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President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. on Wednesday blasted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s decision to boycott the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in protest at Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe’s presence.

Photo:Marcus Brandt/AFP.  

This is according to AFP reports reaching the Zambian Chronicle on wire.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel(R) and Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa gave a joint press conference after bilateral talks at the Chancellory in Berlin.

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she would explicitly criticize human rights breaches in Zimbabwe when she attends this weekend’s EU-Africa summit in Lisbon. 

President Levy Mwanawasa, emerging from talks with Merkel in Berlin, said his neighbour Zimbabwe was a problem for African nations, but not necessarily the most important problem.

Dr. Mwanawasa said he found the way that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had cancelled his Lisbon attendance because of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s presence was somewhat ‘unfortunate.’ ‘The solution cannot be to boycott Zimbabwe,’ he told reporters.

It would have been better if Brown had attended and addressed the issues. He said the stay-away was not a good decision. Merkel told reporters the topic would not be swept under the carpet with her.

She would raise both human rights in Zimbabwe and its conduct of government, she said, identifying the problems in Zimbabwe and contrasting this with the progress being made in other African nations.

Dr. Mwanawasa, who is currently chairman of the Southern African Development Community, was to stay till Friday on a four-day visit to Germany.

Leaders of the European Union and African states meet in Lisbon December 7-9. Merkel termed the weekend meeting, the first such summit for seven years, historic, saying it involved the full range of cooperation between the two continents.

Almost 80 heads of state and government from the EU and African Union (AU) are set to meet in Lisbon.

© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur  

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ALTThere was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffett, the second richest man in America who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1. He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2. He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha , that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.

6. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO’s only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder’s money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch Television.

8. Bill Gates, America’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffett. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffett.

9. Warren Buffett does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.

His advice to young people: “Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and Remember:

A. Money doesn’t create man; it is the man who created money.

B. Live your life as simple as you are.

C. Don’t do what others say, just listen to them, but do what you feel good.

D. Don’t go for brand name; just wear those things in which u feel comfortable.

E. Don’t waste your money on unnecessary things; just spend on those who really are in need.

F. After all it’s your life so why give chance to others to rule your life.”

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Somehow it gets ingrained in our African minds that a culture of suffering, poverty and an unassuming nature is synonymous with life. For us for the most part, we tend to shun away from success, we tend to consider it a pariah. 

As long as we are getting along just fine, as long as life is not ducking a bad blow to us, it tends to be hallelujah all the way. It looks like we are fine with a life of a paycheck to another paycheck … an employee and not an employer, a worker not an owner; just listen to our politicians and you will get the grip. 

In fact, African nations are ranked at the bottom when it comes to prosperity by the World Economic Forum as revealed in Zambia’s Global Competitiveness Stinks, World Economic Forum Reveals …  not due to lack of resources and expertise, no, no, no. 

It is due to a lackluster approach to the basics and the tenants of human aspirations. We get into these group thinks that tell us that aspiration and ambition are wrong; and we buy into it. This is one of the major fallacies that have kept us behind for centuries. 

Does it surprise you that while Caucasoids, Australoids and Mongoloids were still living in curves, Negroids were busy building pyramids, inventing trigonometry, moving from Stone Age to the Iron Age, discovering astronomy and creating sundials, calendars, etc? 

But just what went wrong is the billion dollar question. Part of the answer lies in analyzing our culture and as long as we keep the same aspects of our cultural tenants, we will forever be at the receiving end in human civilization. 

What we need is a cultural revolution, one that tells our kids its okay to be a millionaire, its okay to be filthy rich as long as you are level-headed about it. I don’t know about you, but for me money is one thing I don’t like to worry about … there is too much of it around the world for me to be an outsider. 

We have been analyzing our blog stats and one area with the greatest number of hits per day has to deal with people wanting to read more about wealthy people around the world. This means that more people really want to be wealthy but just want to keep a low profile about it …

We will soon start exploring ways in which any person that visits our classy-daddy-3.gifsite can learn to start generating wealth at grand scales. We will be looking at ways to become rich using your current resources, starting businesses, networking and how that education is the easiest way to increasing one’s net worth. 

