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Africa our Heritage

Differences between China and Africa.

Many give up on Africa because progress is slow and sometimes with temporary regression. South Africa  and Nigeria, as leaders, move backwards. Others show slowly progress. Africa does not have the Chinese history of educated civil servants, a government structure of some 1000 years and a one dimensional race orientation,like the Han Chinese with top down Government since millennia and also with Mao and Deng Xiao Peng. In China some 400 million people came out of poverty. ‘One child’ policy kept population growth under control. Fixed borders and total inland control made China the second largest economy in the world with help of foreign direct investment, inland investments in infrastructure and utilities. Attractive to live and invest. China still has a way to go, but is aware of the danger of regression so focusses on economic growth above 5%, now stimulated by local consumption.

Africa as a problem

Africa has all the handicaps one can think of, but also many unused opportunities. Wars between smaller states and even smaller groups in these states are common. Community thinking is limited. Colonial history has not given the countries that India and Pakistan kept alive. Dictators and corrupt government made progress and stability weak. The large natural resources are unused and exported without added value for the countries themselves. It is still a colonial like economy.

So the poor people have no expectation for improvements in their own locations and move to Europe to get a better life and away from poverty, diseases, corruption and criminals. The poor will walk North and will not stop to do so. They have nothing to lose. The European economy is divers and its government multinational and not centralized so sometimes paralyzed. So no extreme solutions: close the borders, or let every one in. Not easy to accommodate the many africans walking North.

Effective solution: education

So what would be a solution? World bank and IMF failed to be effective. Development aid did not work to improve life. For 50 years I believe the best is to ONLY invest in education. Countries can only prosper by competent well educated and motivated leaders. They need education in the their country complemented with education and experience in the developed countries. It is the only process to stimulate better government, fight corruption, reduce inequality and make the economies healthy even with abundance of natural resources and people.

Who can help Africa best?

Europa is responsible because of the time zone, self-interest and colonial history. North America, yes. South America for many countries share the Spanish or Portugese language. The Middle East are in a mess they need to solve with out much interference from Europe. China in they need for natural resources. Indonesia and Australia focus on themselves.

So in Holland we should not promote the exchange of students with China, but in stead with Africa. Many Africans learn agricultural techniques in the Netherlands. Of course they have best relations with London and Paris, but the Dutch with other European countries could do more. Swiss development aid is one of the best. They only help when sustainable results can be achieved after two years. Small, but right approach. Scandinavian countries like Norway do the same. My plea is to adopt more cities as sister cities and some countries as focussed partners in Africa.


Start with the receptiveness of the countries for Dutch approach. Then exchange students and experts. Make added value in their country. Create clusters of industrial growth can at coastal areas. Robert Kaplan states in his book "The revenge of geography” that Africa is not blessed with many good ports and the rivers are not used well for transport as in USA, China and Europe.The Dutch could well advise how to improve ports, build Industrial clusters around it and make inland developments possible by better use of natural rivers. Dutch are the global water experts. The Dutch 9 focussed areas for innovation failed to deliver according to a recent evaluation. Time to re-focus our Dutch foreign aid to where it is most effective in developing Africa and thereby reducing the need for the African poor to walk North.

China needs turtles, Africa too.

Even China as semi development country, see the need to make turtles (Chinese living overseas coming back to Mainland China) happy to return. Schools and compounds are built in key cities as Shenzhen and Suzhou.Turtles are the innovators for China, because Chinese education is non-creative. China sees the need to continuously get new blood from Han Chinese who studied abroad. Africa is partly different. Not one dominant race and not one country. But a continuous stream of Africans to and from Europe might help the awareness of what is needed in Africa and bring resources to execute it.


McKinsey does more studies for African Governments on what could can be done for improvements. Overall there is enough information what can and could be done. Dutch Government could ask such consultants to help to design a water/coast related development approach.

The African Development Bank states in her 2017 report that more African kids attent regular scholing. More people go to health care. Health care is more and more free. The poverty rate is going down. Most countries show economic growth.

The relationships with India gets more and more important as they share the Indian Ocean

Frans van Gunsteren

August 21 2017

© 2018 TonVoogtConsultancy ~ Recent Update 24-08-2017
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