China’s Investment In Africa – The African Perspective (via Forbes)
By Steven Kuo
JOHANNESBURG – China’s interest in Africa is often said to come on the back of colonial aspirations. Newspaper headlines scream that Chinese firms, backed by the powerful and deep-pocketed Chinese state, will mop-up Africa’s business opportunities to the detriment of Western and indigenous firms. Given these developments, is it possible for Africa to benefit from increasing Chinese investments in Africa?
While it is easy to conclude that China is taking over and ‘colonizing’ Africa when one sees ‘Made in China’ goods in every African marketplace and Chinese construction crews on seemingly every construction site, it is easy to forget that Chinese goods and labor are able to entering the African marketplace amicably, rather than the historical model by which Beijing would be sailing a warship up to the coast and forcing African governments to accept trade. In fact, Chinese goods and companies are possible in Africa because WTO efforts over the past two decades have decreased trade tariffs and opened up the African marketplace. Ironically, therefore, it is not a ‘colonialist’ China, but the WTO that set the playing field for Africa as an attractive opportunity for China.
First it was a parliament building, then a road to connect Karonga and Chitipa, a five-star hotel, followed by a stadium, and now it seems they will be building an Airport. China is Africa’s new friend and within the last decade, they have made some serious inroads into Africa. The question that interests me looking at all the things China is doing in Africa, and considering they are not a colonialist is this: why didn’t any of the former colonialists build infrastructure comparable to what China is building in Africa today, when back in their own countries, they continued to build structures which no doubt contributed to their economies during the same period? Especially since some of these organisations had large empires which no doubt contributed to their enormous wealth….
Was it because they didn’t think Africa needed its own infrastructure? There was no plan …? Or was it because they had no money?
Anyhow i’ll ponder that another day 🙂
While President Joyce Banda should be commended for pushing through this excellent development (which is exactly the kind of infrastructure Africa needs) since it is true that our airports are outdated and in serious need for improvement, I wonder what she has granted the Chinese in return? What does the deal involve? Is the deal public? Would be interesting to see what is being offered in return…