关于中非关系的十大误解

2018-08-21 19:17

2018年中非合作论坛北京峰会将于9月举行。随着峰会的临近,非洲逐渐成为中外舆论热议的话题。然而说起非洲,不少人脑海中通常会想起“贫穷”、“落后”、“疾病”等词,对中非合作与投资也持消极的看法。时值盛会前夕,基于对非洲十多个国家的实地调研,笔者梳理目前中外舆论中对非洲、中非关系最常见的十点误解,试图结合自身观察与研究,还原一个复杂而真实的非洲。

本文首刊于2018年8月20日《参考消息》、本文的英文版刊于8月20日《Global Times》。文后附有英文版。

1

非洲很穷?不一定!

非洲共有60个国家与地区,3020万平方公里土地,约12亿人口。由于历史原因,非洲是全球发展中国家最集中的大陆,各地发展极不平衡,有些国家人均收入相当低,如津巴布韦、利比里亚,但有些国家则相对富裕。笔者曾调研开罗、开普敦、阿布贾、达累斯萨拉姆等多地,城市里富人扎推,发展在全球排名中并不算落后。作为非洲前三大经济体之一,尼日利亚是非洲第一人口大国、非洲最大的石油生产国及世界第六大石油出口国,探明天然气储存量非洲第一;南非属于中等收入国家,黄金、钻石、钒、锰、铬、锑、铀、石棉等的产量均居世界前列。埃及是世界四大文明古国之一,在科技、旅游业、农业、工业、服务业等方面长期处于非洲领先态势。

可见,相对发达国家而言,确实非洲大多数国家的经济比较落后,但不要忘了,非洲经济增长速度近年来都居全球领先地位,人口普遍年轻,仅用一个“穷”字概括,是对非洲发展状况的巨大误解,也容易使人忽视其蕴藏着的巨大发展潜力。

2

非洲是一个整体?未必!

虽然非洲联盟包含55个非洲成员国,覆盖了非洲几乎全部的国家和地区,在政治、经济、军事上都发挥着重大作用,并计划在将来像欧盟那样发行统一货币,然而非洲其实是个多样化的大陆。非洲内部还有诸如萨赫勒-撒哈拉国家共同体、阿拉伯马格里布联盟、中部非洲经济与货币共同体、西非国家经济共同体、南部非洲发展共同体、东非共同体等,区域间许多政策也会出现分歧,甚至重大冲突。毕竟,非洲面积约相当于三个中国,人口与中国相当,各地情况不尽相同。从地理人文角度看,非洲可分为北非五国和撒哈拉以南的非洲。北非五国(包括埃及、利比亚、突尼斯、阿尔及利亚、摩洛哥)人口构成中有70%以上为阿拉伯人(属白种人),人文历史、经济发展、宗教风俗等方面与撒哈拉以南非洲有很多不同。从语言文化上看,在非洲英语是精英阶层较为通用的语言,但也有31个国家第一或第二语言是法语,斯瓦希里语、豪萨语等当地语言也有大量人群在使用。不同语言习惯源于不同的历史传统,也直接促成了非洲各国之间的政治与文化差异。

可见,虽存在非盟这样的联合政治实体,但许多时候不能用一个整体的逻辑来看非洲,甚至除了地理与少数政治观念外,“非洲”通常是一个过于宽泛、抽象与模糊的概念。

3

投资非洲风险很高?不一定!

许多人认为,非洲是投资高风险地区。这种说法有一定依据。非洲很多国家基础设施不完善,政权更迭频繁,社会治安不稳,投资安全议题常常受到国内外舆论的关注。但客观地讲任何国际投资都会有风险。风险高往往意味着利润也高。非洲作为全球跨境投资的蓝海,自然成为近年来中国企业走出去的优先选择目标地之一。据相关机构梳理,从2005-2016年,中国已在非洲投资了293个项目,投资存量近千亿美元,创造就业岗位超13万个。尤其是2016年,中国对非投资项目数大幅增加106%。中国企业正在以真金白银“用脚投票”方式涌进非洲,已使中国成为非洲前三大投资国。笔者曾调研数个港口、公路、铁路、电信网络、发电站以及机场等项目,盈亏比率在一般商业规律范畴之内,有的项目盈利情况还非常好。尤其是中国与非洲一些国家合作建设的工业园,获得了长足的进步。比如,笔者调研中国与埃及合作约20年建立中埃泰达苏伊士经贸合作区,涵盖加工制造、物流、保税、技术开发、商贸和现代服务等主要产业。据报道截至2017年底,合作区共吸引68家企业入驻,解决了上万人就业,苏伊士运河河口正在平地而起一座崭新的产业城镇。

可见,若不了解非洲,投资当然会充满巨大风险。但中国企业只要因地制宜,把握规律,“风险”就会成为无限的机遇。

4

中国在无私援助非洲?平等合作!

