By Chris Zumani Zimba
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), commercial sex is ‘the exchange of money or goods for sexual services…with sex workers being women, men and transgendered people who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, and who consciously define those activities as income generating even if they do not consider sex work as their occupation’. Thus, a commercial sex worker has no permanent boy, girl, man or women friend as he or she is ever ready to provide good sexual services in exchange with goods or money. For a commercial sex worker, the idea of having a wife or husband is retrogressive as this permanent partner will stand as a hindrance to the ever blossoming sex business.
In terms of bilateral and multilateral relations between most African states and the big economic powers of the world, the concept of ‘commercial sex work’ is the best suitable description. This means that both the West and China must understand the slippery nature of most African states as they engage them so that none of them is mistaken to believe that they are ever married to these governments of the day of this beautiful region. In terms of obtaining foreign aid, developmental grants and loans, we all aware now that most African states have a history of not establishing a permanent marriage with any foreign donor or align themselves with this ideological block or superpower as they always trade to benefit from all available donor clients. On each material day, most African governments are ready to go to bed and kiss with the highest donor, aid giver and bidder.
For example, from the pre-independence era today, all African states apart from South Sudan and Western Sahara are full-time members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a group of states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. According Fidel Castro in his Havana Declaration of 1979, the purpose of the NAM is “to ensure national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of its members in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics.” Thus, it is not amiss to stress that the NAM has been a tactical political position of most African states as they are purely and perpetually ‘foreign aid commercial sex workers’ on the global scene.
Recently, the first week of September 2018 saw 53 African heads of state and government landing in Beijing including controversial leaders such as Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. As King Mswati of Swaziland who maintains official diplomatic relations with Taiwan was the only one absent, all the 53 African presidents who attended the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) were happily in agreement with the Chinese government that the event was the ‘most important Beijing diplomatic summit of the year 2018’. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa who is the co-chair of the FOCAC summit stated that: “In the values that it promotes, in the manner that it operates, and in the impact that it has on African countries, FOCAC refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe.”
But President Ramaphosa and all his African counterparts are fully aware that China is politically closed and oppressive in nature with poor human rights records as democracy and good governance in the West sense doesn’t exist. However, no one must question and critic Ramaphosa and other African leaders because they all engage and operate within the old framework of ‘commercial sex work’. China is now the ‘new world power’ with most global dynamics being influenced by Beijing for known reasons.
All the 53 African president who attended the FOCAC are fully aware that the socialist market economy of the People’s Republic of China is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP and the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity. While all African leaders know that China has an estimated $23 trillion worth of natural resources; has the world’s largest total banking sector assets of $39.9 trillion with $26.54 trillion in total deposits; is the world’s largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods, they are aware that China is the world’s fastest-growing consumer market and second-largest importer of goods. As Beijing is the largest trading nation in the world and plays a prominent role in international trade and global governance, it is obvious to know and conclude that most African states, as ‘commercial sex workers of foreign aid’ cannot make any mistake to ignore Beijing now or fail to kiss China as it is the highest loan giver, aid bidder and development partner on the global stage at this crucial moment.
In order to further win the full attention of the ‘foreign aid commercial sex worker’, on 3rd September, 2018, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping as the host of the FOCAC pledged $60 billion in financing for projects in Africa in form of developmental assistance, investment and loans with what he said as “no political strings attached” while his African counterparts applauded. This is in addition to another $60 billion President Xi pledged in Addis Ababa to Africa in 2015 which he announced that was either delivered to the continent or arrangements are being made for deliveries. As China has plenty of money to give out as public loans or development grants, many African leaders now know that they don’t need to cry for conditional loans of democracy, human rights and good governance from the IMF, WB, EU and the entire West for now. Consequently, this is a huge setback and backslide to the promotion and consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights across Africa which needs urgent counter interventions from the citizens, media, civil society institutions, scholars, political activists and western cooperating partners.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a Political Scientist, Author, PhD Scholar, Lecturer, Researcher and Consultant