It is because of the above that we like to publish stories about some of the world’s wealthiest individuals. And that’s this week’s memo from us here at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.  

   

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By NANCY MWAPE

LuSE abandons plans to link itself to JSE

THE Lusaka Stock Exchange has abandoned an ambitious plan to link with Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)- Securities and Exchange due to cost considerations.

 

Johannesburg Stock Exchange – Africa’s Largest

Last year, LuSE indicated that it was scouting for US$1.1 million to link its operations with JSE Securities and Exchange by this year.

LuSE had also said the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation was studying LuSE’s plan and would fund the project.

But responding to a press query, LuSE general manager, Beatrice Nkhanza, said plans to link with JSE had been abandoned for various reasons among them the cost considerations.

“Plans to link LuSE to JSE have been abandoned for various reasons.

LuSE therefore is going it alone…by sourcing and financing of the system, just like Nairobi, Dar-es Salaam and Botswana,” she said.

Mrs Nkhanza however pointed out that LuSE was in the process of sourcing and installing an automated system and was currently consulting.

She stated the automated system would be operational sometime next year.

Mrs Nkhanza said in the region, only Namibia Stock Exchange was linked to the JSE Securities and
Exchange.

The aim of linking with JSE Securities and Exchange was to integrate network of national securities market in the region.

In 1997 at Livingstone’s Sun hotel, a committee of Southern Africa Development Community Stock Exchange was formed to integrate stock exchanges, make markets liquid and improve their operations.

By last year September, member States that included South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia had harmonised listing requirements.

Getting LuSE linked with JSE securities and Exchange was expected to create a central point for inflow of foreign portfolio investment and enhance LuSE’s exposure to investors.

Other expected benefits included improved liquidity across multiple markets and LuSE being able to be seen on the London Stock Exchange via JSE Securities and Exchange.

Zambia Daily Mail

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The trial of former president Frederick T J Chiluba has being going on for almost seven years now and most people (including us at the Zambian Chronicle) are beginning to wonder the seriousness of the prosecutors in bring the matter to a close. 

With the turn of events being what they have been for so long, a second look at the Chiluba fiasco brings into question whether what we have here is a systematic exposition of an abstract political theory aimed at the vilification of the accused. At this point, we are not looking at whether Chiluba really stole or he did not, we merely want to be dialectic by looking at the position taken so far by the prosecuting authorities.   

A young Greek Sophist Thrasymachus once defined justice as whatever the strongest decided it was and that the strong decided that whatever was in their best interest was just.

Over the years, we have seen this kind of jurisprudence used; in fact, Chiluba himself used it at several turns in his presidency to his peril.   

Nevertheless, just because he too used it does not make it right for if it was wrong then, it is plausible that it could be wrong today. No one wants justice done than any of us the Zambian Chronicle but we also are tired of the circus the fiasco has brought about.   

It is time to execute and execute properly. Tones of taxpayer’s money are being used and the end of the day one needs to look at the cost-benefit analysis of the whole enterprise.

If we need to hurl Chiluba in prison then by all means, let us do that now and stop all the pussy pudding we have seeing.   If we cannot make the case, let us shut the enterprise (the task force) down and move on to important issues affecting the nation.

One wonders what the powers that be are trying to prove by delaying this fiasco.   Is it that there aren’t enough soap operas on Zambian Television and this seems to provide a holier than thou scenario for some? This certainly may seem to have entertainment value to some.  

We say it is time to close shop on this and move on to other things, we do not want Chiluba to be Zambia’s main pre-occupation when in fact he isn’t. Once Chiluba is not within public eyes if convicted or exonerated if not, let his name be purged from all Zambian lips as we look forward to things that make Zambia proud.   

Many powerful people he associated with around the world do not even want to hear his name mentioned and we are sure the Zambian populace is Chiluba weary either; that’s this weeks memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle  

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.  

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.  

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Bill Gates, Microsoft
Estimated Net Worth: $56 billion

The second richest man in the world is also arguably the most philanthropic in history. He and his wife preside over the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with its $33 billion endowment–not including the additional $31 million committed by Warren Buffett last year.

