In recent years, black Africa has been a place of chinese people inflow, would it be in Sudan, in Zimbabwe or Nigeria….touching areas such as raw materials. Indeed, China is working to strengthen its economic relations with Africa, but it also concerns cultural weightiness.
But if economic and cutural relations between Republic of China and black Africa intensified for two decades, particularly since the « Year of Africa in China », 2006, Beijingis is working to support its strong growth from the 50s, when Mao Zedong gave support for independence movements in the Third World. This assistance lead many African countries newly born to fall for China’s part in the diplomatic struggle which opposes to Taiwan, including obtaining his seat at the UN.
Gradually, this arrival from east were asserted by many worldwide observers, as a manifestation of neo-colonialism to the point of qualify it « Chinafrica », in remembrance of « Françafrique ». Some even wandered about China as a neocolonial power in sub-Saharan Africa…
But more than colonialism this is about cooperation:
As a logical consequence of its strong growth, Beijing has sought to build strong economic relations with Africa. For example, while the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with Egypt tooked place, in 2006 the third forum on Sino-African cooperation were also held, where almost all African heads of state were present to dedicate China as the first partner of the continent.
But if that presence is well proven and accepted by the african leaders, what are the concrete reasons for such a presence in the southern continent; for which interest China has given it all that bad since the 50s?
Chinese interests in Africa are plentiful, and cut across a lot of raw materials, and in many countries, we see that it is present on the overall African territory:
– In Sudan: this past week (31rst of january 2012), in south Sudan, chinese workers involved in a road-building project in South Kordofan were kidnapped by south soudan rebels; 17 others have been moved to safety by the sudanese army. since saturday, while 29 remain captive.
– in Egypt: Twenty-five Chinese workers were taken hostage by Bedouin tribesmen, but they were freed hopefully fastly.
These are exemplum of series…..
Indeed, not all the african countries seem to agree about the trade-off, and the way it is conducted by Chinese governement: The president of Zambia, Michael Sata, has been highly critical of Chinese mining companies and the way they treat his nation’s workers. Moreover, China has come to be under control for having cut deals with repressive governments (Sudan).
This presence arouses debate in the economic worldwide community:
Last november at Intelligence Squared, London, a live forum for debate gathering a Portuguese politician, two professors of international studies, a Ghanaian economist, on the question: « Is Chinese investment good for Africa? »
See below the introduction: