportunity since the two states engaging in several projects, foreign aid assistance, and other supports. One can argue that the prevailing political engagements and contacts between China and the African states, and the interactions with the U.S, on the other hand, present an opportunity that needs, with Africa suited at the middle of the power politics and completion. Both U.S. and China need Africa, while Africa also needs China and U.S., especially considering both countries’ dynamics role in global politics and their economic influence.
According to several studies, China’s GDP per capita had raised to US$9,732 by the end of 2018, from around US$54 in 1952 – a 180-fold increase. China was probably one of the world’s poorest countries at the time. During the same period, US GDP per capita increased from US$2,349, or 44 times China’s, to US$62,606, just 6.4 times. In terms of its share of global GDP, China’s economy now makes up 16 percent of the world’s total, from a mere 1.8 percent in 1952. Additionally, China’s population has grown from 575 million in 1952 to nearly 1.4 billion at the end of 2018, an increase of 140 percent in 66 years.
China has gone from being a predominantly agricultural economy to the world’s factory and beyond, with 27 percent of global manufacturing value,. In 1952, a large part of China’s population struggled to feed themselves and starvation was common. Then, the agricultural value-added accounted for 50.5 percent of the country’s GDP, with farmers making up 83.5 percent of the workforce. By 2010, according to the World Bank, China’s manufacturing value-added had become the largest in the world, and by 2017, it accounted for 27 percent of the global total.
According to Bachelet (2005), China is not a substitute to America’s global dominance, but rather presents social, culture, economic and political prospects for Liberia, a tiny West African state of less than 4 million population, but have copious of resources. But political pundits viewed the mounting Chinese involvement on the continent as a potential challenge to the U.S. long influence and interests, especially when America and Liberia are traditional partners.
But what the phrase triangular relations depict? According to Ellis (2004), triangular relations are interactions among three states that produce complex processes of cooperation and conflicts among them. The term “triangular relations” can suggest a new bond interrelating to Liberia, U.S., and China. “A “sphere of influence” can be best described then as a geographic region characterized by the high penetration of one superpower to the exclusion of other powers and particularly of the rival superpower. Hast (2014) revealed that the “sphere of influence” has two main elements: “exclusion of other powers and limitation of the independence or sovereignty of the influenced state”. According to Hast, the concept of the “sphere of influence” recognizes a country that plays a significant role in influencing the alliances and bilateral relations that other countries in this region may have.
Africa is classed as the richest continent in the world with gold, diamond, copper, oil and vast forest, but yet, the continent is the poorest in the world due to bad governance and corrupt leadership by political bureaucratese. Scientists believe that Africa was the birthplace of mankind. By 100,000 BC modern humans lived by hunting and gathering with stone tools. From Africa, they spread to Europe. Meanwhile, about 3,200 BC writing was invented in Northeast Africa, in Egypt (Work Bank, 206).
As a matter of fact, the aftermath of colonialism is more serious in Africa than anywhere else. Sub-Sahara Africa is especially hindered by its tropical location, high prevalence of malaria, a small portion of people living near the coast, and low coastal population density (Gallup, Sachs and Mellinger, 1999). Weak institutions, poor economic endowment, widespread corruption, and various ethnic, political and religious conflicts are holding up this region for a long time. Africa is especially vulnerable to terms of trade shocks, famines, political conflicts, drought and floods (Morrisey, 2001). It is found that African nations have aid-to-GNP ratios more than ten times that of Latin America or East Asia, but still suffer inferior economic performance. Ironically, within Africa, countries with poor economic policies have received more aid per capita than those with responsible policies (Graham and Hanlon, 2001).
In the 16th century, Europeans began to transport African slaves across the Atlantic. However, slavery was nothing new in Africa. For centuries, Africans had sold other Africans to the Arabs as slaves. The trans-Atlantic slave trade grew until it was huge. According to the World Bank, the current population of Africa is more than 1.2 million Africa’s population is equivalent to 16.14% of the total world population. The continent ranks two among regions of the world. About 39.8 % of the population is urban while 61.2% is rural.