Among his many goals is to increase the agricultural productivity of African farmers, develop preventative treatments for malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and expand financial services to the poor. “The philosophy that Carnegie had in The Gospel of Wealth,” Bill Gates told Charlie Rose last summer, “It really helped me think about philanthropy, and, you know, how you ought to set very high goals.” Bill Gates will this year leave his position at Microsoft to solely concentrate on philanthropic work around the world using Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

* * * * * * *

Pierre Omidyar, eBay
Estimated Net Worth: $8.8 billion

The eBay founder is a vocal proponent of microfinance–small loans to those generally too poor for traditional bank loans–as a method of cultivating entrepreneurship in Africa. Two years ago he and his wife Pamela donated $100 million to Tufts University to create a microfinance fund that will provide millions of loans, some as small as $40, in developing African and Latin countries.

* * * * * * *

 

Oprah Winfrey
Estimated Net Worth: $1.5 billion

Earlier this year the Queen of All Media opened the $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Two months later she cut the ribbon on another. Her charity, the Angel Network, raises funds for everything from HIV/AIDS treatment for African communities ravaged by the disease to Christmas gifts for African orphans.

* * * * * * *

 

George Soros, Hedge Funds
Estimated Net Worth: $8.5 billion

Soros’ investment in Africa began in 1979 when the already wealthy financier helped bankroll the educations of black students attending the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. Among his many recent projects on the continent are the funding of free and open media, greater public participation and local government, and compliance of African nations to human rights. Last year Soros pledged $50 million to support the Millennium Villages, some 30 villages in sub-Saharan Africa in need of health, education and farming support.

* * * * * * *

 

ALTStephen Case, AOL
Estimated Net Worth: $1 billion

Through his Case Foundation, the former AOL chairman and his wife Jean have committed at least $5 million to PlayPumps, which builds water pumps that also function as merry-go-rounds for rural African communities in dire need of clean drinking water. The Foundation also provides fund-raising expertise and support to KickStart, which sells low-cost farming tools and supplies to help African families “kick-start” their family’s economic growth. During her last visit to Zambia, US First Lady Laura Bush visited PlayPump at a Basic School in Lusaka promoted by Stephen Case’s philanthropy.

* * * * * * *

 

Sanford “Sandy” Weill, Citigroup
Estimated Net Worth: $1.6 billion

The retired Citigroup chairman is now an active philanthropist. As chairman of the board of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, he is overseeing the development of a medical center in Tanzania, where an estimated 9% of the population is afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Weill’s wife Joan sits on the board of the Touch Foundation, through which the couple have donated millions to underwrite medical training for Tanzanian doctors and care workers.

* * * * * * *

 

ALTWarren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway
Estimated Net Worth: $52 billion

Last year, the Oracle of Omaha, and until recently the second-richest man in the world, committed $31 billion of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is particularly active in alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable growth in Africa. Buffett and the Gates’ appeared on PBS’ TheCharlie Rose Show last summer to discuss the gift. “The diseases we’ve already been working on and the education and the inequities that we’ve been looking at for so long just basically doubled by Warren’s gift,” Melinda Gates remarked.

* * * * * * *

 

ALTThomas Hunter, West Coast Capital
Estimated Net Worth: $1.1 billion

The Scottish billionaire plowed proceeds from the 1998 sale of his sneaker business into West Coast Capital, which invests primarily in real estate and retail businesses. Two years ago, he hooked up with former President Bill Clinton to launch the Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative, which he seeded with $100 million. The funds will help provide health care, clean water, sanitation and security in Rwanda and Malawi. Hunter has also committed $12 million to UNICEF’s food program in Niger.

Of the eight philanthropists above – now commonly known as ” Billionaires For Africa”, seven of them live in the United States of America and the only black is a woman from Chicago, IL … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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China, Filling a Void, Drills for Riches in Chad

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Chinese and Chadian workers at an oil site in southern Chad, part of China’s growing economic presence in Africa. 

By HOWARD W. FRENCH and LYDIA POLGREEN

Published: August 13, 2007

KOUDJIWAI, Chad — The small plane flew in low over a scorched, peppercorn scrubland, following a broad, muddy river that was all elbows on its run to the southeast.

New Power in Africa

The Pursuit of Oil

This series explores China’s deepening economic and political ties with Africa.

Drilling for Oil, No Strings Attached

The New York Times

Koudjiwai, a small village in Chad, is surrounded by a Chinese oil exploration zone. 

The first hint of humanity came with the appearance of an immense grid for seismic testing, laboriously traced through the brush. Finally, a lonely, hulking steel drilling platform popped into view.

Chad is as geographically isolated as places come in Africa. It is also among the continent’s poorest and least stable countries, the scene of recurrent civil wars and foreign invasions since it gained independence from France in 1960.

None of that has put off the Chinese, though. In January, they bought the rights to a vast exploration zone that surrounds this rural village, making the baked wilderness here, without roads, electricity or telephones, the latest frontier for their thirsty oil industry and increasingly global ambitions.

The same is happening in one African country after another. In large oil-exporting countries like Angola and Nigeria, China is building or fixing railroads, and landing giant exploration contracts in Congo and Guinea.

In mineral-rich countries that had been all but abandoned by foreign investors because of unrest and corruption, Chinese companies are reviving output of cobalt and bauxite. China has even become the new mover and shaker in agricultural countries like Ivory Coast, once the crown jewel in France’s postcolonial African empire, where Chinese companies are building a new capital, in Yamoussoukro, paid for by Chinese loans.

Surging Chinese interest in this continent has helped bring about what many Africans believe is the most important moment since the end of the cold war, when democracy was spreading in Africa and Western nations spoke of a “peace dividend” that might ease African poverty.

That blush of interest in Africa quickly faded, though, as did several of the new democracies, and Africans and Westerners have regarded each other warily ever since. Westerners complain about chronic corruption and ineffective government, while Africans lament broken promises on aid and a hostile international economic system.

The Chinese have stepped into this picture, coming to struggling countries like Chad with deep pockets, fewer demands on how African governments should behave and an avowed faith in everyone’s ability to prosper.

As Beijing’s ambassador to this country, Wang Yingwu, said at his residence in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital, where the electricity repeatedly failed, “We are exempting Chadian goods from import duties.” When the interviewer noted that Chad produced almost nothing besides oil, Mr. Wang was undaunted, saying, “If they don’t produce things today, they will tomorrow.”

To help make that happen, China plans to build the country’s first oil refinery, lay new roads, provide irrigation and erect a mobile telephone network, for starters.

With such intensive efforts across the continent, China’s trade with Africa topped $55 billion in 2006, up from less than $10 million in the 1980s. To achieve this growth, it has bypassed multinational institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and flouted many of their lending criteria, including minimum standards of transparency, open bidding for contracts, environmental impact studies and assessments of overall debt and fiscal policies.

In some ways, the new Chinese model of doing business in Africa is a throwback to an earlier era of Western involvement that is now widely seen as disastrous. In that era, borrowing countries typically had to work with companies from the lending nation, limiting competition and giving priority to business over development. Today, China takes things even further, signing long-term deals for rights to natural resources that allow countries otherwise unworthy of credit to repay their debt in oil or mineral output.

“In what manner has Africa progressed, in what sector?” said the Chadian president, Idriss Déby, referring to decades of close ties to the West. “Whatever the good will of Africa’s old friends and the old partners in its development, it has not progressed at all.”

Still, major doubts hang heavily in the air. Will China’s hunger for raw materials enable this continent to take off? Or will Beijing’s willingness to spend whatever it needs in Africa, without regard to fiscal prudence, democracy, honest business practices and human rights, produce a replay of booms past, enriching local elites but leaving the continent poorer, its environment despoiled and its natural resources depleted?

A Test Case for China

There are few better places than Chad to watch for signs of how China’s African gambit will pay off. Chad ranks just four places from the bottom on the United Nations scale of human development, yet it is emerging as a critical piece in China’s economic push in a broad swath of sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with Sudan and extending in virtually every direction.

