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Is China good for Africa?

Last Updated: 2/18/2007 3:20:06 PM

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China's success has been the economic story of the last two decades, receiving admiring glances from nations across the globe including Africa all wanting to share in the success, but is it a mutually beneficial relationship? ....

Another century another Asian economic miracle. In the mid part of the 20th century Japan led the way posting astounding economic growth rates year after year, no to be outdone the Asian tigers, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore joined the party creating a ring of prosperity across the far eastern edge of Asia. However in terms the global impact these not inconsequential achievements may be dwarfed by the rise of the Chinese behemoth.

Chinese economic reforms in 1978, set the stage the years of double digit GDP growth and has powered this nation of over 1.3bn people to the premier league of national economies. With growth has come industrialisation and the need to feed China's seemingly insatiable appetite with energy and raw materials. To satisfy this need China has turned south to Africa, home to some the world's greatest untapped reserves of oil, gas and other natural resources.

In recent years China's has undertaken a blitzkrieg of economic diplomacy across the continent, culminating in the historic Sino-African summit in Beijing last year. The visits and the summit have cumulated in a raft of deals, with China securing access to mineral, oil rights and local markets across Africa in return for infrastructure, credit and cash.

On paper it seems like straightforward pieces of business, but concerns are being raised. In Sudan China has been accused of turning a blind eye to the genocide in Darfur as it supplies the Sudanese regime with military equipment in return for access to Sudan's oil resources. China's investments in Zambian copper mines have been bedeviled by local protests about Chinese labour practices to an extent that the issue became key debating point in last year Presidential elections. Development agencies are querying the credit facilities China offers to African countries arguing that this undoes some of the work that has been done on debt relief. These are some of the concerns being raised and they are rising.

China response has been that it does not mix business with politics and has shown no sign of halting its in roads into Africa.

Is this ultimately good for Africa? Is this a relationship of equals? Or are we saying a replay of the relationship that Africa had with Europe, one with unequal partners and ultimately exploitative. Or is it time that Africa grows up and learns to play its cards properly?


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Comment By: Jackywang

I think it is quite right,at least in economy,china and africa join together,then it is a business team,it lead to mutual benefit for both china and Africa,such as we are a china supplier of motorcycle tyre and tube,we export our product to Africa,That action can satisfied Africa's requirement and bring profit to ours.

Posted On: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 2:03 AM

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Comment By: kikimandan

China's success has been their brain power to duplicate invented technology of other developed countries to come out with a similar yet cheap items using their available resources. African governments should work hand in hand with China to help improve our economy by ourselves and not by foreigners because the Chinese have succeded at this. In Africa we have geniuses for example in Uganda people in Katwe in Kampala have the potential of being inventive but they lack government support and good advise from people who have succeded at it like China. We should reduce on the way we rely on the US and European countries because they seem to be to expensive and their help or donor support does not come at a free cost but rather more expensive costs leading most African countries to sink more into poverty due to debts they cannot pay.

Posted On: Friday, May 14, 2010 8:39 AM

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