The emergence of China as a major player in the development of African countries did heat up the competition with the U.S., especially in terms of using foreign aid as a venue to strengthen the donor’s power among developing countries. Chinese development assistance and other transcontinental infrastructure projects to Africa, like US$900 billion to the One Belt One Road Initiative, are growing, but the Trump administration aims to slash the foreign aid budget in 2018, especially the aid to Africa, citing corruption as the main reason. The proposed cut encountered fierce opposition in Congress and was deemed simplistic and arbitrary by Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s top Democrat.
While for the U.S., foreign aid assistance helped to place the U.S. in advance position to project its national interest, at the same time to give the country’s leverages to influence political and economic situations in Africa. According to OECD (2017), the U.S. foreign assistance includes loans, contracts, and grants, while Xi Jinping (2017) book title: The Governance of China, disclosed that China-Africa relations are based on ten major pillars include Committed to political equality and mutual trust, mutually beneficial economic cooperation, enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance to security commented to solidarity and coordination in international affairs. China-Africa comprehensive strategy focused on industrialization program, Agricultural modernization program, infrastructure program, financial program, green development program, trade and investment program, peace and security, poverty reduction program, public health program, cultural and people-to-people program.
Aid Data (2014) report which cited William and Mary, claimed China committed US$350 billion in foreign aid between 2000 and 2014, while the U.S. gives US$394.6 billion for the period. According to the Brooking Institute, from US$210 million in 2000 to US$3 billion in 2011, Chinese investment in foreign aid to Africa experienced a dramatic increase. By 2009, China gave about RMB 250 billion of foreign aid to the world, with almost half (45.7 percent) of the total Chinese aid going to African countries.
China Africa Research (2018) argues that China is not Africa’s largest “donor”, that honor still belongs to U.S. However, China is Africa’s number one partner, however, since 2002; USAID has gradually boosted the total foreign aid budget to a steady amount that rests around $32 billion. According to USAID (2017) report, more than two hundred countries receive U.S. foreign aid but said it unduly goes to a few. The top five countries are Iraq ($5.3 billion, Afghanistan $5.1 billion, Israel $3.1 billion, Egypt $1.2 billion, and Jordan $1.2 billion. In the fiscal year 2017, the U.S. government allocated $49.87 in aid for economic and military assistance.
Chinese State Council (2017) explained that the overseas Chinese aid” between 2000 and 2014 amounts to $354.4 billion while William & Mary (2016) research claims that China has committed $350 billion to foreign aid between 2000 and 2014, parallel to the U.S. total of $394.6 billion. According to the white paper issued by the Chinese State Council at the end of 2016, China has given about US$58 billion in development aid to 166 countries and international organizations over the past years. During the fiscal year 2017, the U.S. government allocated US$49.87 billion towards economic and military assistance ( USAID, 2017). According to it country by country report across Africa, the Liberian-state, a traditional ally of the United States of America (USA) has persistently received foreign aid assistance from the American government.
According to William & Mary (2013) research paper, between the period 2000 to 2013, sixty percent of the total aid went to transportation $29 billion, energy $25 billion and communication $6.9 billion, but explained that the Chinese investment in foreign aid to Africa experienced a dramatic increase. By 2009, China gave about US$48 billion of foreign aid to the world, with almost half (45.7 percent) of the total Chinese aid going to African countries. The Chinese development assistance and other transcontinental infrastructure projects to Africa, like $60 billion development assistance has cut the world’s attention, the U.S. has reduced its foreign aid budget to Africa.
Wan (2018) revealed that China ‘s phenomenal economic reform in the post-Mao era, Beijing has built strong relationships with developing economies, continuing to provide aid in a bid to promote South-South cooperation. Chinese foreign aid is often referred to as having “no political strings attached,” and therefore, a more attractive option for many non-Western countries. Chinese foreign aid expenditures increased steadily from 2003 to 2015, growing from USD 631 million in 2003 to nearly USD 3 billion in 2015. Foreign aid expenditures fell by nearly USD 750 million from 2015 to 2016. Foreign aid levels rose in 2017 to USD 2.45 billion. However, this amount is still less than the annual aid expenditures from 2011 to 2015 (China Africa Research, 2018).
