Africa Atlantic Axis (AAA program)
This program aims to develop African industry from countries located on or near the Atlantic seaboard in order to facilitate trade with the two major consumer markets, the EU and the USA. Financed as part of the development aid for Africa by international institutions and countries wishing to contribute, the modern and secure business parks will host the production tools of major European, American or non-Western brands and often local SMEs. International and open to global companies and investors, the plan is not specifically French, European, American or African. Non-condescending, it will meet the expectations of ambitious and impatient young African generations. About twenty African countries would be initially concerned, but many companies and job seekers from other countries would see opportunities offered to them within a dense network of companies. This process of industrial integration would eventually enable the creation of ecosystems. This level of activity would enable African states to equip themselves with vital infrastructure and see their standard of living rise considerably. By offering prospects for the future, the project would also promote regional stability. Africa Atlantic Axis (AAA) proposes a plan for the creation of sectoral activity parks (household appliances, computers, furniture, sports, toys, textile-clothing etc ...) which would be likely to significantly accelerate the economic development of the African continent while preserving it from the rampant colonization of China and its imports. Initially generalist, the clusters would then specialize at the pace of development. The zones of activity would meet precise sanitary and environmental requirements. Assistance with local recruitment and training as well as legal, tax and administrative assistance would facilitate the installation of foreign companies.Thus the often Western brands could transfer more serenely the previously Chinese manufacture. Many African engineers, often expatriates but wishing for the development of Africa, would enthusiastically welcome proposals for the creation of subcontracting joint ventures. These would collaborate with international brands within groupings that would become complete and efficient industrial ecosystems while initiating more African industrial independence. For example, why continue to manufacture most of our smartphones, tablets, computers or other technological products in China, if we consider that another way of managing the extraction and transformation of the rare earths needed to manufacture them is possible. China currently has a monopoly but nevertheless holds only 30% of the reserves under its soil.
The plan requires a provision of 10 to 12 billion euros to finance the main and peripheral infrastructures of the first 3 to 5 zones that would house the production of large global companies or smaller companies. These amounts, which would be allocated by international institutions for the development of Africa, would include the financing of the construction of essential road, rail, airport or port accesses, energy supply, telecommunications networks, road works and waste management, living areas, security means, housing, schools, medical centers, shops, etc... 1 or 2 new clusters of varying sizes could be created every 2 or 3 years. Many Western consumers want more products to be manufactured in their respective countries but do not want to spend much more. Also, given the generally unsuitable Western production costs for competition dictated by globalization, the millions of consumer goods manufacturing jobs that have gone to China will not come back to the EU or the USA. It is preferable, based on equalization and cost-sharing mechanisms, to preserve and keep companies with even a small number of industrial jobs in Europe and the USA rather than see what remains of the manufacturing industry disappear in these countries. Moreover, the implementation of industrial development clusters would require the use of a multitude of European and American service companies that would accompany the economic change. The latter would offer many highly qualified jobs. Thus the program based on the efficiency of economic mechanisms and offering promising prospects for growth, could convince sectors of activity to leave the ground of a Chinese dictatorship that threatens the world, devotes its capital to predation and militarization to the detriment of the poorest Chinese. The objective is obviously not to transform Africa into a new workshop of the world but above all to promote the restoration or constitution of new global economic balances that will contribute to peace and democracy. Environmentalists opposed to nuclear or coal-fired power plants could only recognize the interest of an industrial model concerned with the environment, in which hydroelectric power would provide most of its electricity needs. Many companies are now thinking about reducing their production in China, which has a very negative image, and would accept to take up, with Africa, this pragmatic challenge of modernization which would also help to repair the unprecedented economic damage in the world. Sept. 28, 2020 by Francis Journot
Le Figaro/Tribune by Francis Journot, published on June 08, 2020 - By relying more on its regional market, Europe is able to significantly reduce its dependence on Chinese industry, says Francis Journot.
