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China's Congo Plan: What the Economic Superpower Sees in the World's Poorest Nation by [Kushner, Jacob]
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China's Congo Plan: What the Economic Superpower Sees in the World's Poorest Nation Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 42 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 6710 KB
  • Print Length: 42 pages
  • Publisher: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (August 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: August 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EWPQ7CY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A short, well written and researched e-book that outlines some of the commercial and political initiatives of the People's Republic of China in the Congo. A good example, which Kushner takes pains to explain and which may be a herald of China's dealing with the rest of Africa is through Sicomines, a venture between the Congolese government and two Chinese mega-companies. The Chinese, in return for the rights to extract almost unimaginable amounts of copper, cobalt and other minerals over 25 years, will build three billion dollars worth of infrastructure--roads, hospitals and universities in Kinshasa and throughout the Congo. At current world prices the copper alone would be worth three times the current Congo GDP.
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In 2011, China overtook the U.S. as Africa's largest trading partner, doing $160 billion in trade with the continent that year. In the first decade of the new millennium, 230,000 Chinese immigrated to Africa, and by 2006, Chinese companies were investing over $6 billion/year in public infrastructure projects across Africa. Yet, only 4% of rural families in Congo (a major recipient) have electricity, and its per capita income in 2011 was only $280. Congo also has had one of Africa's most corrupt and violent dictators - Mobutu Sese Seko, who killed adversaries with impunity and commandeered as much as 40% of Congo's wealth during his 31-year rule. For the U.S., however, this was not a problem - thanks to his anti-communist rhetoric. Congolese still blame the U.S. for encouraging a system of corruption whose legacy persists.

Another problem - Congo's Second Civil War, fueled by Rwanda in an effort to control the area's illegal mineral trade.

A 2010 study estimates there are 450,000 - 500,000 people (many children) working as small-scale miners in Congo - its largest source of informal employment. Earning about $55/week, that's far more than Congo's estimated per capita income of about $6/week. Thousands of Chinese workers have also been lured to central Africa in a modern-day mineral rush for copper and cobalt (weld jet engines, charging electronic devices). Congo has nearly half the world's cobalt reserves, along with a substantial supply of high-grade copper ore. They return to China just once/year to see their families.

China's plan is to mine 6.8 million tons of copper and 427,000 tons of cobalt over the next 25 years. In exchange, China will spend $3 billion to build roads, hospitals, and universities throughout Congo - to be paid back from mineral sales to China.
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Jacob does an excellent job both reporting and telling the story. It was easy to read and kept me engaged. My only complaint is that I want to know more about the mineral trade in the DRC and the way that China and other foreign countries are influencing the sector.

I highly recommend this for people with an interest in development and natural resources, but may not know very much about China's emerging role or the DRC.
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Really interesting current review of China's project in Congo. Recommended. A solid, good, long in dept newspaper or Sunday NYT article sort of thing. has some interesting video links that give you a good sense of current activity in Congo.
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This Kindle Single uses the story of one copper mine in Congo to tell the story of Chinese involvement in that country, and Africa more broadly. Kushner, the author, is a reputable journalist (you can never quite tell what you will find on Amazon these days, so this bears saying) and accurately describes the main political dynamics and stakeholders in this story. It's clearly written and makes the typical move of telling the stories of individuals to exemplify broader trends. This makes the piece flow and keeps the it interesting. So that's all good.

There are issues with this single, however. First, it is loosely written. The piece is 42 pages long and divided into 13 chapters. As a result by the time the author eases you into a chapter through an interesting anecdote, the chapter is almost over -- and the remainder of it is spent foreshadowing the content of the next chapter. This makes reading easy, but I for one would have preferred denser, more informative writing.

Second, the piece does not go into great depth. If you want a very, very general overview of China in the Congo, then it will be a good introduction. But if you already know something about China, Africa, or mining, this piece won't take you much deeper. Oftentimes these Kindle Singles are compendiums of journalists' articles which present their work in a single piece. As a result, they often show the journalist's mastery of their beat. This book is much lighter and superficial than these sorts of singles -- despite Kushner's own work in this area. For this reason I found it a little disappointing. But then again your mileage may vary.

Finally, the piece contains links to youtube videos and illustrations of life in the Congo.
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Kushner's piece offers innovative reporting that features insightful vignettes on China's presence in the DRC. He presents a well-rounded picture that considers all angles and he provides color and illustration for anyone interested in understanding the China-DRC relationship. Solid reporting.
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