According to China Africa Research (2018) report, in 2017, the gross annual revenues of Chinese companies’ engineering and construction projects in Africa totaled US$51.19 billion, a 0.5% decrease from 2016. The top five countries are Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria. These top five countries account for 53% of all Chinese companies’ 2017 construction project gross annual revenues in Africa; Algeria alone accounts for 15% and that the number of Chinese workers in Africa by the end of 2017 was 202,689. According to USAID (2012) report, the U.S. gave out US$97.67 billion over 18 years in ODA to sub-Saharan Africa, with infrastructure projects (48% of total aid) and humanitarian aid (26 percent) being the top priorities. The health sector was given US$6 billion, the agriculture sector received US$4.2 billion and US$3.5 billion was committed to education.
The contemporary China’s active rendezvous in Africa dates to the 1950s, while both countries The people’s Republic of China and the Republic of Liberia entered bilateral relations on February 17, 1977, during the leadership of former president William Richard Tolbert, Jr., a year after the death of Premier Zhou and Chairman Mao Zedong’s deaths, with Hua Guofeng at the head of the top offices of the state, government, and party. China’s win-win policy of core principles is welcomed by Liberia’s former leaderships and the current administration because it places socio-economic, development and equality at the forefront of diplomatic ties and cooperation. Recent trends confirmed that China-Liberia relations are moving ahead in a very positive way, based on a vision of the community of a shared future, mutual support and equality grounded on a common historical struggle against imperialism and national independence.
Liberia is a case study where China’s infrastructures are visible. China has provided aid to hundreds of projects in Africa which involved agriculture, road, infrastructure, health, education, animal husbandry, fishery, textile, energy, water conservancy, power generation, and other sectors. Africa in recent years has come to be a major Geo-strategic importance to the oil-dependent industrialized economies and giving attention that Africa receives from state actors on the global stage in the context of international politics, the idea of an African rebirth seems to be finding more and more acceptance within the contemporary global politics.
For example, Chinese companies have been working in Liberia and have engaged in visible bilateral projects including the construction of public buildings, health delivery, and educational facilities across the country, telecommunications sector, roads, awarding of hundreds of scholarship programs for oversea studies, and has contributed to UN peacekeeping force in Liberia. China has completed the construction of US$55m Ministerial Complex, about US$40m New Terminal at Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, the multimillion Jackson F. Doe’s Hospital in Nimba County, and the planned construction of a US$55m overpass Bridges.
China is also undertaken several other millions dollars’ worth of projects in Liberia including the “Chinese Building” University of Liberia Fendell Campuses, the Capitol Building Annex, rehabilitation of the New Health Ministry and the Samuel K. Doe Spoke Complex in Paynesville, installation of Traffic lights in Monrovia and its environs, the Extension of MVTC, rehabilitations and refurbishing of roads and bridges, peacekeeping mission, awarding fellowships to public and private sectors, and support to the national army and security apparatus.
During the regime of ex-president Johnson-Sirleaf, China’s waived Liberia’s debt. The rehabilitation of major roads and fender roads including the Mount Barclay-Ganta highway, Harper-Fish Town road, Cotton Tress-Buchanan highway Tubman Boulevard, and the construction of the Waterside bridge carried out by Chinese companies. Nowadays, China is Liberia’s number one trade partner. The Liberian-state, a traditional ally of the United States of America (USA) has persistently received foreign aid assistance from the American government. However, figures regarding U.S. FAA to Liberia focusing on the period 2004-2017 amounts to US$3,701,080 billion. Africa receives about $133.7 billion each year from official aid, grants, loans to the private sector (Worldatlas, 2018).
The targeted areas covered under the U.S. FAA to Liberia include energy sector project, forest incomes for environmental sustainability, strengthening political parties Programs, advancing partners and community-based, health care, basic education, good governance, agriculture cooperative development, environmental protection, rule of law and justice, social empowerment and support towards government programs. The first foreign aid assistance Liberia received from the U.S. government through Congress approval was US$100,000. The U.S. has emphasized that it is prioritizing investments to restore and expand health services to address declines in maternal and child health, declines in immunization rates, and increases in malaria. Liberia, under the leadership of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has emerged from over a decade of war to be a key champion of democracy, peace, and development. The U.S. is Liberia’s leading partner, having invested over US$1 billion in bilateral assistance since 2003 (Whitehouse, 2011).