Francis Journot is a consultant, entrepreneur and former publisher of economic and social trade press. He is doing research in economics for the “International Convention for a Global Minimum Wage” and “African Atlantic axis” projects. He runs the site Collectivité Nationale.
Few risks of shortages or sharp price increases
In the light of a crisis that reminds us of the fragility of our existence and a confinement that has made us aware that we can deprive ourselves of over-consumption for two months, it seems certain that we would be able to survive a period of transfer of Chinese industry. Some products that are not always indispensable could become scarce, but let's be reassured, most imports would continue to pour in because companies and their shareholders do not appreciate consumers deserting the stores. Every search for new subcontractors would result in a multitude of competitive service offers around the world, and hundreds of thousands of engineers would want to participate in the development of production processes. As for the vital area of food, European countries have little dependence on the rest of the world. So it is doubtful that we should fear real shortages or a significant increase in the prices of our consumer goods, but we could, on the other hand, consume less but better and rejoice in relocations that would, over the months and years, lift millions of Europeans out of unemployment and poverty.
A new European paradigm based on a broader regionalization of production and trade that includes more Africa.
Rising wages and manufacturing costs in emerging or developing countries accompanied by a drop in direct investments, technology theft and counterfeiting, the environmental cost of transport and consumer demand for more local products, we have been witnessing for several years now to phenomena which indicate or provoke a decline in globalization. Although not yet evident, the Covid-19 crisis and the rise in unemployment could accentuate a trend towards regionalization of trade. Europe could initiate a new European paradigm of regionalization of value or production chains within the framework of the EU or a less political economic community if it disappears. But relocating activities to France would not be easy. One would have to exempt oneself from sclerosing ideologies with their elitist postulate of selecting only the so-called strategic sectors. This has justified the delocalization of other activities and has proved to be erroneous. Manufacturing jobs generated many indirect and induced jobs whose contributions and taxes better financed public spending, moderated the cost of labor, allowed maintaining a better level of technical training that benefited all sectors, including the most strategic, and thus participated in a virtuous economic circle.
The new conception of trade proposed here obviously differs from the unrealistic recommendations of autarky and the end of globalization made by the former Minister of Economy Arnaud Montebourg. For beyond the slogan "made in France" and the theme of reindustrialization regularly exploited for political purposes by personalities in search of publicity and voters but often from government parties whose economic policies have favored deindustrialization, there remains the reality of the cost of labor but also the pitfalls of a highly politicized dogmatic trade unionism and the innumerable norms that discourage industrialists. The mechanisms of mutualization and equalization would be likely to promote the creation of ecosystems and jobs, but a relaxation of European or national treaties and regulations that make the management of French companies more cumbersome would also be desirable.
There are many obstacles to a massive return of jobs in France and sometimes even in Europe.
With a rich market of 500 million consumers, the growth potential in Europe is enormous. The lower-cost European countries would experience full employment, but in other countries we could come up against a mismatch in the supply of industrial jobs for job seekers who are not attracted by these opportunities. In France, skilled labor has virtually disappeared in many industrial sectors, but also in many European countries. The cost of training for each job is often around 20/50 K€, mostly borne by the company, but this does not guarantee that candidates will be able to carry out work for a long time that is often considered to be arduous. Today, small and medium-sized companies in the industry are unable to train more than one or two jobseekers per year. It is doubtful whether European industry will be able to recruit all the necessary staff. Moreover, the level of exports could erode after a few years. China will further reduce imports to cope with unemployment that could weaken power and the USA is showing a strong willingness to relocate since 2017. Western companies established on its soil have brought it the technologies that will enable it to meet all the needs of its consumers. Also, new non-European prospects would be harder to find and each European country would try to pull its own cover in order to gain market share within Europe, as is already often the case today. The luxury goods sector would continue to do well, but there are fears that the number of orders would decline in leading-edge sectors facing growing competition, including China. One could hope for the emergence of European leaders in new fields, but this would take time. Nevertheless, France and the countries of Europe would welcome the reduction in imports and a return to prosperity in many sectors. But after an upturn in activity and a drop in unemployment, the economy could turn in circles and return to low growth and employment rates.
