WIKILEAKS: The West wary of Sino-Cameroon relations: Links between Communist Party and the ruling CPDM December 27, 2010

WIKILEAKS: The West wary of Sino-Cameroon relations: Links between Communist Party and the ruling CPDM

December 27, 2010

By Aloysius AGENDIA

In a recent WikiLeaks cable of the US Embassy in Cameroon revealed on December 08, 2010, the former US Ambassador Cameroon, H E. Janet Elisabeth Garvey expresses worries over increasing Chinese influence in Cameroon and the difficulties the “west” can face with increased Chinese presence in the country.

The cable dating February 18, 2010 and titled “China’s growing presence in Cameroon” also discloses that the ruling Chinese People Communist Party has strengthened its relations with the ruling Cameroon People Democratic Movement CPDM after the former gave some computer equipment to the latter.

The cables details the Sino-Cameroon business relations and reveals that while  Chinese exports to Cameroon in the first three quarters of 2009 totalled  an overwhelming  US916  million dollars, it  imports from Cameroon were just a meagre US5.9 million dollars.

However, the US diplomat goes ahead to list the areas of cooperation  especially  in the domain of  infrastructure like the construction of hydro power supplies, roads, hospitals, sporting centre  and also loan concessions which China has offered Cameroon.

She equally goes ahead to disclose that the Chinese government do

provide military training and

equipment to the Cameroon government.  The US  the West in particular

is certainly worried about

the Chinese growing influence in Cameroon that is why she asserts that

“we and other major donors

see no real opportunities for cooperation.” , the ambassador also adds, “other donor

embassies also see

little room for cooperation with the Chinese. The recently departed EU Chief of

Mission privately discouraged engaging the Chinese as they were not “like-minded.”

The document reveals.

Perhaps, it is in this direction that she notes in the cable that “in August, 2009 the

government [ Cameroon] awarded Chinese firm Sino Hydro Corporation Ltd. a $302 million contract

on a Build Own Operate basis to construct the Memve”ele hydroelectric dam in South Region.”

To add to the suspicion the document adds “ The project had previously been under negotiation

with British firm Globelecq”.

Cameroonians Express worries

Despite the seemingly high Chinese investment in Cameroon, the ambassador

reiterates that

Cameroonians were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the growing Chinese


and with the stiff competition Cameroonians petty business traders are facing with

the Chinese.

She cites the areas of fishing in Limbe and Kribi where the Chinese have not only

dominated the

indigenes but have again been fishing illegally. It was against that background that a


military patrol seized an illegal Chinese fishing trawler in the  seas in Kribi. The cable

also discloses

that President Paul Biya has express his dissatisfaction with growing Chinese global

presence during

an audience with the Chinese ambassador.

However,  the same cable reveals  that in 2002 the Biya and

the Chinese governments signed the “most favoured nation” trade agreements.

Such agreements certainly privileges China over certain investors and it can be argued

that it even

privileges Chinese over Cameroonians in certain areas.

According the US cable,   “China sees Cameroon as a linchpin in the Central African region,

with a port

and economy of regional importance.”

The cable which the ambassador describes as “sensitive” was the Embassy’s response

“to reftel

request for information in advance of a U.S.-China sub-regional dialogue in March.”

Is  there any element of truth with conspiracies that there is the need to overthrow either

through western democracy or  by force, any  African governments which seem to have

been moving away from total dependence  on western nations? That may be the subject of another Wikileaks revelation in the years to come. This is the link to the original cable.

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