China-Africa Cooperation: disrespect to the laws and exploitation of African countries
During the seminar there was an open space for discussion about the process of cooperation between China and African countries. In common, the certainty that the benefits are institutionalized only between the governments of the countries involved and Chinese companies. For local people, disrespect for human rights, social norms and labour, unemployment, hunger and poverty.
José da Costa, from KSTL of East Timor, said that China’s cooperation policy in the country comes down to the export of raw materials, manpower from the Asian country and exploiting the natural resources of East Timor. In a country with over a million inhabitants, where less than 10% of workers are active, there are about seven thousand Chinese doing the work of the local population. “There is a big unemployment problem and we need to debate and discuss how the government should cherish this manpower that is excluded from the labour market. Unfortunately, the effects of this cooperation has brought many negative impacts to African nations, “he lamented.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, there are a strong presence of Chinese companies. The local union movement sought dialogue with these corporations, but faced strong resistance. Most of the workers who work in the infrastructure sector are Chinese. “And with this Chinese presence, how will we reduce unemployment and have minimally decent jobs if unionization is not accepted in the business?”, asked himself Annick de Ruyer, of the Trade Union Confederation of Congo.
For Antonio Tuja, co-president of BetterAid despite the countries independence, this form of cooperation can be considered a process of colonialism in the sense of exploitation natural resources and workers.
In South Africa, where the informal sector is very large, China brings together manufactured goods and manpower, ending the domestic industry, jobs and local progress. “We need to encourage and seek cooperation where everyone benefits,” says Zanele Matebula, from the union federation Cosatu.
Mamadou Faye, ITUC representative, reported the recent construction of a large theatre in Senegal as a result of cooperation with China, where almost all materials and all manpower was exported from China. “The beneficiaries should be much more cautious when receiving help from countries like China. Our nations must seek inspiration in some southern intermediaries countries who have made a policy of cooperation which benefits the people and the trade union movement involvement and the civil society organizations in building policies. ”
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