With sluggish growth and unemployment in the EU, poverty and galloping demographics on the neighbouring continent, we are facing many challenges
So we are confronted with these challenges but also many others for which we will have to try to find solutions sooner or later. Among these, the phenomenon of the galloping demography of a continent less than 150 kilometers from the first European coasts, which could have two and a half billion inhabitants in 2050. An important part of them would try to flee misery and hunger by migrating to a weakened Europe, hardly able to offer better living conditions. However, the foundations of our civilization, political and economic, cultural and religious, would not survive. The social and security chaos that could set in could precede or surpass the climate collapse promised by environmentalists who are committed to an ideology of degrowth to which our African friends who are struggling to feed themselves may not fully adhere. So perhaps, in order to solve our growth problems in the years to come but also contribute to poverty reduction in a nearby continent that is experiencing exponential demography, we could reflect on a model that broadens our cooperation with it.
China perverts rather than enriches the African continent
Today, China intends to get its hands on this enormous reservoir of raw materials. But it perverts more than it enriches this continent by flooding it with low-cost products from Asia and thus makes craftsmen or small businesses that used to make local products more precarious. The factories created belonged to companies dependent on Beijing, whose Chinese foremen ran some of the worst paid workers in the world. These low wage levels thus allow China to flood Western countries with low-end products without benefiting the African people in terms of social progress. But this rampant colonization, which is increasingly badly experienced, arouses bitterness.
Eventually, more industrial autonomy
It is essential for Africa to equip itself with the means to ensure the subsistence of its population while taking care to preserve its fauna and flora. Many engineers wishing to see Africa and the Maghreb grow would enthusiastically welcome this transcontinental project of creating joint ventures within sectoral clusters. These new production tools, which would first of all be integrated into European supply chains, would promote the economic development of the countries and would facilitate their access to greater industrial autonomy. The cost of setting up the plants would be covered by the brands or brands to which the products are destined. The companies, organized in collectives, could thus benefit from a mutualization of costs but also from a modularization of production in certain sectors. These activities would provide new local opportunities for young generations currently tempted by immigration to Europe. Funds considered inefficient among those currently allocated to the development and support of countries could be redirected towards the construction of the necessary infrastructures, which would thus benefit everyone, since it seems more relevant to invest upstream by creating jobs and generating an increase in local living standards rather than continually acting downstream.
Indeed, the assistance, although benevolent and often indispensable, nevertheless conveys an image that this continent wishes to erase in order to change the perception of the world and move forward. Profitable and growing groupings of companies would certainly attract global capital that would then abound with new projects and accompany the expansion of the model across the continent to perhaps make it a new Eldorado.
One can think that a rise in the standard of living in Africa would encourage the education of children, the emancipation of women and eventually a reduction in the birth rate.
This prolific partnership for Africa would also be prolific for Europeh witch needs new perspectives. The implementation of the project would require the assistance of many companies with expertise in industrial engineering, energy, construction, digital, training in the many sectors, human resources etc. The number of positions straddling the two continents would be considerable. France has retained privileged links with most countries and would have an important card to play. Subsequently, the African continent could eventually constitute for Europe a new growth relay that would fill a slump in Chinese demand, especially since it has as many inhabitants as China. Their purchasing power is not comparable, but let us remember that at the dawn of this millennium, China's GDP per capita was similar to that of most African countries that it has now undertaken to colonize. It is difficult to grasp the full dimension of such a regionalization project as the implications and possibilities are multiple in terms of employment and wealth creation. Demographic forecasts predict a doubling of the African population within thirty years, but one can think that an increase in the standard of living would encourage the education of children, the emancipation of women and, in the long run, a reduction in the birth rate. A reasonable and evolutionary increase in monthly production wages, which today usually vary between 35 and 200 euros, could accelerate this sociological change.
