Kampala- A Makerere University don has said China’s investment in Uganda is not sustainable in the long term.
According to Prof Sabiti Makara, a lecturer in the department of political science, although China gives aid to Africa without any strings attached, the move may not be sustained since some political leaders might abuse it.
He also cited China’s insistence to import raw materials from the continent deprives Africans of jobs. He expressed concern on whether China will continue with its interest in investing on the continent once the minerals are exhausted.
“China gives aid without political ties. African leaders don’t want to be dictated upon. That is why they like China not the Western countries which insist on democracy and social freedom,” Prof Makara said at a workshop organised by Makerere University department of Journalism and Communication, Bergen, Norway and Chr Michelsen Institute with support from the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala.
“Over dependence on China exploitation of natural resources is unsustainable in the long term. Taking minerals and oil to China doesn’t create jobs in Africa and Uganda in particular. They are Chinese who benefit. They are exporting our minerals to China. If they are exported and they are over, will they still need us? Sustainable development may not be realised in the long term.”
His colleague, Helge Ronning, a professor at the department of media and communication, University of Oslo said that China is competing with the Western world for mineral resources in Africa but warned that this will soon attract criticism.
“There is a strong competition between the Western companies and China on African raw materials especially on oil and gas which we are already seeing now in the oil exploration in Uganda,” Prof Ronning explained.
He was speaking under the theme “China’s engagement in Uganda: Media, Culture and telecommunication.
Prof Makara said Chinese soft power approach is expanding adding that they are using culture, investment, music and money to influence nations.
China’s ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yai said their engagement in media, culture and telecommunications is an assuranced that they are committed to support Africa in development.