In her remarks, Secretary Paulson (2007) said: I applaud these reform efforts and we will work with the international community to find ways to eliminate Liberia’s debt burden, which will allow Liberia to normalize its relations with the the multilateral donor community, gain greater access to desperately needed development assistance, and put its finances on a more sound footing. We call on other countries to make similar commitments.
“I had the honor of meeting with Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf this week to discuss her strong efforts to rebuild Liberia after its devastating civil war. Since her election in January 2006, President Johnson-Sirleaf’s government has focused on Liberia’s reconstruction while demonstrating its commitment to economic and political reforms (Paulson, Treasury Department, 2007). According to the Treasury Department, Secretary Paulson on February 14, 2007, requested Congress to authorize the use of up to $35 million in debt reduction funds provided for in legislation now under consideration by Congress to help fund the costs of forgiving Liberia’s debt to the international financial institutions.
The request was based on the Bush’s administration policy to forgive $391 million in claims on Liberia under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) framework, and requested funding in the fiscal year 2008 budget to cover the start of that process, set aside $15 million to contribute to forgiving Liberia’s debt to the African Development Bank and redirect more than $150 million in funds held by the IMF as a contribution to forgiving Liberia’s debt to the IMF, in consultation with Congress. Besides, the U.S. government has also provided more than $500 million of development assistance to Liberia over the past three years from 2005 to 2007, accounting for more than half of total bilateral development assistance received by Liberia during that time while in the fiscal year 2007 and 2008budgets, the U. S. government requested more than $200 million for Liberia.
Prior to the election of Madam Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s debt equals $3.7 billion, but the full amount including the more than $1.5 billion of that debt that was in arrears to the international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF, and the African Development Bank) was waived. However, vast majority of the arrears were eliminated using internal resources at these institutions (Treasury Department, 2007). In accordance with the Enhanced HIPC Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, the completion point brought the debt cancellation of an estimated $2.7 billion in debt from the Paris Club, the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank and other creditors (Treasury Department, 2010). The Treasury Department added that the U.S. also canceled 100 percent of its remaining claims after the meeting of the Paris Club of international creditors, bringing the total amount of U.S. debt relief for Liberia under HIPC to more than $400 million.
The remarkable relations between Liberia and the U.S. further resulted in the U.S. government in 2007 to provide $185 million as part of Liberian debt relief financing at the IMF. In its report published on November 13, 2007, the Treasury Department disclosed that the U.S. also provided $15 million to the African Development Bank for Liberian debt relief financing, and additional $391 million in claims on Liberia under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) framework. Additionally, U.S. provided funding for Liberia’s required approximately $2.5 million contributions to clearance of its arrears at the African Development Bank (AfDB) which brought the total U.S. contribution to clearing Liberia’s arrears at the AfDB to about $17.5 million. Since 2008, Treasury technical advisors have worked closely with Liberia’s Ministry of Finance to implement a Code of Ethics, strengthen internal controls to deter and detect corruption, and improve tax collection procedures.
The President of China, Xi Jinping, in his 2017 publication titled: The Governance of China”, explained that China-Africa adopted the principles of sincerity, affinity, and good faith and uphold the values of greater good and shared interests. According to President Jinping, to ensure successful implementation of China-Africa ten cooperation programs, Beijing provides financial support in the tone of US$60 billion. According to the breakdown of the money, US$5 billion is allotted for grants and interest-free loans while US$35 billion earmarked for concessionary loans and S$5 billion goes towards China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of Africa SME. Additional, US$5 billion is targeted towards Africa-China Fund for Industrial Cooperation.
The Chinese US$60 billion earmarked for Africa development alignment with AU agenda 2063 China offered an alternative to the western style of cooperation, which often required adherence to fiscal or other policy requirements as a pre-condition for providing of funds (Trombly, 2010). Borgenproject (2018) reported that U.S. gave out $97.67 billion over 18 years in ODA to Africa, with infrastructure projects taking 48 percent of total aid and 26 percent towards humanitarian aid being the top priorities. The analysis of the content of the report showed that the health sector received $6 billion, followed by the agriculture sector$4.2 billion and $3.5 billion was committed to education.
