China in Ghana- Not a Win-Win Deal?

Staurday, August 02, 2008

China, Ghana Ghana’s foreign policy was once literally tagged "we neither look east nor west". Much of that slogan is still in tact, but the concessions Ghana has made in exchange for Asia’s most aggressive Tiger’s overtures seems worrying. China seems to be jumping at any opportunity to dominate the business environment in Ghana. They deal in copper waste and scrap, timber and natural rubber, and vegetable products, almost venturing into the domain of Ghanaian small scale traders. Most traders blame the apparent Chinese take over on insufficient legal protection and corruption.

But there is a bigger deal. Ghana’s golden crop, cocoa, is the latest addition to China’s businesses in Ghana. Ghana is to export tonnes of cocoa to China later on in the year, to pay for the construction of the Bui hydro-power project being handled by a Chinese engineering firm. Cocoa production will be increased to enable the government ship cocoa to China. Perhaps it’s a better deal than what Western powers give in return for the cash crop. Some westerners were adamant at building cocoa processing plants in Ghana, citing the country’s humid conditions as a barrier. But is the special love for China not playing into the claws of another predator?