Despite advanced prospecting by French and other Western firms dating back to the 1970s, Chad’s oil had never been tapped. The nation was simply too unstable and the price of oil too low to justify investing much here. The oil that had been found was of low quality, and there was no practical way to get it out.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A young man selling expensive imported gasoline in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital, where little oil revenue has reached the people. 

Drilling for Oil, No Strings Attached

That changed in 2000, when the World Bank agreed to help finance a $4.2 billion, 665-mile pipeline connecting Chad to Cameroon on the condition that oil revenues be used to fight poverty.

Chad’s revenues quickly outstripped expectations, but have not gone into quelling its immense poverty. Mismanagement and fraud have beset the World Bank plan from the start.

Beyond that, Chadian rebels with bases in Sudan have been trying to depose Mr. Déby, so he pressed the World Bank to relax its rules on how to spend the country’s oil money. A compromise was reached, and he went on a military spending spree, buying guns, aircraft and armored vehicles for his troops, along with a fleet of armored Humvees that stop traffic as they zoom about Ndjamena’s dusty, potholed streets.

Seeking an even freer hand with the country’s oil bonanza, Mr. Déby’s government also hinted that it could find other partners willing to invest in Chad, especially with the price of oil so high.

Then, in 2006, Chad ended a relationship with Taiwan and recognized mainland China, and the floodgates opened. China bought the rights to several oil exploration zones in the country from a Canadian company and has gone from bit player to center stage in Chad’s affairs, confident that it can wring smart profits from the most inhospitable conditions.

“The Canadians and the Americans are only interested in really big finds,” said a veteran Western oil production engineer who works under contract here for the China National Petroleum Company, the C.N.P.C. “Anything else they think is not worth their time. The Chinese have a different approach. They are happy with the smaller finds, just lots of them. “They seem to have a different time frame, too,” the engineer added. “They plan to be here for a while.”

Indeed, the Chinese dream in this region consists of making finds here and there, using the World Bank financed pipeline to transport the oil and eventually building new pipelines to connect with a Chinese-built grid in Sudan.

This vision requires not only finding more oil, but establishing peace between Chad and Sudan. Darfur, the chaotic western Sudanese region where at least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million been displaced in a government-backed counterinsurgency campaign, lies next to China’s exploration zones. Human rights groups maintain that Chinese weapons have played a major role in the carnage in Darfur.

Beijing’s recent diplomatic activity in the region may be explained by these Chinese oil interests as much as by American pressure on China to help stop the killing in Darfur.

“It used to be that when we had problems with our neighbor sending mercenaries to invade us that none of our complaints before the United Nations would pass, because China blocked them,” said President Déby. Since breaking relations with Taiwan and opening the door to Chinese investment, he added, “we have been able to raise our concerns without taboo.”

One topic that neither side was willing to say much about was the World Bank’s foundering efforts to ensure that petroleum revenues were well spent here. “I know the current pipeline is part of a project involving the World Bank and Esso,” said Dou Lirong, the general manager of C.N.P.C. International in Chad, calling the authority over revenues “a very complicated” matter. “I don’t know too much about it,” Mr. Dou continued, “but I’ve read a little bit on the Web.”

In fact, the very idea of the World Bank project is anathema to China’s deeply held noninterference policy, which has for decades governed China’s foreign policy and development. Underlying both is a kind of golden rule — China considers other countries meddling in its affairs unacceptable, and it assumes its friends feel the same way.

Cao Zhongming, deputy director of the Department of African Affairs, in the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “China won’t interfere with Chad’s internal affairs. As a policy, that doesn’t change. If C.N.P.C., World Bank and Chad reach an agreement, it’s between them.” But, he added, if Chad does not accept the World Bank arrangement, “neither C.N.P.C. or the Chinese government would impose it.”

“The Chinese government,” he said, “won’t enforce something that Chad thinks interferes with their internal affairs.”

To China’s new African allies, this notion is a breath of fresh air. After years of hewing to the latest fads in international development doled out by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Western donors and the United Nations, African governments have grown weary of the strings attached to foreign aid.

Thérèse Mekombe, vice chairwoman of the committee that monitors Chad’s oil money to make sure it is used properly, expressed surprise about the Chinese executive’s uncertainty about how oil revenues would be handled. Brandishing a copy of the law, she said all of the country’s oil earnings fell under the control of the World Bank arrangement. “The Chinese need to understand that they cannot arrive in a country and just impose their way of thinking,” Ms. Mekombe said.

