I am a Kenyan doing business in Beijing and the reality on the ground is very different from what Ambassador Liu Guangyuan explained in last week's issue of The African Executive. China is unfair in its trade practices with Africans within its borders. A starting point is the business class visa where I am only allowed 30 days. I loose seven days when I apply for an extension, meaning it is only valid for between 23-24 days. One has to apply for an extension seven days in advance. The visa is extended for 30 days from the date of extension application and not from the end of the 30 day period. For example, if you enter China on the 1st of March on a 30 day visa, you are expected to apply for an extension by the 24th and the extension will not be granted from the 30th but from the 24th! The same applies for further extensions. I cannot apply for a three month extension and have to apply for extension every other time. After two extensions, I have to exit China and apply for a new visa outside its borders! On the other hand, the Chinese nationals are given a 3 month visa on application.
Another bottleneck is the new regulation introduced this year where foreigners can only buy 500 dollars a day which again hampers repatriation of funds to buy goods to replenish one's stock. This means there are major delays which can result in loss of business. If you want to buy goods worth 2500 dollars, it will take you 6 days to change the currency as you have to factor in the cost of sending the 2500. There are no such conditions set for Chinese businessmen in my country.
Another area is in the pricing of exhibition stall in trade shows. The Chinese nationals have special rates and we Africans pay more and yet you have to factor that we incur more costs in facilitating our participation. If China is intent on having true fair trade with Africa, then some of these issues have to be addressed otherwise in the short and long term, only China will stand to gain from this.
Re: Capitalism or Socialism?: Tanzania at Crossroads
Excellent article. I am a Tanzanian and always hated socialism. I have seen the sins of socialism and it forced me to leave my country of birth. But more then socialism, I think it is ignorance and lack of education that has allowed politicians to take Tanzanians for a free ride. The politicians are even afraid to teach foreign languages to their people. Till todate, we can't even speak English well. Until and unless we fight for a better education, we will be unable to overcome poverty and injustice brought by the government.
Re: The link between Environment and Development
Does environment sustainability lead to development or it is the other way round?
Re: Psychological Effects of Colonization Haunt Africa
This article was very informative and it's conclusion was really inspiring. It is true that to be successful as a black person, you must first free yourself from mental slavery and that is what we need to start doing!