数十年来,中国在非洲援助修建了上万公里的铁路、公路与桥梁,数百座学校、医院、图书馆与体育场,用铁一般的事实驳斥了西方媒体常报道中国在非洲推行“新殖民主义”的论调。然而对非援建项目在中国国内舆论却常受争议,被认为是“亏本买卖”,甚至被认为“中国撒钱非洲”。实际上不然,中国对非洲援建,既不是不可告人的商业秘密,也不是要做“当代的活雷锋”,而是在探讨新时期南南合作的全球典范之路。以“安哥拉模式”与“埃塞俄比亚模式”为例,中国为安哥拉修建了港口及延至刚果(金)边界的铁路,极大促进了安哥拉、刚果(金)的大量石油、铜、锌、锰、黄金的对外出口,中国成为最优先的买家。近年来,埃塞俄比亚信奉“要致富,先修路”的中国经验,将超过80%国内基建项目交由中国承包,使本国成为全球经济增长最快的国家之一,而中埃贸易成为中国对外出口最快增长地之一。中国对非的长期援建极大提升了中国在非口碑,使对非贸易长期年均增长两位数以上,中国连续多年成为非洲最大贸易伙伴。有人曾乐观预估到2030年,中非贸易、对非投资量将有望双双超过中美贸易、中国对美投资。另外非洲各国普遍历史短,产业基础相对薄弱,是中外产能合作的最佳选项。

可见,中国援建非洲与中非贸易、产能合作增长存在密不可分的关系。尤其是在当前欧美国家贸易增长潜力有限、西方对华防范力度强大的背景下,援建非洲基础设施的意义恐怕更不能被狭窄地理解。

5

非洲人还不起中国人的债?不是!

2012年以来,中国平均每年在非洲基建投资稳定在120亿美元左右,已成为非洲基建最大的投资来源国。为此,西方媒体开始炒作中国人加重债务,甚至炮制了中国迫使非洲国家为避免债务违约而被迫出让主权的“债权帝国主义论”。事实上,据联合国数据,非洲2016-2018年债务占GDP比额徘徊在32%左右,且不说美国110%、意大利115%、日本225%的高债务率,即使与一般国际标准相比,非洲债务率也不算太高。对非洲“债务危机”的猜测主要是对其税收收入、可持续偿还能力的悲观预期。这恰恰证明非洲需要中国“造血金融式”的贷款,帮助解决非洲基建投资,进而通过经济增长解决发展困境。

事实表明,近年来中方对非洲借贷风险总体可控,对非融资议题上秉持的原则,首先是考虑非洲自身需要,再是力所能及的标准与雪中送炭的作用。诚然一些非洲国家可能暂时遇到了问题,但解决问题的出路只能是继续发展。而发展正是中国与非洲合作的最关键目标。

6

非法滞留中国的非洲人已成灾?被夸大了!

近年来,一些媒体与传言常曝出非洲人非法滞留中国的现象,甚至出现了贩毒、斗殴、聚众等负面社会问题。其中,有传言称在广州的非洲人达50万之巨。以笔者在穗调研结果看,在广州的非洲人主要分五大类:一是贸易商;二是主要从事翻译的白领阶层;三是体力劳动者;四是供职于语言机构的外语教师;五是留学生。这其中尤以留学生增长最快,官方统计2018年非洲留华学生总计约8万人,“50万”的数字明显不实。事实上作为千年的开放之城,大量外国人长期旅居广州。据统计当前广州常住外国人约10万,其中亚洲国家占55%左右,东南亚籍最多,非洲仅占15%左右。可能是因为某些国人的偏见,非洲在广州的人数才被明显夸大了。

可以想象,随着中国日益发展,定会有更多外国人来华就学、求职,这本身是中国梦的最好注释。一个国家要持续发展,必须在全球广纳贤才。未来中国各地肯定会出现不少有户口的黑皮肤、白皮肤的“新中国人”。

7

非洲须向中国学习发展经验?互学互鉴!

这些年中国改革开放的经验,令许多非洲国家羡慕。40年前中国与非洲都是欠发达国家,但现在中国经济总量已是非洲经济总量的5倍多,且在政治稳定、经济增长、城市治理、减贫消盲、基础设施、科技创新、电子商务等领域取得了举世瞩目的成绩。的确,中国的发展经验为非洲尤其是一些欠发达国家提供了一条有别于西方经验的新选项。但千万不要以为,非洲必须得向中国学习,中国可以“教师爷”的身份向非洲传授经验。事实上,中国的经验不一定完全适合于非洲。比如中国上世纪末以劳动密集型产业政策为先导,促成了中国制造业大腾飞的经验,像博茨瓦纳这样的国家就没法学。博茨瓦纳国土面积58万平方公里,人口仅230万,很难依靠劳动力形成规模型产业。

相反,非洲也有许多值得中国学习借鉴之处,如非洲人生活乐观、与自然和谐相处,金钱并非是社会价值理念中的主要目标等等。在物质高度发达的今天,非洲人的许多生活理念是值得中国人深思的。

8

非洲发展受西方理念影响很大?正在减弱!