It would therefore be possible to build an alternative to Chinese dependence. Why settle for maintaining our industries in China, favouring a hegemony that will hinder our freedoms and will certainly expose us sooner or later to the risk of a world war, when a regionalization of trade would give us the opportunity to consume less but better without, given the international competition, making prices soar and would, moreover, offer us economic dynamism and the creation of millions of jobs at a time when unemployment is ravaging Europe while allowing the neighbouring continent to achieve greater social progress.
Should China be excluded from the WTO and the UN Security Council?
Le Figaro/ Tribune by Francis Journot - The Covid-19 made manifest China's economic and military progress on the international stage. But for the entrepreneur Francis Journot, as long as Beijing does not respect the rules laid down by international institutions, it should no longer be a member.
WTO, WHO or UN Security Council, China has infiltrated international institutions but has freed itself from the rules that govern them. The arrogant dictatorship, previously more adept at "soft power", now intends to stand up to the world and the balance of power seems to have become the cardinal principle of its policy. One can therefore worry about its economic influence and growing military power. In the light of a revealing health and diplomatic crisis, the already present fear of a hostile and belligerent China that would dominate the world and sweep away the democracies is now more acutely felt. Therefore, while it is still possible, it is advisable to temper its imperialist ambitions.
Chinese deception and Western angelism
China, member of the World Trade Organization since 2001, is no longer a developing country but still enjoys the benefits of this status. Nevertheless, it remains a command economy as well as a state capitalism and is not, strictly speaking, a market economy. It would have been more relevant to end the experiment in 2016 at the end of a transitional period during which it has plundered Western technologies with impunity and too often violated WTO rules to the detriment of its competition, which could hardly compete with companies and productions frequently subsidized by an interventionist Chinese State.
Moreover, the Chinese dictatorship sits among the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and therefore has a right of veto. This privilege would allow it to prevent possible sanctions against it but also to block, if necessary, a summons of Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court within the framework of the management of the Covis-19 crisis. The example of China's stranglehold on the WHO should alert us because its influence allowed it to delay the announcement of the pandemic. The presence and power within these institutions, of a dictatorship that claims an objective of economic and military domination over the world, are undoubtedly unnatural and dangerous.
The Chinese Communist Party is certainly the greatest threat to freedom, democracy and peace of mankind for 80 years.
His refusal to take responsibility for a crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and his contempt for humanity can make us fear the worst. Drunk with power, Xi Jinping certainly believes that military intimidation could allow him to completely dominate a stupid and corrupt West that has traded its technology and the supremacy of the world economy for pieces of cloth and plastic. Some leaders seem to have pledged allegiance to him, but this strategy is not without risks and could eventually lead the rather peaceful Chinese people and the world to a third world war. Initially confined to a defensive function, the army of the People's Republic of China has become a force of world conquest whose rise in power leaves little room for doubt as to its geostrategic aims. The establishment of a naval military base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and a fortress overlooking the Indian Ocean (Source: Forbes) that can accommodate several large warships and perhaps aircraft carriers, we confirm. The strength should reach 10,000 men in 2026. The Chinese dictatorship is not unaware that the conquest of the African continent and the economic invasion across Europe, poetically christened the "Silk Roads", could lead to frequent uprisings of underpaid and sometimes mistreated workers who could reject Chinese domination in Africa, or of European populations fooled and impoverished. This is why China would often have to resort to threats and repression, but no one could foresee or stop the escalation of violence.
China has the second largest army behind the US, but at the rate at which its military-industrial complex, the largest in the world in terms of number of employees, is growing, it could boast the title of the world's leading military naval power in a decade or two. Two aircraft carriers and others under construction, an additional submarine every quarter and a destroyer every month join a fleet capable of operating on all seas, which now includes nearly 700 combat ships.
