作者：快乐流浪汉 提交日期：2009-9-23 15:11:00 | 分类: | 访问量：236
2009年09月23日 00:19 来源：中国经济网编译 陶冶
中国向纳米比亚提供贷款只是一个典型。事实上，包括巴基斯坦、安哥拉、哈萨克斯坦和塔吉克斯坦等国都曾接受中国巨额援助贷款。这些贷款不仅促进了中国商品 出口而且也成为中国推行外交政策的工具。中国提供的这些贷款绝大部分都是低息贷款，利息率远低于商业贷款利率。不过，这些贷款并非完全没有附加条件：大多 数贷款的用途都必须得到中国政府的认可。
China Spreads Aid in Africa, With a Catch
By SHARON LaFRANIERE and JOHN GROBLER
Published: September 21, 2009
WINDHOEK, Namibia — It is not every day that global leaders set foot in this southern African nation of gravel roads, towering sand dunes and a mere two million people. So when President Hu Jintao of China touched down here in February 2007 with a 130-person delegation in tow, it clearly was not just a courtesy call.
And in fact, China soon granted Namibia a big low-interest loan, which Namibia tapped to buy $55.3 million worth of Chinese-made cargo scanners to deter smugglers. It was a neat illustration, Chinese officials said, of how doing good in Namibia could do well for China, too.
Or so it seemed until Namibia charged that the state-controlled company selected by China to provide the scanners — a company until recently run by President Hu’s son — had facilitated the deal with millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks. And until China threw up barriers when Namibian investigators asked for help looking into the matter.
Now the scanners seem to illustrate something else: the aura of boosterism, secrecy and back-room deals that has clouded China’s use of billions of dollars in foreign aid to court the developing world.
From Pakistan to Angola to Kyrgyzstan, China is using its enormous pool of foreign currency savings to cement diplomatic alliances, secure access to natural resources and drum up business for its flagship companies. Foreign aid — typically cut-rate loans, sometimes bundled with more commercial lines of credit — is central to this effort.
Leaders of developing nations have embraced China’s sales pitch of easy credit, without Western-style demands for political or economic reform, for a host of unmet needs. The results can be clearly seen in new roads, power plants, and telecommunications networks across the African continent — more than 200 projects since 2001, many financed with preferential loans from the Chinese government’s Exim Bank.
Increasingly, though, experts argue that China’s aid comes with a major catch: It must be used to buy goods or services from companies, many of them state-controlled, that Chinese officials select themselves. Competitive bidding by the borrowing nation is discouraged, and China pulls a veil over vital data like project costs, loan terms and repayment conditions. Even the dollar amount of loans offered as foreign aid is treated as a state secret.
Anticorruption crusaders complain that secrecy invites corruption, and that corruption debases foreign assistance.
“China is using this financing to buy the loyalty of the political elite,” said Harry Roque, a University of the Philippines law professor who is challenging the legality of Chinese-financed projects in the Philippines. “It is a very effective tool of soft diplomacy. But it is bad for the citizens who have to repay these loans for graft-ridden contracts.”
In fact, such secrecy runs counter to international norms for foreign assistance. In a part of the world prone to corruption and poor governance, it also raises questions about who actually benefits from China’s projects. The answers, international development specialists say, are hidden from public view.
“We know more about China’s military expenditures than we do about its foreign aid,” said David Shambaugh, an author and China scholar at George Washington University. “Foreign aid really is a glaring contradiction to the broader trend of China’s adherence to international norms. It is so strikingly opaque it really makes one wonder what they are trying to hide.”
Until recently, wealthy nations could hardly hold themselves out as an example of how to run foreign aid, either. Many projects turned out to be tainted by corruption or geared to enrich the donor nation’s contractors, not the impoverished borrowers. But over the past 10 or 15 years, some 30 developed nations under the umbrella of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.) have made a concerted effort to clean up their assistance programs.
They demanded that foreign money be awarded and spent transparently, using competitive bidding and outlawing bribery. Increasingly, they also are also pushing to give borrowers more choice among suppliers and contractors, rather than insisting that funds be recycled back to the donor nation’s companies.
China, which is not a member of the O.E.C.D., is operating under rules that the West has largely abandoned. It mixes aid and business in secret government-to-government agreements. It requires that foreign aid contracts be awarded to Chinese contractors it picks through a closed-door bidding process in Beijing. Its attempts to prevent corrupt practices by its companies overseas appear weak.
Some developing nations insist on independently comparing prices before accepting China’s largesse. Others do not bother. “Very often they are getting something they wouldn’t be able to get without China’s financing,” said Chris Alden, a specialist on China-African relations with the London School of Economics and Political Science. “They presume that the Chinese are going to give value for money.”
Development experts say they have tried to convince the Chinese government that better safeguards and a more open process will enhance its efforts to gain influence and business. If its projects collapse because of kickbacks or inflated costs, they argue, China will end up exporting not only goods and services, but a reputation for corruption that it is already battling at home.
But Deborah Brautigam, the author of a coming book on China’s economic ties with Africa titled “The Dragon’s Gift,” says Beijing is hesitant to hobble its companies with Western-style restraints before they have become