Saturday, December 08, 2007

Urban Michigan Can Learn From China by Akindele Akinyemi


One of the pervasive myths of globalization critics, and socialists protesters, is the idea that the globalization is not the way of bringing back Michigan. This is ridiculous. Real conservatives understand that free market economics is the key to revitalize urban communities in Michigan through rebuilding families. While China is creating trade with the Carribean and in Africa we are still stagnant in building relationships with either region.

Right now, in Jamaica, all the signage on any touring bus is written in English and Chinese. Why? Because China is investing millions in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica. “Jamaica has become China's most important trade partner in the English-speaking Caribbean areas. Jamaica’'s recognition of China's market economy has helped create favorable conditions for their bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

How come we refuse to jump on the band wagon when it comes to Pan African Trade and Exports? So many of us preach Africa but refuse to practice Africa.

We say buy American but how many drive American cars? You know why you buy foreign cars...you save on gas alot better than a American car. They do not break down as much as a American made car and you know this to be the truth.

The Chinese government reports that China-Jamaica trade volume in 2004 totaled $395.98 million, a 90.8 percent increase compared with the previous year. Chinese export volume accounted for $126.13 million, a 23.6 percent increase as compared with the previous year; and the Chinese import volume was $269.85 million, a 155.9 percent increase as compared with the previous year. China’s major imports from Jamaica are cane sugar, aluminum and bauxite with primary exports in textiles, clothing and light industrial products.

China is also exerting its influence in Africa. The United Nations reports that China-African trade volume reached $56 billion in 2006. Chinese investors are active in 48 of the 53 African countries. The African Development Bank, which met in Shanghai in May, reported that Africa’s economic growth rate reached 5.5 percent in 2006 and is expected to reach 5.9 percent and 5.7 percent in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The fast growth was mainly due to strong international demand for oil and mineral resources. Africa’s growing agriculture sector will also contribute to future Asian investment.

The examples of the Caribbean and Africa point to an important dimension of China’s economic expansion. Once a poor nation itself, China’s prosperity, through trade, is now benefiting two of the most intractably underdeveloped regions of the world. As political activists and religious leaders in North America and Europe continue to call for more government-to-government aid in a well-intentioned but ineffective attempt to address poverty, China goes about ameliorating poverty by bringing the Caribbean and Africa into the global circle of exchange.

This month Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa challenged the West to match Chinese investment in his country. Mwanawasa said Zambia welcomes Chinese investment, credit and loans despite unease in the West over the fast pace of Chinese-African investment. “Those who oppose Chinese investment\... all they need to do is to equal the help we are getting from China. We only turned to the East when you people in the West let us down,” Mwanawasa told Reuters on the sidelines of an African business forum. China has increased its planned investment to $900 million in the Zambia’s mineral-rich Copperbelt industrial hub over the next four years.

Will Chinese culture swallow African and Caribbean cultures? Why aren’t there any anti-Chinese globalization protesters? Time will tell but I know for this much...we can learn from the East in terms of revitalizing our economy here in Michigan. Perhaps we need to get involved in global trade through our urban communities here. We cannot talk about building Black owned businesses in Detroit unless we talk globalization. Before we talk about globalization we need to talk about education.

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