In an article published on May 12, 2020 by the Hong Kong South China Morning Post newspaper "China launches its last submarine nuclear missile and receives a scientific prize", Journalist Liu Zhen comments on the testing of JL3 nuclear missiles which have a range of 12,000 km and could reach the USA from the Chinese coast. They will equip new generation submarines from 2025. Chinese military observers said the missile tests were a response to U.S. President Donald Trump's deterrence strategy aimed at China. But no one can believe that China is building nuclear missiles out of enmity with the U.S. president. The tests, which received some of China's most prestigious scientific awards, are a further demonstration of strength to the world.
The budget of the Chinese army of 250 billion dollars in 2018 (source SIPRI), given its constant increase (7.5% in 2020) should be about half of that of the USA in the coming years. If we consider that this Chinese military budget, which benefits from a lower cost labor force, allows the financing of the manufacture of a much larger volume of equipment than the USA, it becomes clear that such an armament effort has rarely or never been seen in peacetime, especially since inequalities are great and unemployment already affected 22% of the Chinese active population before the Covid epidemic19. This unbridled preparation for a mobilization of the army inevitably reminds us of the period of Nazi Germany's rearmament from 1933 onwards, which preceded and framed the Second World War.
A giant with feet of clay
This country of one and a half billion inhabitants has benefited from the growth provided by Westerners and several hundred million Chinese have thus been able to escape from poverty. Objectivity requires us to recognize that Western companies and consumers have benefited from lower production costs, but it must be admitted that they have paid the high price of unfair competition with deindustrialization, unemployment and precariousness, desertification and the decline of public services etc...
But the two main consumer markets still hold the keys to economic power over China. They are responsible for this situation and it is up to them to take the decisions that can curb the wild ambitions of an ungrateful and violent communist dictatorship led by a megalomaniacal president for life whose single party allows him to remain at the top probably against the will of his people. An international challenge to the legitimacy of Xi Jinping and his policies could weaken the authority of the Chinese Communist Party.
The US and the EU must demand that China compensate for the damage it has suffered, but also demand that China be removed from the WTO and the UN Security Council.
Although concerned about the interests of Germany, the European country most dependent on China with a trade volume of 200 billion in 2019, the EU must also distinguish between diplomacy and submission. It cannot ignore the danger of Chinese expansionism and turn the USA and China against each other, arguing that this is a new cold war between two great powers that hardly concerns it. For, let there be no mistake, the Chinese giant would not spare us afterwards and everyone would then remember the cowardice and lack of foresight of the EU.
But the beginnings of a latent war with thinly veiled threats against the EU and its member states are already there, and this should force us to open our eyes. For example, Beijing demanded that the EU acknowledge Chinese responsibility in the report on the management of the Covid-19 and recently tried to prevent a contract for the modernization of Taiwan's frigates signed with a French company: "We once again urge France to respect the principle of one China and to cancel the project to sell arms to Taiwan to avoid damaging Sino-French relations".
It would be right for China to participate in the financing of global economic reconstruction. Therefore, after the EU's failure at the height of the crisis, the least that European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen can do now for the people of the 27 member countries, who are suffering few hundred thousand deaths and a significant loss of income, would be, together with US President Donald Trump, to demand that China compensate all countries for the damage suffered.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that an eviction of China from the WTO and the UN Security Council could moderate this power out of control and thus preserve the world for a long time from the danger of a Chinese military offensive. It would therefore be indispensable that a historic agreement between the President of the European Commission and the President of the United States be established as soon as possible in order to demand its implementation from both international organizations. During an interview at the end of April 2020 with Laure Mandeville, a journalist specializing in the United States for Le Figaro, the American Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip T. Reeker declared: "Faced with China, we are going to unite". Here is now the opportunity.
So certainly, the European Union's inclination for extreme globalization and free trade may raise doubts about such a change in policy, but if we think that the populations will not accept, on top of growing unemployment, the austerity it plans to impose on them to pay for the economic catastrophe caused by China, the Commission should understand that it will have to change its ideological software before it has to face an anger that would provoke the end of the EU or face a war that its permissive policy towards China for the last 20 years will have favoured and for which it would be highly responsible.
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