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U.S. official warns African countries against dependence on China

By Elizabeth Shim
United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green warned African delegates in Busan, South Korea, about the risks of economic dependence on China. File Photo by Nyein Chan Naing/EPA-EFE
United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green warned African delegates in Busan, South Korea, about the risks of economic dependence on China. File Photo by Nyein Chan Naing/EPA-EFE

May 22 (UPI) -- The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development took a critical approach to Chinese economic activities in Africa during the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Conference in Busan.

Mark Green, the USAID administrator attending the South Korean conference on Tuesday, said Chinese involvement in developing countries should be approached with caution, Yonhap news agency reported.

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Green said China could offer incentives initially with easy money but the loans could eventually result in unsustainable long-term debt.

The U.S. government added in such circumstances developing nations will not be able to exercise self-reliance, according to Yonhap.

Green also told African delegates in Busan that they have the choice of leading their future and destiny, adding African countries could walk the path of South Korea and transform themselves into economically powerful democracies.

Green also pledged U.S. help so African nations could become "self-reliant" and industrialized.

China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative includes plans to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure across a global network that includes East Africa.

In an editorial published in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday, Hong Kong-based analyst Donald Gasper said the economic network could strengthen trade and economic links between China and the rest of the world at a time when fears of a trade war with the United States has not subsided.

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The Chinese initiative has stimulated the creation of other economic blocs, including the Eurasian Economic Union in Central Asia.

The region is home to the ancient Silk Road, which China has evoked in promoting its economic causes.

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