从15世纪开始,欧洲殖民者就逐步蚕食非洲大陆,对非洲实施了程度不一的殖民统治。长期以来,欧美国家常以“援助”、“贷款”等为由强行干涉非洲国家内政,并通过各种非政府组织、教育机构等途径,引导非洲按照政治选举化、经济私有化等西方模式设计国家发展道路。然而非洲多数国家长期被困“中低收入陷阱”。2008年国际金融危机、2011年“阿拉伯之春”推动了非洲各国的道路反思与政治觉醒。诚如肯尼亚交通部前常务秘书长加里雄·伊基拉所说,“西方殖民者在非洲留下了一笔‘政治遗产’,民族矛盾、宗教矛盾、部族冲突,这些‘遗产’禁锢了非洲的发展和一体化进程。‘一带一路’倡议强调互联互通、共建共享和合作共赢,这正是非洲打破枷锁的重要出路”。

数项国际调查表明,中国经验在非洲的吸引力急剧上升,在埃及、坦桑尼亚、尼日利亚等主要非洲国家的影响力已超过美国、欧洲。“西方神话”在非洲正在破产。

9

中非合作是与西方对着干?不是!

近年来,中非合作的紧密关系引发了西方的猜忌。有的西方媒体还猜测,中非加强合作,就是为对抗西方。事实上全世界与西方对抗的力量从来不是来源于中非。中非合作的核心是和平与发展,是新世纪下南南合作的全新实践。中非合作本着互利互惠的原则,在政治上中国坚持国家不分大小、贫富一律平等,反对以大欺小,反对干涉别国内政,主张多极化与国际关系民主化。这些都是21世纪国与国交往的先进理念,有别于西方的霸权主义思维。

其实,非洲除了与中国每三年举行一次中非合作论坛之外,还与美国、法国、日本、印度等主要大国定期举行高峰论坛。非洲本身就是世界政治中的一股独立力量,不依附于任何大国。中国与西方搞好关系,也是本国外交的重中之重。将中非合作与西方对立起来,只不过是一些西方舆论的臆想而已。

10

中非合作不能引领世界未来?错!

中国与非洲占全球1/3人口,40年前,全球多数贫困人口都集中在中国与非洲。长期以来中非合作并不被看好。现在中国通过改革开放与全民的持续努力,解决了全球70%贫困人口的温饱,并与非洲建立了全天候的合作伙伴关系。双方没有任何历史恩怨,在国际事务中有广泛的共同利益,一路走来,相互帮助,共同发展,成为全天候合作伙伴。中国与非洲国家既有共性,又有自身的特点和规律。自2013年中国提出“一带一路”倡议以来,中国对非投资存量不断提高,深刻改变了中非经济合作格局。2015年非洲制定了《2063年议程》和工业化目标,与“一带一路”高度契合。中非合作给予经济援助时不设置政治门槛,授人以渔而非授人以鱼;不是单方面的居高临下,更不是施舍,而是在尊重市场规律和平等原则下的可持续的互利合作。这种合作正在成为一种新潮流,引领未来世界的长足发展,也将成为人类命运共同体的最佳实践。


英文版


Many people tend to associate Africa with words like "poor," "underdeveloped," or "disease," and hold negative views about China-Africa cooperation and investment. With the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit 2018 going to be held in September, Africa has been under the spotlight. I analyze 10 most common misunderstandings about Africa and China-Africa relations on the basis of my field research in more than 10 African countries.

First, Africa is not a synonym of poverty. Africa is a continent with the largest concentration of developing countries. The per capita income of some countries is rather low. This includes Zimbabwe, Congo and Liberia, but many others are relatively wealthier. As one of the three largest economies, Nigeria is not only the most populous country, but also the largest oil producer in Africa and the world's sixth largest oil exporter. As a middle-income country, South Africa is one of the countries with the highest output of gold, diamonds, vanadium, manganese, chromium, antimony, uranium and asbestos in the world. Egypt, one of the four ancient civilizations of the world, has long been a leader in Africa in economy, science and technology, tourism, agriculture, industry and service industries. The economy of most African countries is relatively backward, but some have recently led with better growth rates.

