Africa's Dodgy 'Fixers'

opinion

Fixers, powerful middlemen with access to power and corrupt deals have made the somewhat chaotic cities of Africa their home. To ensure sustainable growth it is necessary to rid economies of their tentacles.

By the turn of the millennium, China had undergone more than 20 years of huge economic and social reform. Under the leadership of its erstwhile leader Deng Xiaoping, its policy of Yin Jinlai, or "welcoming in", facilitated market reforms, domestic capital formations and technological advancement.

Deng's four modernisations of the economy - agriculture, industry, science and defence - laid the foundations of the China we know today. These reforms were furthered by his successor, Jiang Zemin, who was keen to start putting China's surplus capital to good use. He began Zhou Chuqu, loosely translated as "going out", a policy designed to deepen access to foreign markets.

China quickly identified Africa as an untapped goldmine, in both a metaphorical and literal sense. By that time, the continent had firmly cemented its reputation in the West as little more than a philanthropic drain.

The Chinese saw it as an opportunity. Africa is home to 13% of the world's population, 2% of its cumulative GDP, 15% of crude oil reserves,...

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