by Hanan Habibzai
Oil from the Amo River ship has been the subject of an agreement between Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and the Chinese CPEIC. During a press conference, Acting Minister Shahabuddin Dilawar said that oil will be garnered from a total of 4,500 square kilometres of land in the provinces of Sarpul, Jawzjan, and Faryab in the country’s northern region.
According to Dilawar, China will spend $540 million over the next three years. There will be an initial investment of $150 million in the first year.
Wang Yu, the Chinese ambassador in Kabul, has asked for cooperation from both sides to make sure this plan works. “International confidence for investment in Afghanistan can only be generated if the Afghan government and the Chinese government work together to make this trial into an example.” The Beijing envoy in Kabul added.
The Chinese envoy’s assurance to the Afghan de facto leadership that they will gain the confidence of the international community is a contradiction in terms. Even though China would end up receiving 80% of the project’s output.
The toppling of U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani in August 2021 has left power vacuums in Afghanistan, and the current de facto government filled that with international recognition issues still restricting the Afghan economy, which Beijing views as an opportunity to strengthen relations with the Taliban-led de facto regime.
It is generally agreed that China’s economic diplomacy with developing nations is most effective when it considers a wide range of interests. Beijing asserts that the country’s growing economy has helped maintain social and geopolitical stability.
Beijing claims that its trade, investment, and financial activities might help China and emerging countries, as Beijing is adamant that both sides contribute equally.
On the other hand, doubts have been raised over whether Beijing’s strategy is in the best interests of many developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Many activists, government officials, and academics are sceptical of China-led economic initiatives in many developing countries. Some people in the West may see China’s actions in the developing world as an attempt to use geopolitical and economic pressure to reach Beijing’s regional and global goals. The United States has expressed concern about what it perceives as Chinese loans to developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
This is a priority for China’s development-oriented diplomacy, however, its economic goals are clearly driven by more than just international concerns. Even though Beijing says this is a good thing, it doesn’t look like it is because most of the profits are going back into the Chinese investment sector.
As an example, the Amu mining project with the Ministry of Mines only nets Afghanistan 20% of the profits, while China takes home 80%. But as the last Afghan government was ending, American companies said they were willing to give Afghanistan 25% of the profits. China plans to take advantage of the circumstances in war-torn nations like Afghanistan by prioritising local issues in development deals.
China’s trade, investment, and loans to nations like Venezuela have made the latter’s problems more complicated and harder to resolve. Due to the rocky relationship between Beijing and Caracas, it has been hard to keep track of the success or progress of Chinese initiatives. Ethnic or religious unrest in Myanmar has slowed progress on the economic corridor between the two countries. This has also hurt China’s economic goals. If Chinese corporations can’t find local people willing to labour for cheap rates, they will import workers from China, but the advantages of doing so won’t trickle down to the host nation.
Investigative journalist and veteran of international reporting Hanan Habibzai has written extensively on the US invasion of Afghanistan, the collapse of the Taliban rule, and post-Taliban events, such as the emergence of militancy in the country.
After earning his Master of Arts in Global Journalism from Coventry University, Hanan began publishing articles about the conflict in Afghanistan and regional politics in various outlets. These include the BBC Afghan Stream, Pajhwok Afghan News, Reuter’s news agency, the Washington Post, Veterans Today, and other regional and international publications.
Hanan, fled Afghanistan in 2008. He attended Coventry University in the United Kingdom and graduated with a master’s degree in Global Journalism in 2011. Currently, Mr. Habibzai is a doctorate fellow in educational studies and educational leadership at Unicaf. He spent nearly a decade reporting from Afghanistan for the BBC and Reuters (2002 to 2009). Notably, he covered the invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban government in 2001 for international media outlets.
From 2009 to 2013, he also worked as a journalist for Radio Free Europe out of London. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when he was young necessitated a move to Pakistan. His years of hiding in hiding paid off when the United States spearheaded an invasion that drove him back to the United Kingdom.
As a journalist, he traversed the length and breadth of Afghanistan, seeing first-hand the widespread hunger and suffering of the Afghan people, especially women and children.
UK-based organisation Helping Orphans was established by Hanan Habibzai in 2016. He took charge of the organisation freely since he knew that helping others was his true calling. The orphans and the disadvantaged people of Afghanistan benefit from his charity’s sustainable development programmes, and he hopes to one day be financially independent.