Congo’s new parliament worth €50m to be built by China for free or “for future exploit”
A new parliament is expected to be built in The Republic of Congo by the Chinese at an estimated cost of €50m. The Chinese government has stated that the parliament will be built for free which has been regarded as a gift from China government to Congolese government.
It was reported that the Chinese builders have started work on the site as President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday launched the commencement of work on the edifice to be located in the capital, Brazzaville.
In addition, it was confirmed from the authorities of both countries that the building which is valued at more than 34 billion FCFA (52 million euros) is said to be fully-funded as a donation from the Chinese government to the Congolese government. Present at the launch ceremony was China’s Deputy Minister of Commerce, Qian Keming. Some Congolese are extremely surprise and shock at such kind gesture from the Chinese government while some believed it is a way for the Chinese to exploit their natural resources.
The construction is expected to last for 40 months. Also, the construction has been entrusted to the Chinese Jiangsu Provincial Construction Ltd., this company has started working on the site.
“This project is helping to open the capital city to modernity”, and “remains one of the biggest cooperation projects carried out by China in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of a gift”, Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister in charge of planning of the territory of the Congo said.
However, some government officials believed that a new parliament is not a priority for a country fraught with rights issues and political violence in the Pool region.
“A new seat for a Parliament is not a priority,” said Trésor Nzila, executive director of the Congolese Human Rights Observatory in Congo.
Similarly, his position is shared by Clement Miérassa, president of the Congolese Social Democratic Party: “I hope that this Chinese investment will not in the future have an impact on Congo’s debt that has already exploded.”
It has been reported that Chinese investments are usually made in exchange for the natural resources that the respective countries have, in the case of Congo, oil and timber might be their target.
“The priority for us is the resolution of the crisis that has shaken the Pool for a year and the improvement of the human rights situation as a whole,” Nzila added.
The Pool Region in southern Congo-Brazzaville has been plunged into violence since April 2016. This is as a result of the re-election of President Sassou Nguesso. A poll that the president according to the electoral body won over 60% of but which was challenged by the opposition. The opposition felt the election must have been rigged in that area while many confirmed that it was free and fair.
Many African countries have experienced exploits of different levels from China. It has been observed that the country introduces itself as a good Samaritan but later turns the table around. However, some Congolese believe that China is there to help while some believe they are there to exploit.