African States must improve negotiation skills when dealing with China – Edward Boateng

The Director General of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Edward Boateng has admonished African states to improve upon their negotiation skills when dealing with the People’s Republic of China to reap the needed and maximum benefits.

The former Ambassador to China debunked the claim that the Chinese have ripped off African states and overburdened them with unsustainable debts and said contracts between China and African states are often negotiated so all that is needed is strong negotiation skills from Africa.

Appearing on Face to Face on Citi TV, the SIGA boss said the presence of the Chinese in Africa and their infrastructural development on the continent is laudable but poor negotiations on the side of African states often demonize the Chinese as rip-offs.

“What the Chinese have done well in the last twenty years is the development of infrastructure in Africa. Travelling across Africa was difficult, and the Chinese came with the mindset of infrastructural development of Africa and many countries have benefitted.”

Mr. Boateng noted that “Bui Dam was in the books for a long time and then the Chinese came, and today we have Bui and there are so many examples of these projects dotted across Africa. I think where Africa needs to do better is the negotiations because we are often weak in negotiations and therefore something that may cost $100 to do in China may cost $500 in some African countries.”

He further called for strict measures to regulate the stay of Chinese in Africa to ensure that they follow and respect local laws to prevent them from taking advantage of the loopholes in our systems.

“They come from a very regimented society and when they come into our communities that are so relaxed, we allow them to take advantage of us, and so we have to make sure that when they come in, they have to play by our rules.”