Second, is Africa a whole? Not necessarily. The African Union has 55 members. It even intends to issue a unified currency in the future like the European Union. Nevertheless, Africa is a diverse continent. There are also many communities within Africa, with the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community being a few. Ethnic differences also lead to cultural diversity among nations.

Some people think investing in Africa is very risky, but it is not the case. Due to inadequate infrastructure, frequent regime changes, and unstable social security in many countries, the security of investment in Africa is often under glare. As a blue ocean of global cross-border investment, Africa has become a sought-after destination for Chinese enterprises in recent years. From 2005 to 2016, China has invested in 293 projects in Africa, with an investment outlay of nearly $100 billion and more than 130,000 jobs have been created. In 2016, the number of projects with Chinese investment increased by 106 percent. With Chinese enterprises flooding into the continent, China has ranked among the top three investors in Africa. According to my research, the profit and loss rates of the China-invested projects fall within the range of general business practices, and some projects are showing profits. If Chinese enterprises know how to adapt to local conditions, the investment risk can be brought down.

Is what China offers to Africa selfless assistance? It should be called equal cooperation. China has helped Africa build thousands of kilometers of railways, highways and bridges, and construct hundreds of schools, hospitals, libraries and stadiums, which has stirred controversy in China and is regarded as "a loss on the sale." Yet, China's assistance to Africa is to explore a way to promote South-South cooperation in the new era, and efforts have promoted China's reputation in the continent. China has emerged as Africa's biggest trading partner for many consecutive years.

It is also wrong to think that Africans are unable to repay the debt. Since 2012, China's average annual infrastructure investment in Africa has stabilized at about $12 billion, which makes China the largest investor in African infrastructure. Western media began to weave tales of "Creditor Imperialism," which implies that African countries might be forced to cede sovereignty in order to avoid default. According to the United Nations, Africa's debt-to-GDP ratio was around 32 percent during 2016-18, which is not too high by international standards, and is much lower than the 110 percent debt-to-GDP ratio of the US, 115 percent of Italy and 225 percent of Japan. The speculation about Africa's "debt crisis" is caused because of pessimism about its tax revenues and payback capability.

It is exaggeration to say that too many Africans illegally overstay in China. Rumor has it that there are a large number of Africans illegally overstaying in China. This, it is said, leads to drug trafficking and brawls. A rumor says that there are as many as 500,000 Africans in Guangzhou. In fact, as a city open to the world for thousands of years, Guangzhou have had a large number of foreigners. According to statistics, there are about 100,000 permanent foreigners in Guangzhou, of which 55 percent are Asian and only 15 percent are from Africa. The number of 500,000 is obviously exaggerated.

Some hold that Africa must learn from China. Forty years ago, China and African countries were all underdeveloped. But now, China's economy is five times larger than Africa's. Furthermore, China has made remarkable achievements in political stability, economic growth, urban governance, poverty and illiteracy alleviation, infrastructure, scientific and technological innovation and e-commerce. China's development experience provides Africa, especially some less developed countries, an option different from Western experience. But do not take it for granted that Africa must learn from China. Due to different conditions, China's experience may not be a perfect fit for Africa. On the other hand, there are many aspects where Chinese can learn from Africans, such as their optimistic attitude toward life, way of living in harmony with nature, etc.

While Africa's development was hugely influenced by Western philosophy, the West's impact is weakening. Africa had been under the rule of European colonists since the 15th century, which has led to various political problems in the continent. Ethnic conflicts, communal violence, and clan warfare have affected the development and integration process of Africa. The Belt and Road initiative, which emphasizes connectivity, sharing and win-win cooperation, would become the important way-out for Africa to break the shackles.

But it is wrong to say that China-Africa cooperation works against the West. In recent years, the close ties between China and Africa have aroused suspicion in the West. Some Western media outlets even speculated that China and Africa are strengthening cooperation to fight the West. Sino-African cooperation is a new practice of South-South cooperation. China-Africa cooperation is based on the principle of mutual benefit and reciprocity.

In addition to the FOCAC held every three years, Africa holds regular summits with other major powers such as the US, France, Japan and India. As an independent power in world politics, Africa does not attach itself to any great power. The West's confrontation with China and Africa is only a conjecture of Western public opinion.

China-Africa cooperation can lead the future of the world. The population of China and Africa accounts for a third of the global population. Forty years ago, most of the world's poor were from China and Africa. For a long time, Sino-African cooperation has been supposed to be unpromising. Now, through reform and opening-up and sustained efforts of the people, China has reduced 70 percent of global poverty and established an all-weather partnership with Africa. Since the Belt and Road initiative was proposed in 2013, China's investment in Africa has seen a continuous rise, which has changed the pattern of economic cooperation between China and the continent. Such cooperation pattern will lead the long-term development of the world.

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