Dambisa Explains China’s Romance with Emerging Economies

Dambisa Moyo at 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

As the debate around China rages on, world renowned economist Dambisa Moyo offers insight as to why China may have become the go-to brother for most emerging economies.

In an insightful presentation dubbed “Is China the New Model for Emerging Economies?” Moyo gives a solid background challenging the West for their having given rise to a new power.

Moyo reckons that rather that whine about growing Chinese influence on the continent, the West could either compete or cooperate.

Moyo delves into thought provoking notions on the growing Chinese influence.

“First of all it is China’s economic performance over the past 30 years, she has been able to record economic growth and move people meaningfully out of poverty specifically putting a meaningful dent on poverty by moving over 300, 000, 000 people out of indigence,” she said.

“It is not just in economics but also in terms of living standards. We see that in China 28% of the population had access to secondary school but today it is 82%. So in its totality economic improvement has been quite significant.”

She adds: “China has been able to improve its economy meaningfully without changing the political construct. Today the United States and China are the two leading economies in the world. They have vastly different political systems and different economic systems, one with private capital and another broadly state capitalism. However, they have the identical gene coefficient which is the measure of economic equality. Perhaps what is more disturbing is that China’s income equality has been improving in the recent times while that of the United States has been declining.”

Moyo says part of China’s growing leadership has been the self-evident infrastructural drive.

“People in the emerging markets look at China’s emerging markets and look at its legendary infrastructure roll out. This is not just about China building roads, ports and railways in her country. She has been able to build 85, 000 of road network in China and surpassed that of the United States,” she said.

“Even if you look to places like Africa, China has been able to help tar the distance of Cape Town to Cairo which is 9000 miles or three times the distance of New York to California. This is something that people can see and point to.”

She says “Perhaps it is not surprising that in a 2002 survey seven out 10 Africans in 10 countries said that they thought that the Chinese were doing amazing things to improve their livelihood by a wide margin by as much as 98%.”

Moyo says has been sensitive to the daily needs of the Africans that it services.

“China also provides innovative solutions to social problems that these countries are facing. If you travel to Mogadishu, Mexico City or Mumbai you will find that dilapidated infrastructure and logistics continue being a stumbling block to the delivery of medicine and general health care in the rural areas. However, a network of state owned enterprises Chinese have been able to go in these rural areas using their companies to help deliver on these health care solutions,” she said.

“It is no surprise around the world that people are pointing at what China is doing and like what China is doing. That is the system that seems to work.”

Moyo is a Zambian-born international economist and author who analyses the macro economy and global affairs. She currently serves on the boards of Barclays Bank, the financial services group, Seagate Technology, Chevron Corporation, the global miner Barrick Gold, and 3M Company.

China has been thrust into the limelight following the recent held China-Africa summit whose landmark agreements have divided opinion with the West seeing it as an opportunity for China to expand its global influence.

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