posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:06 AM
I've been reading news stories for the last couple years about China's major investment in Africa to the tune of billions of dollars.
China Builds African
Full scale work by the Chinese begins to rebuild 2,050 miles of roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo, left to rot in the rainforest after the
Belgian colonialists pulled out 48 years ago and further shattered by seven years of war.
The vast project, which will triple Congo's current paved road network, is part of China's largest investment in Africa, a £4.5 billion
infrastructure-for-minerals deal signed in January.
As well as the roads, Beijing has promised to repair 2,000 miles of largely defunct railways, build 32 hospitals and 145 health centres, install two
electricity distribution networks, construct two hydropower dams and two new airports.
That is an absolutely massive investment by the Chinese! The article goes on to say that China was a 'Plan B' when it came to aid and that the Congo
approached European nations first. However, Europe declined saying it didn't have the 'muscle' to tackle such a project and that China stepped in
Another point is that China does what needs to be done in exchange for what they want, without all the lectures and moral high ground that come with
taking aid from Western nations.
The Congo is definitely not the only country that the Chinese are investing in the infrastructure of. There's also
the port hub in Nigeria
copper mines in Zambia
, among others.
The Africans who have experience with the Chinese brand of "investment" know that it's hardly an equal exchange.
While Zambians may have long considered Western capitalism barbaric, it now seems practically idyllic compared to the supercharged Chinese
version. "At least Western capitalism has a human face," says Sata, "the Chinese are only out to exploit us." Indeed, the Chinese are currently
toying with the idea of establishing two Special Economic Zones within Zambian borders. "Then they will have their state within a state," Sata
believes, "and will truly be able to do as they please."
quoted from the Spiegel article above.
So my question is, what is China after? The obvious answer is natural resources. Minerals in the Congo, Copper in Zambia, Oil in Niger. But I think
there must be more to the story. I don't think the Chinese would give Africa a filet mignon's worth of investment when a crust of bread would
clearly do in order to gain access to natural resources. One thing that can't be denied about China her shrewd and cutthroat business sense.
Since when does a developing country invest in countries other than itself anyway? Clearly China plans to have influence in Africa for the long haul.
But what is the bigger picture? What, besides the obvious raw materials and political influence, does China hope to gain? Why recolonize Africa?