Undeniably, China’s unprecedented socio-economic and political growth has had an historic impact on diplomacy and development discourse. China, in just within a short space, has successfully redefined innovation in science, given new meaning to economic progress, reinforced political power, forged mutually-beneficial alliances with Africa, and has systematized military might—thanks to its scientific adventurism and leadership progressivism.
Consequently, China has deservedly seen a boom in handshakes from the jealousy Western world to the begging African continent—all hoping to be friends with the fast-emerging world economic and political power house.
Malawi, as such one begging African country, did not let the “befriend China” mantra go unnoticed; it captured available opportunity though not as deeply as the opportunities allowed. It is exactly Malawi’s reluctance as induced by its overbearing and gold-digging Western allies that has seen her lose the best of opportunities from China in investments, trade, and aid.
For a very long time Malawi has been a trusted friend of the Western world. In fact, the West has mentored and times dictated the kind of development path the peaceful impoverished African state takes. Investment in Malawi has all been talk talk talk. This is the case because the West-decreed theory of investments has always been a rigid edict founded on West’s “safeguard our best interest” philosophy. To this end therefore, investors rarely show interest in Malawi as the business environment models itself after the West—if not in practice surely in principle.
Trade has also been a tool for the West for parading its economic and political might. As hard as it is to accept, there is no way Malawi can trade with West without West relaxing its trade laws and regulations. Sadly, West finds it hard to develop trade laws that favor small countries like Malawi, and where that is the case the rules have not been clearly defined, nor have they been consistently applied. Most importantly, such relaxed trade laws have tended to favor as such big capital requiring borrowing to raise it.
Still ill-intentioned has been West’s aid. To this day, economists and those in the know are welcome here, no country in the vast of the universe has ever developed from West’s aid. This is partly because African governments have propensity for negligent use of resources and partly because the West has a bad name for overconditioning its aid leaving reasonable voices to speculate that such aid conditions perpetuates modern-day slavery and imperialism.
The big untruth about leaning toward the West is that the West’s rich business environment and highly developed labor is hardly similar to that of Malawi thus favoring an investment, trade, and aid ideologies that are less conditional, more flexible, and largely indigenously Malawian. China seems to, and of course does, offer that progress-friendly environment hence the need to look east more, and west less.
The West now very well knows that its ideas about democracy and innovation are fast becoming outdated and hence irrelevant. More so, the West now pretty well knows that it is fast been replaced by China on the development front. Scholars, politicians, and investors in the West and Europe recognize of the peaceful nature of China’s socio-economic development and how West’s development-prescriptions have suffered a massive blow by it.
Leaders, policy-makers, and economists from around the world and the African continent are increasingly looking towards China. It is generally accepted by these individuals that the “China way” offers a meaningful re-definition of human civilization and a refined movement towards condition-free, value-added investment, trade, and aid.
African governments are making inroads in the “China way” development road. There recently has been an avalanche of greater efforts made and bigger futures sought by these governments as they understand a great life awaits those that dine with China. Malawi, as resource-poor as she is, has got to join the bandwagon and forge even stronger state-interest ties with China by not only dining with it but also breakfasting and lunching with it.
Zimbabwe has looked east in trade and politics, South Africa has looked east in business, Namibia has done the same as is a host of many other African countries. Granted, China has tales of resource cannibalism. However, China’s depressing side far outweighs its good side hence worthwhile looking east. It will thus be sad for Malawi to sit back and watch; it’s about time it seized the opportunities and that, she too, could, at least for a day or two, sing a song of economic progress.