Involvement of the People's Republic of China in Africa

Involvement of the People's Republic of China in Africa

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Encyclopedia
The People's Republic of China and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...


Chinese involvement in Africa, which began centuries ago, continues through the present day through exploration, trade, and the settlement of Chinese people
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. This includes the ongoing move by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 to secure highly needed natural resources through Chinese-African trade and diplomatic relations.

The quest for key resources in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 targets areas rich in oil, minerals, timber, and cotton, such as Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. Many African countries are viewed as fast-growing markets and profitable outlets for the immediate export of cheap manufactured goods, and the future export of high-end products and services.

Large scale structural projects, often accompanied by a soft loan
Soft loan
A soft loan is a loan with a below-market rate of interest. This is also known as soft financing. Sometimes soft loans provide other concessions to borrowers, such as long repayment periods or interest holidays. Soft loans are usually provided by governments to projects they think are worthwhile...

, are proposed to African countries rich in natural resources. China commonly funds the construction of infrastructure such as roads and railroads, dams, ports, and airports. These amenities aid the movement of natural resources back to China, and provide China with leverage to obtain exploration and drilling rights. While relations are mainly conducted through diplomacy and trade, military support via the provision of arms and other equipment is also a major component.

In the diplomatic and economic rush into Africa, Taiwan, the United States, France, and the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 are China's main competitors. France and the UK were once the primary commercial partners in Africa, but China recently became the largest trading partner, with trade of US$90 billion in 2009. The United States ranked 2nd, with $86 billion. Although Africa has seen economic growth through commodity exports to China, critics argue that Chinese exports to Africa—as well as Chinese business practices—have impeded aspects of African development. China continues to expand its influence in the region on diplomatic, cultural, and commercial fronts, while working to secure and stabilize the region for long term gains.

China


The People's Republic of China began seriously pursuing market socialism
Market socialism
Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

 in the 1970s under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

. This marked the acceleration of a slow acceptance of and change to capitalist practices as the foundation of the PRC's socioeconomic development, a process initiated several decades earlier following the aftermath of the Great Leap Forward
Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

. Beginning in 1980, the PRC initiated a policy of rapid modernization and industrialization, resulting in reduced poverty for hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants, and developing the base of a powerful industrial economy. As of 2011, the PRC had the second largest nominal GDP in the world, at $6.5 trillion, and the second largest GDP by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 at $11.1 trillion. Today, the PRC faces a well-publicized and growing shortage of raw materials such as oil, wood, copper, and aluminum, all of which are needed to support its economic expansion and the production of manufactured goods.

Africa


Africa has a population of roughly 922 million and a surface of 30,221,532 km². Industrialization started marginally in the early 20th century in the colonies of the European nations, namely Portugal, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The continent's various wars for independence brought on the violent and disruptive division of Africa. Africa, being a major source of raw material
Raw material
A raw material or feedstock is the basic material from which a product is manufactured or made, frequently used with an extended meaning. For example, the term is used to denote material that came from nature and is in an unprocessed or minimally processed state. Latex, iron ore, logs, and crude...

s, saw the colonial powers vie for influence among the newly independent nations, with former colonial powers establishing special relations with their former colonies, often by offering economic aid and alliances for access to the vast resources of their former territories.

Today, the presence of diamonds, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 and large oil reserves have brought Africa to the forefront of industrial development, with many of the world's economic powers building relations with Africa's resource rich nations.

As of 2008, the entire GDP of Africa is about $1.2 trillion.

Incentives for cooperation


Both China and Africa proclaim a new, mutually beneficial economic, political, and regional alliance. China sees a source for raw materials and energy, desperately needed to support its feverish industrial and economic growth. Success in this quest means high employment and a higher quality of life for Chinese citizens, as well as increasing social stability and political security for Chinese elites.

Through Africa, China has also found a way to isolate Taiwan, its diplomatic arch rival. Chinese oil companies are gaining the invaluable experience of working in African nations which will prepare them for larger projects on the far more competitive world market. The efficiency of Chinese assistance, loans, and proposals generally been praised. Finally, Chinese industry has found in Africa a budding market for its low-cost manufactured goods.

Chinese diaspora in Africa have been actively supported by Chinese embassies, continuously building the 'Blood Brother' relation between China and Africa as perceived victims of Western imperialism.

African leaders earn legitimacy through Chinese partnerships. They work together with the Chinese to provide Africa with key structural infrastructure—roads, railways, ports, hydroelectric dams, and refineries—fundamentals which will help Africa avoid the "resource curse
Resource curse
The resource curse refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources...

". Success in this endeavor means avoiding the exploitation of their natural wealth and the beginning of fundamental social and economic transformations on the continent.

African countries partnering with China today are signing with a future world superpower. In Africa, this Chinese alliance provides strong psychological consequences. It provides economic hope and shows African elites an example of success which they may take as exemplars of their own future. Writer Harry Broadman commented that if Chinese investments in key sectors of infrastructure, telecommunication, manufacturing, foods, and textiles radically alter the African continent, the main change will have taken place in African minds. With the recent growth and economic improvement, more Africans students are returning to Africa after studies abroad in order to bring their skills and industry home. With key infrastructure in place, Africa has a future.