A ‘Win-Win’ Business Plan

Chinese officials almost invariably describe their relationship with African countries as a win-win — based on mutual respect, aimed at joint prosperity and free of the overtones of exploitation and paternalism that critics worldwide say have governed much of the West’s postcolonial relationship with Africa.

China plans to build a petroleum refinery and a cement factory in Chad, both desperately needed in a landlocked country forced to import basic goods. Indeed, lowering gas and cement prices, which are among the highest in Africa, could do more to reduce poverty than the efforts of the World Bank and other donors combined, Mr. Dou suggested. “We can make a contribution to Chad,” he said.

Asked for an example of what win-win relationships look like, Mr. Dou offered what might seem an unlikely choice: Sudan. In its capital, Khartoum, he said, signs of China’s impact are everywhere.

“If you go to Sudan, you see paved roads,” he said. In the past, “the cars in Sudan had no turn signals, they point directions by hand. Now there are many good cars.”

Asked whether the oil money was really benefiting the Sudanese people, not just their rulers, Mr. Dou replied: “It is difficult for me to say. I am an engineer.”

To some critics, the answer is clear. “China’s no-strings-attached approach is problematic, particularly if its effect, if not its intent, is to undermine others’ efforts to change situations on the ground,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Often what is happening,” he added, “is underwriting of repression.”

Few Benefits for the People

Even with binding arrangements governing the use of oil revenues, Chad’s people have largely missed out.

In the Mayo-Kébbi region, where much of China’s feverish oil exploration is happening, the city of Bongor hardly looks like the capital of the booming oil region it is set to become. Along its tree-fringed main avenue, the briskest business is preparing the city’s signature dish — a chicken so scrawny it can be grilled whole in a few minutes.

At the lone hospital, a moldering colonial-era structure, a handful of workers tended to dozens of patients suffering from the classic ailments of poverty: hunger, diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, pneumonia. Civil servants were on strike, seeking to force the government, which according to World Bank estimates will collect $1.2 billion in oil money this year, to increase their meager salaries.

Pauline Maratangou, a 53-year-old midwife, did show up to work, and it was a good thing. Half a dozen pregnant women with bellies fit to burst patiently awaited her services.

“Vas-y, vas-y, vas-y!” she cooed, urging an 18-year-old mother to push. The maternity ward had only a padded bench for deliveries and no stirrups. The floors and walls were caked with dirt — the orderlies were on strike. Ms. Maratangou worked with quick, efficient motions, pouring iodine over the crown of the baby’s head as it emerged, trying to keep mother and child free of infection.

At last a little boy popped out, his head slightly misshapen, like a peanut shell.

“Ah, he’s a handsome boy,” she said, holding him aloft, feet first, waiting for his first bellowing cries. There was only time to snip his umbilical cord, weigh him — five and a half pounds, not too bad for this part of the world — and swaddle him in rags before the next mother, also 18, was ready to hop on the table still slick with afterbirth slime.

The grim conditions help explain why Chad has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. One of every five children will die before age 5.

“We hear that our country has oil, but we see no evidence of it here,” said Ms. Maratangou, the midwife.

Officials in Bongor say money from Chinese investments could fix schools and hospitals, or provide jobs and new roads. Under Chadian law, 5 percent of the oil revenue is supposed to go back to the community where the oil was drilled.

“We have very high hopes,” said Khalifa Malloum, the secretary general of Bongor’s regional government. “If the West does not want to invest in us, let the Chinese come. We welcome them. They don’t tell us what to do and they bring development. They are good partners.”

But Limassou Saleh, a community organizer in Bongor, said he was deeply skeptical. “Chad is maybe the most corrupt country in the world,” Mr. Saleh said. “We have a long history of human rights violations, of lack of transparency, of exploitation. China has a reputation for corruption. They are one of the worst human rights abusers. They have no record of transparency. What would we want with a country like that? Only to make our own problems worse.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/13/world/africa/13chinaafrica.html

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