China's Congo Plan: What the economic superpower sees in the world's poorest nation by Jacob Kushner
What does China see in the world’s poorest nation? An opportunity for big business. Congo is known for poverty and conflict, but it is home to an enormous wealth of buried minerals such as copper, whose value is rising on the world market. Already, tens of thousands of Chinese men and women have left their families behind to live in Africa to dig and process ore. Now, two Chinese state-owned companies are opening the biggest mine Congo has ever seen. In exchange, they’re spending billions of dollars to build new roads and modernize Congo's infrastructure. But will Chinese mines and roads help transform the country in a way Western aid and business has not? Or will Chinese businessmen and Congolese officials get rich while the people continue to live in poverty? In "China’s Congo Plan", Jacob Kushner takes us street-side to a grand, Chinese-constructed boulevard in Congo’s capital Kinshasa, to a mountain range where Congolese men, women and children dig for minerals with picks and shovels, and to a factory where Chinese immigrants melt aqua-blue rocks into molten copper lava. Two years after China overtook the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner, Kushner brings us inside the world of China’s rise in the continent. Kushner's reporting was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and his research was advised by faculty at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. "China's Congo Plan" was awarded the Grand Prize in the Atavist Digital Storymakers Award for Graduate Longform, sponsored by the Pearson Foundation. "China's Congo Plan" will be published Sept. 6 on Creatavist and available for download from Amazon and the iBookstore.
Jacob Kushner is a freelance journalist currently reporting on international peacekeeping, foreign aid and development, offshore tax havens, and Chinese mining and other investments in Africa. He holds an M.A. in political journalism from Columbia University in New York. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.A. in journalism and Latin American studies. Jacob recently spent two years reporting from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where his work focused on immigration and foreign investment including development aid. He speaks fluent Spanish, conversational Haitian Creole and basic French.
Jacob’s journalism has appeared in such media as the Associated Press, Newsweek, GlobalPost, Guernica, the Center for Public Integrity, California Watch, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, WLRN South Florida, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and the Nation Institute, World Pulse Magazine, the New Internationalist, and JazzTimes Magazine.