LUSAKA, Zambia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton on Saturday warned Africa of a creeping “new colonialism” from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting the continent’s natural resources to enrich themselves and not the African people. Clinton said that African leaders must ensure that foreign projects are sustainable and benefit all their citizens, not only elites. A day earlier, she cautioned that China’s massive investments and business interests in Africa need to be closely watched so that the African people are not taken advantage of.
“It is easy, and we saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave,” Clinton said. “And when you leave, you don’t leave much behind for the people who are there. We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.”
Clinton said the United States didn’t want foreign governments and investors to fail in Africa, but they should also give back to the local communities. “We want them to do well, but also we want them to do good,” she said. “We don’t want them to undermine good governance, we don’t want them to basically deal with just the top elites, and frankly too often pay for their concessions or their opportunities to invest.” Clinton said that American development aid and infrastructure projects come with good governance conditions and that the Obama administration is interested in Africa and the African people. Their success, she said, is in the long-term interest of both the African people and the U.S.
She spoke in a pan-African television interview in the Zambian capital. Her interview followed the handover of a U.S. built pediatric hospital in Lusaka to the Zambian government. Earlier, at the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Zambia Chamber of Commerce, Clinton laid out the U.S. strategy for helping Africa. “We want a relationship of partnership not patronage, of sustainability, not quick fixes,” she said. “We want to establish a strong foundation to attract new investment, open new businesses … create more paychecks, and do so within the context of a positive ethic of corporate responsibility.”
“We think it’s essential that we have an idea going in that doing well is not in any way a contradiction of doing good,” she said.
Clinton is the first secretary of state to visit Zambia since Henry Kissinger came in 1976 to lay out the Ford administration’s policy for southern Africa as revolts against white minority rule in South Africa and what was then Rhodesia were intensifying. Clinton, on the first leg of a three-nation tour of Africa, arrived in Zambia from the United Arab Emirates, where she attended an international conference on Libya. After Zambia, she heads to Tanzania and Ethiopia before returning to Washington next week.