Kigali [Rwanda], January 23 (ANI): China's influence on Africa was witnessed recently in Rwanda where the graduation ceremony of a new batch of military cadets followed the Chinese-style military parade.
On November 4th, 2022, President Paul Kagame who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), commissioned 568 Officer Cadets who were joined by 24 others who graduated from seven different countries, reported Kigali Today.
The colourful ceremony was comprised of a military parade by the graduating officer cadets who formed eight guards while the other two guards were made up of military escort officers.
This is not the first time that Rwanda followed the Chinese-style military parade. Earlier in 2019, Rwandan troops trained by the Chinese army marched in the east African country's grand military parade to mark the 25th anniversary of the liberation from genocide, even shouting commands in Mandarin, reported Global Times.
Leaders from seven African nations among thousands watching the parade to commemorate the end of the 100-day genocide in 1994 against the Tutsi minority.
The Peoples Liberation Army sent over drill instructors to help train soldiers, who shouted commands in Mandarin during the event, reported Global Times.
When troops marched by the stadium rostrum to their right-hand side, the commanding officer held a salute and engaged in a call and response in accented Mandarin: "Look to the right!" The soldiers yelled back: "One! Two!"Strengthening unity and cooperation with African countries is an important foundation for China's foreign policy and a long-term steadfast strategic choice of Beijing. However, Chinese loans to Africa tend to decline during times of crisis and the loan commitment dipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic and its economic aftershocks have adversely impacted projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), both in terms of implementation and funding, reported European Times.
Chinese loan commitments to African nations hit a historic low of USD 1.9 billion in 2020. The total number of projects decreased with only 11 projects funded compared to a total average of around 60 projects a year during 2015 - 2019.
Among the top ten loan recipients, only Ghana received new loans in 2020. In contrast, historically heavy borrowers such as Angola and Ethiopia did not receive any loans.
The trend raises the question of whether Chinese loans to Africa are drying up.
Apart from the impact of the pandemic, BRI projects are losing credibility due to violations of labour and human rights besides causing severe environmental damage.
Chinese unethical ways of doing business in African countries are fast becoming a new normal than an exception. A Chinese national was recently arrested in Uganda for allegedly blocking the Gender, Labour and Social Development Minister, Betty Amongi Akena from inspecting the working conditions of employees at Sunbelt Industries Ltd.
Apparently, at least 80 per cent of the 100 women working in the plant lack access to even basic amenities like clean sanitary facilities. The minister also found that none of the factory workers was wearing headgear despite operating heavy machinery.
Further, workers alleged rampant assault and intimidation by Chinese owners, besides their poor working conditions. Cases of exploitation of workers and sexual harassment by Chinese nationals had also been reported earlier.
Similar instances of torturing locals were also reported from neighbouring Rwanda. A Chinese national was sentenced to 20 years for torturing local mine workers after a video showing him whipping a man tied to a post went viral on social media.
Chinese companies are also notorious for signing highly skewed contract agreements with host countries in Africa. Beijing has often been criticized for signing stringent agreements and further prohibiting their publication.
It also stipulates conditions like repayment being undertaken in Chinese currency or its conversion at the prevailing rates, making the settlement difficult. (ANI)