Chinese extend in Africa, a showdown between two gigantic eras: °I

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 Zambia: China is client for copper.
In Zimbabwe: for chromium.
In South Africa: client for iron.
In Gabon: for wood.
In Sudan: China is Sudan’s major trading patrner, the largest buyer of sudanese oil, and a key military supplier to the regime in Karthoum.
In Angola and Nigeria: China removes crude oil.
In Mali and the Gulf of Guinea: China is prospecting raw materials.
In Africa: China’s exports of textile quality at the expense of local workers.
The document on China’s African policy, for the first time formally outlined the principles of Sino-African relations and erected a strategic review. According to it, since 2005, Beijing became the first supplier of Africa, before the United States and France, as well as its second client behind the United States after a five-fold increase of trade since 2000. In 2007, bilateral trade accounts for 70 billion. However, it is the European Unions that remain in the lead.

 The map below illustrates the amount of chinese investments in 2005 in Africa:

Thus, we see that China needs to invest Africa to develop, and therefore African negotiators should be able to sell at a much better price than the cheap prices they get now.

 The human aftermarths of this strong presence are an extensive slave of kidnapping, without seeing the strong presence necessarily the direct cause of these terrorist actions:

– 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:


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