In their assessment, political pundits believe that China’s no strings attached policy is welcomed by African leaders and states. Other scholars argue that unlike the Western donors who tend to impose Western values like democratic ideas on Africa, China invest and provide aid without many preconditions and interference in their internal affairs, therefore, it is not unimaginable that China is regarded by Africa as a more cooperative and valuable partner to the West.
Besides providing loans, China also invests in infrastructure development and many high-visibility projects, that the African leaders generally in favor. Physical infrastructure constructions have been long neglected if not avoided, by Western donors. Mearsheimer (2012) emphasized that China is Africa’s prime and strongest ally and in recent years has infused millions of dollars into the African continent. For instance, the last FOCAC held in 2018 in Beijing, the Chinese government announced that it had set up a new US$60 billion fund meant for Africa’s development and growth. Ellis (2012) has expounded that problem in referring to the China-U.S.-Liberia friendship as depicts a triangle or trilateral is that it had analytical problems that needed to be examined by African academics since there are several factors that present many triangles with different state actors.
In contemporary history, China and Africa shared similar experiences, both having suffered from aggression, plunder, and enslavement by colonialists. Therefore, the Chinese people and the people of Africa have all along rendered each other solidarity and support and shared weal and woe in their struggles against imperialism and for national independence and liberation. China and Africa have shared historic facts-China is the world faster developing economic and holds the world’s the largest population, while Africa host abundant rich natural resources, brilliant cultures, hard-working, talented and courageous people and significant contributors to the advancement of human civilization and world development.
Africa is one of the cradles of mankind. From the early days of the rise of Pan-Africanism in the 20th century to the formation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 which now gives birth to the African Union (AU) in 2002 in Libya, the African continent seeks strength through harmony and accomplishing renaissance of civilization has long been a cherished aspiration of the African people. The people of Africa have made great efforts on the path of a united front through unity, thus leaving behind glorious pages of success and notable endeavors.
Africa must firmly uphold the road to peace, solidity and socio-economic development; Africa cannot achieve peace and development in isolation from the world, and the world needs Africa for stability and prosperity, and Africa needs the world. The world should assist in a peaceful, stable and constantly developing Africa is a blessing for the world. In a land that has gone through so many wars and conflicts, where communities and homes have been broken down where the youthful population seeks socio-economic development and human development, the world should pay key attention to Africa’s economic plead for help which calls for our extra care. Let be provide a little clear balance of China-African long-standing relationship which has been a win-win situation. China is the largest developing country in the world and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. China and Africa are faced with both historical opportunities for greater development and unprecedented challenges that without doubts are turning into prospects for both countries and peoples.
Despite the vast oceans that separate China and Africa, the friendship between China and Africa remained unquestionable, dated back to ancient times and transcended both time and space. Communication and indirect trade between China and Africa started as early as over 3000 years ago. By the 6th century, China and Africa already had direct contacts via sea route. According to pages of history, in the 15th century, Zheng He, the well-known Chinese navigator of that time, led fleets to the east coast of Africa for four times and visited places in Somalia and Kenya of today(China-Africa Think Tanks, 2018. Even now, the remnants of the crew of Chinese fleets can still be found in Kenya (China-Africa think tank, 2017).
Former President Johnson-Sirleaf(2011) explained that Africa is not poor; it is poorly managed”. Conflicts and crises such as civil strife have affected governance in Africa as well as the establishment of sustainable growth performance. Although some countries have recovered from civil wars, good governance remains a challenge. This includes boosting national capacity to avoid crises in governance, maintaining good internal relationships and peacebuilding, as well as reinforcement of issues regarding national security reducing and crime.
