Why China wants to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan
China is already eyeing Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, using the excuse of wanting to help rebuild the torn and torn country, now mainly ruled by the Taliban.
In fact, the Americans hadn’t even left Afghanistan before Chinese diplomats showed up to “help,” a recent report by US Global Investors said. The report explains as follows:
- Just hours after the Taliban completed their rapid takeover of Afghanistan, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing was ready to participate in the ‘reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. “.
Who can blame China. There is a lot of money to be made.
“The combined value of [Afghanistan’] minerals is estimated to be between $ 1,000 billion and $ 3 trillion. By comparison, opium poppy production in the country was valued at just $ 350 million in 2020, ”the report said.
In other words, Afghanistan’s underground mineral resources could be worth nearly 10 times the country’s infamous opium harvest.
These minerals include lithium, gold, silver, platinum, iron, copper, aluminum, and uranium. Among these, lithium stands out as a real price because it has become essential in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.
Better yet for China, if it is successful, it is because Afghanistan is on its way to becoming the Saudi Arabia of Afghanistan. In other words, the Central Asian country is famous for harboring piles of lithium. As the world’s largest auto market and due to the global shift to electric vehicles, China is likely to want to get every last pound of lithium possible.
Access to lithium deposits as well as all other minerals would help further strengthen China’s global dominance in critical materials. China already has a more than dominant position in rare earth elements, many of which are used in cellphones and defense equipment, according to another report by US Global Investors.
Will Afghanistan’s Resource Richness Improve the Lives of Afghans? Probably not. As US Global points out, the resource curse is against them. This is a situation where the seeming blessing of having mineral resources does not make countries rich. Instead, it makes them poorer per capita.
For example, Saudi Arabia has a middle-income GDP, as do Nigeria, Brazil, Iraq, and many other oil-rich countries. Only one country has ever gotten richer from oil or other minerals: Norway.
Because of this dark history of minerals, it seems likely that Afghan minerals will not help alleviate the overwhelming poverty of the war-torn country.