Last weekend, the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China- Wang Yi, at the head of a high power Chinese Delegation, on Sunday, ended a two-day official visit to Liberia.
The recent visit was to assess – at first hand, the level of progress achieved so far in Liberia’s post –Ebola recovery efforts, exchange views on the challenges that may face the recovery process, as well as explore means of consolidating Liberia-China relations, among others.
At the end of the visit, the Liberian Government described Foreign Minister Yi’s two-day visit to Liberia as an authentication of the strength of the mutually beneficial relationship between China and Liberia, as well as a new stimulus to the already strong bilateral ties.
But one issue that may have attracted the attention of some Liberians is the Foreign Minister’s position on corruption – something some may consider China’s insensitivity to fighting waste and abuse of public resources in Africa.
According to Wang Yi, whether a certain government is corrupt or not, it is not to be judged by outsiders, but only by the people.
the least thing Africans would want to see is for foreigners to be their judge or judges.
“I believe that all the African governments elected by their people have the capability and such awareness to handle the corruption problems that may happen; otherwise, the people would not have elected them as their leaders,” Mr. Yi told a joint-news conference at the Liberian Foreign Ministry Sunday.
While China’s positive role in Africa in general and Liberia in particular may be undisputed, owing to the fact that most African Countries may be upholding the ‘One China Policy’ to cement its ties with the continent, to suggest that ‘only the people of a certain country have the right to judge their government is an understatement not in the interest of the development and progress of the continent.
Even though some may described the position of the Chinese Foreign Minister on the issue of corruption during his visit to Liberia as a “diplomatic statement”, it was not equally prudent to ‘bad-mouth’ those he referred to as foreigners for intervening in the corruption situation in Africa.
It is no secret that foreign countries and world bodies immensely contribute – millions and materials – to the socio-economic and political well-being of the continent.
It is also clear that funds intended for Africa’s development and alleviation of abject poverty in many countries, including Liberia, may not be achieving the real purposes, as evidenced by the continuous difficulties being experienced by the people of the continent – we can go on and on, and on naming many of these countries in West Africa, East Africa, North Africa and South Africa.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Goernment of the People’s Republic of China, in reality, must be cognizant of the mismanagement of the continent’s resources by its governments that continues to hinder/retard the growth and development, further reducing the people to ‘beggars’, while a few continue to live in luxury.
Foreigners may be engaging African Governments on the issue of corruption because of their investments contributed from the taxes of their citizens and other donors. The fact that whatever they give Africa are from their peoples’ resources and taxes, such must also be account for as a way of satisfying tax payers back home; and when such contributions are misapplied, misdirected or mismanagement, it is incumbent upon those foreign governments to engage the recipients.
While China’s policy may not be in consonance with such global trend in pursuit of its foreign policy objectives in Africa, it would more rewarding to its relations with the continent if it refrains from encouraging waste and abuse of public resources.