Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hu a Hit In Kenya

During the 1980s I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Meru District, near the town of Kangeta, where the world's best miraa is grown, doing my personal bit for US hegemony in Africa. Like so many people who visit the staggeringly beautiful land of Kenya, I still pine for my house on the equator from which both sets of polar stars could be seen...David Lamb in The Africans records a joke then current in Africa that the Whites were the WhenWe tribe, since all their sentences begin with "When we were in Africa...."

So it was with great interest that I turned up this tidbit from the BBC discussing President Hu of China and his visit to Kenya. The BBC notes:

Chinese President Hu Jintao has signed an important oil exploration agreement with Kenya during his trip to Nairobi.

Six other deals have also been signed on malaria, rice and roads. Mr Hu is also due to visit wildlife parks that are eager to attract Chinese tourists.

Kenya is keen to secure Chinese investment deals in the pharmaceutical and technology sectors.

Mr Hu is in Kenya on the final leg of his week-long Africa tour, during which he has tried to boost trade links.

The president's trip has focussed on deals to expand Chinese investment in Africa's natural resources, especially oil, to satisfy China's energy-hungry economy.

Although Kenya is not famous for oil, the reef that has made Saudi Arabia the superpower of petroleum extends under the Red Sea and crosses into northern Kenya. In the 1980s US companies were interested in exploiting this, and our failed intervention in Somalia was stimulated by the oil resources that were supposed to be there and in Kenya next door.

Kenya has long been a traditional US ally. During the 1980s one of the airports outside Nairobi was available for US rapid-response forces. It also hosted one of the largest contingents of Peace Corps volunteers in the world. During the time South Africa was a pariah state Kenya enjoyed excellent relations with the white government, exporting raw materials to South Africa. Nairobi was then the only place in sub-Saharan Africa you could get a flight to South Africa.

Now Kenya is just another example of the way that our criminal, and criminally stupid, invasion of Iraq has been one of the great victories of Chinese history.

2 comments:

el spencer said...

I had to do a Goole search to find out what miraa is. Sounds pretty interesting. Is it stronger than betel nut?

I tried betel nut once but it was pretty gross...worse than my grandpa's Red Man even.

Michael Turton said...

Miraa is about the same. It's usually chewed with something sweet.

Michael