This week Moody’s warned the whole world of Kenya struggling to repay heavy Chinese debt. News from the South African gained over 400 social media shares too, amplifying the hysterical warning that all of Sub-Saharan Africa is at risk of having “strategic assets” seized when unpaid debts come due. Once again, it’s interesting to note there’s no mention of the Anglo-European debt circle. So, here’s the dissenting view on Chinese versus western imperial economic war.
The South African story hinges on a single loan by the Chinese for building the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), undertaken by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a debt of some $5.4 billion, which author Luke Daniel says is “more than 70% of the African nation’s total bilateral debt.” The author cites Moody’s and brings to bear the argument that the Chinese are not loaning Africa money wisely, but to leverage the old continent out of its resource legacy. He goes on to proclaim:
“Financial assistance granted by the World Bank and European Union stresses compliance with objectives related to governance, socioeconomic development, and democratic principles.”
The Moody’s driven piece ends up accusing China of promoting undue political influence, nepotism, corruption, and elitism in the heart of Africa while lauding the higher principles of the western banking elite. No, I am not making this up. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
A previous report by me here on NEO showed unequivocally that China only owns about 15% of the total foreign debt owed by the top borrowers in Africa. Conversely, the World Bank and the Paris Club of lenders virtually own Sub-Saharan Africa lock-stock-and-barrel should strategic assets go to auction when payoff time comes. But the Moody’s report jogged me when I considered what the World Bank and others did to Eastern Europe when the 2008 financial crisis was orchestrated. Look at Greece, and the great selloff of her strategic and private assets today.
Greece is actually the poster child for how the banking elite in the west pirated vast sums of money and resources like Chicago loan sharks. Prior to 2017, under the table wheeling and dealing with the likes of Goldman Sachs and the Frankfurt/Luxembourg crooks put the Greek people at risk. Then when the rug was pulled out via the so-called Great Recession, the Germans and the World Bank rode in on the white horse to “help” a Greek society betrayed by their own leadership. No one talks about the whole Greek debt fiasco being exacerbated by the Anglo-European creation of a “crisis of confidence” in Greek bonds. That’s right, the financiers sent in the leg breakers after the patsy couldn’t pay.
When it came out that in 2010 that Goldman Sachs and other banks helped the Greek government to hide parts of its debt, very few seized on this machination as the “smoking gun” indicating a greater conspiracy, the fact Italy and other heavily hit nations were similarly advised, it seems to miss the Moody’s news in favor of news that would further decimate the Greeks. In 2008 confidence in Goldman Sachs was bolstered with a $5 billion dollar investment in the financial house by the legendary Warren Buffett. Another report from 2008 by the Wall Street Journal implicated Moody’s for having “loosened up” and caving into potential manipulation by the likes of Goldman and others. Author Aaron Lucchetti referred to Moody’s before the U.S. housing boom as an “ivory tower” of finance was having a drink with a client was considered taboo. And in 2008-2009 you cannot find a new report about a suspicious Greek bond overvaluation.
On the Greece situation, there’s circumstantial evidence Moody’s helped conceal the threat level Greek officials and western hedgers had caused. When Seeking Alpha quoted Arnaud Mares, Senior Vice President in Moody’s Sovereign Risk Group showing continued confidence, this was one sign.
“Moody’s believes that Greece is extremely unlikely to face short-term liquidity/refinancing problems unless the European Central Bank decides to take the unusual step of making the sovereign debt of a member state ineligible as collateral for bank repurchase operations — a risk that we consider very remote.”
When Pierre Cailleteau, the head of Moody’s sovereign rating group resigned in 2010, the rating group said it had nothing to do with the fishy Greek ratings. And Moody’s was not along in suspicious activity, because Standard Poor’s and Fitch Ratings received intense criticism that amazingly went away. But let’s not dig too deeply into this cesspool of a banking bog. The Greek legacy was pirated as a strategy; this is my opinion. Throw in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and almost all of Eastern Europe, and one way or another you end up with a fire sale and restructuring of wealth in the western world. I leave off this section with a quote from a New York Times story about Goldman and others helping their bagmen in Greece and elsewhere conceal their evil doings. Louise Story, Landon Thomas Jr., and Nelson D. Schwartz wrote:
“As in the American subprime crisis and the implosion of the American International Group, financial derivatives played a role in the run-up of Greek debt. Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere.”
Down and Out in Africa
Now, Moody’s asks us to believe those mean old Chinese are about to take over Kenya and other nations. But who stands behind this fear-mongering, and are they manipulating the truth again? Well, I’m no economist, but this report from the World Bank and Trending Economics shows Paris Club long-term debt from Kenya dwarfs the Chinese involvement. The figures show public sector debt by Paris Club member creditors for the long term at $6.34 billion. Maybe my math is wrong here, but it seems to me $5.5 billion is a lot less than this, maybe Moody’s calculates using some alien math, but what’s interesting in the graph shown at Trending Economics is the quadrupling of Paris Club lending from 2014 to 2016. Furthermore, the bank lending rate to Kenya at the time of this indebtedness was more than for embattled Ukraine, 9 times higher than for Germany, and so on. The way the Paris Club operates to pirate a nation’s legacy is a bit more complex than staggering interest rates and media propaganda though. This report about Paris Club forgiveness of Iraq’s indebtedness shows us what’s really going on in Africa and elsewhere.
Operation Corporate Freedom tells us about the banking elite using debt forgiveness as a “Trojan Horse” to get the IMF entrenched into a nation’s (Iraq’s) future economic development, and in particular, the way state assets are converted during privatization. What ends up happening is what authors Basav Sen and Hope Chu say is an “economic occupation bf the IMF and the World Bank.” This is what is happening now in Kenya, and the Paris Club wants China out of the game. This is also what is happening in Greece, but the Greeks are powerless to stop it because their political class amounts to a kind of oligarchy. Now all of Sub-Saharan Africa seems to be the target if we are to read Moody’s reports for what they are.
And that’s the real world economic war situation on the African front.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”