In Africa, poor governance has led to poor economic growth and it is manifested through corruption, political instability, ineffective rule of laws and institutions. Some African countries went through governance failures and corruption at some point in time, but their governance capacity made them recover and ensure the maintenance of rapid growth performance through constant demands to improve government and reduce corruption. In many African countries, corruption takes place as a rule-based for decisions(China-Africa think tank, 2017). That is, public officials influence the economic decision in detriment of the entire society. This results in inefficiency and high transaction costs as well as distortion of transparent and normal market operations and thus, creating insecurity for investors. Corruption takes place when public officials break the laws to fulfill their own interests. The most common types of corruption are bribery and extortion as well as the allocation of public resources to favor political benefits.
In most cases, the African leaders try to run the country by copying the modern western state systems at the domestic level and neglect the tradition and culture of their own people. The leadership in most African countries is centralized, thus, the local government does not have the power and authority to take any decision. Therefore, it hinders efficient the capacity of the local administrations (China-Africa think tank, 2017). Due to rampant corruption, African children do not have access to quality education which is required to let them gain knowledge and skills, to equip them to have better ideas and opportunities for employment. Other correlated problems as well, for example, lack of skills and strong policies, and that is a low economic performance with high inflation. The ruling class across the continent many times pleads ignorance of the fact that they are in power in order to be of service to the citizens and not vice versa; they exploit their positions to put as much public money as they can in their pockets and even get away with it(China-Africa think tank, 2017).
Unfortunately, most African countries have come to recognize corruption as a normal occurrence and often see it as a means to an end. In 1999 the United Nations approximated that the ruling elites drained more than 250 billion dollars out of Africa each year in their private oversea bank accounts in Europe where they have invested their ill-gotten gains and wealth stolen from their motherland. Africa continues to be poor because politics is considered an easy ticket to prosperity, to add to that the leadership has no continuity agenda and opt for dying in office, being some of the richest people in the world amidst the most poverty-stricken citizens in the world.
In this day and age corruption and bad leadership and corruption are killing Africa’s progress while the greater number of the continent’s population lives on less than United States One dollar a day. The population in most cases is suppressed by their leaders, the autocratic means that keep these corrupt political bureaucrats in the hands of power. Again, abject poverty and rampant corruption served as major obstacles to growth and development on the continent; with on the other hand gross human rights violations, injustices, disrespect for rule of law and order, misused of national resources and state wealth by autocrats and corrupt leaders and their families and friends, dishonest bureaucrats, foreign capitalists and the lack of proper democracy, are some of the problems responsible for the continent’s backwardness in the context of growth and development(China-Africa think tank, 2017).
Governance has increasingly become a major instrument for successful growth performance and development purposes in the world. The government does not provide an efficient institutional framework to sustain good governance, transparency, and accountability of its institutions. In many African countries, weak institutions do not secure the required long-run sustainable growth. However, many African leaders are contented with a short term solution that imposes a long term cost to the nation.
China and Africa have since then become all-weather friends that understand, support and help each other. Fifty-one of the continent’s fifty-three countries have established diplomatic ties with China thus far, the most recent being South Sudan in 2011. China-Africa Think Tank, (2017). reported that China and Africa “have always belonged to a community of shared values and fruitful future” and “have always been good friends who stand together through thick and thin, good partners who share weal and woe, and good brothers who fully trust each other despite changes in the international landscape.
China’s unwavering policy towards Africa of non-interference in other nations’ internal affairs nor dictates to Africa to swallow the bitter pills of forced submission or risk the imposition of sanction s or a blockage to aid. Nowadays, China remains a shining and deeply admired posture in the realm of mutual respect for others to be master of their own destiny and captain of their own future. Indeed, that praiseworthy. Besides providing loans, China also invests in infrastructure development and many high-visibility projects, that the African leaders generally in favor. Physical infrastructure constructions have been long neglected if not avoided, by Western donors. Also, Chinese investors are highly reputed by the Africans for their rapid completion of infrastructures with acceptable qualities.
The Chinese government has captured the attention of many African governments and states with Liberia being no exception due primarily to Beijing’s reasonable approaches towards infrastructural development and foreign aid assistance policy in which the Chinese government practices win-win diplomacy. Beijing’s “win-win” diplomatic style has featured greater accommodations with several African countries, but what is the new chapter of friendship subsisting between the two countries-Liberia and China.