Early dynasties (700 a.d. to 1800)


There are traces of Chinese activity in Africa dating back as far back as the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

. Chinese porcelain has been found along the coasts of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. Chinese coins, dated 9th century, have been discovered in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

, and Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. The Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 established maritime trade with East Africa (now Tanzania, Zimbabwe) in the mid-12th century. The Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

's Zhu Siben made the first known Chinese voyage to the Atlantic Ocean, while the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

's admiral Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

 and his fleet of more than 300 ships made seven separate voyages to areas around the Indian Ocean, and landed on the coast of Eastern Africa.

Ancient Sino-African official contacts were not widespread. Most Chinese emissaries are believed to have stopped before ever reaching Europe or Africa, probably travelling as far as the far eastern provinces of the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and later Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 empires. However, some did reach Africa. Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 ambassadors, which was one of only two times when China was ruled by a foreign dynasty, this one the Mongols
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

, traveled to Madagascar. Zhu Siben traveled along Africa's western coasts, drawing a more precise map of Africa's triangular shape.

Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming government
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 of Emperor Yongle sponsored a series of naval expeditions, with Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

 as the leader. He was placed in control of a massive fleet of ships, which numbered as much as 300 treasure ship
Treasure ship
A Treasure ship is the name for a type of large wooden vessel commanded by the Chinese admiral Zheng He on seven voyages in the early 15th century in Ming Dynasty...

s with at least 28,000 men. Among the many places traveled, which included Arabia, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, His fleet traveled to East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

. On their return, the fleet brought back African leaders, as well as lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, rhinoceros
Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros , also known as rhino, is a group of five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to southern Asia....

', ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

es, giraffe
Giraffe
The giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant...

s, etc., to the great joy of the court.

Following Emperor Yongle's death, and the resurgence of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

, which opposed frivolous external adventures, such expensive foreign policies were abandoned, and the costly fleet was destroyed. Confucian officials preferred agriculture and authority over innovation, exploration, and trade. Their opinion was that Ming China had nothing to learn from overseas barbarians.

The modern Chinese version is that the European mercantilism
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

 in the Age of Discovery
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 aggressively ended Sino-African relations. This point of view enforces the rhetoric of the blood brother
Blood brother
Blood brother can refer to one of two things: two males related by birth, or two or more men not related by birth who have sworn loyalty to each other. This is usually done in a ceremony, known as a blood oath, where the blood of each man is mingled together...

 relations of China and Africa.


Industrial era (1800 to 1949)


A new era of Chinese trade began in the industrial era. European colonization of Africa and the abolition of slavery in France caused major workforce shortages in European colonies. Europe looked for a way to fill the gap with low-cost workers from abroad, namely India and China. Beginning in the 1880s, tens of thousands of Chinese Coolie
Coolie
Historically, a coolie was a manual labourer or slave from Asia, particularly China, India, and the Phillipines during the 19th century and early 20th century...

s were sent overseas to work in the mines, railroads, and plantations of the colonial powers. The exploitation of inland resources, such as copper mines, also led to the presence of relatively large, isolated Chinese populations in landlocked countries such Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

. Jean Ping
Jean Ping
Jean Ping is a Gabonese diplomat and politician who is currently the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union...

, the minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon, who presided the UN Assembly, was born from an African mother and a Chinese father in Gabon, a country where almost no Chinese were present.

Diplomatic opening (1949 to 1980)



After the formation of the People's Republic of China following the Communist party victory in 1949, some Chinese fled, eventually landing in Africa. By the 1950s, Chinese communities in excess of 100,000 existed in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, and Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. Small Chinese communities in other parts of Africa later became the cornerstone
Cornerstone
The cornerstone concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or...

 of the post-1980 growth in dealings between China and Africa. However, at the time, many lived lives centered on local agriculture and probably had little or no contact with China. Precise statistics of the Chinese presence in Africa are difficult to obtain, since both Chinese and African offices have remained discreet about this issue.

The newly formed People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 actively began supporting the decolonization movements in Africa and the Pacific. This era is especially important in the "Sino-African friendship" movement, as both the PRC and many of the decolonized African nations shared a "victim background", the perception that they were both taken advantage of by imperialistic nations such as Japan and European states.

The growing Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 of the 1950s and 1960s allowed the PRC to get US support, and to return to the international scene in 1971. China (Taiwan)'s seat on the Security Council was expelled by General Assembly Resolution 2758
China and the United Nations
China's seat in the United Nations and membership of the United Nations Security Council was originally occupied by the Republic of China since October 24, 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China repelled the government of the ROC from Mainland China to the island of...

, and replaced in all UN organs with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

With growing opposition between the USSR and the PRC in the 1960s, China expanded its own program of diplomacy, sometimes supporting capitalist factions against USSR backed ones (e.g. Angola (UNITA
UNITA
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the Angolan War for Independence and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war .The war was one...

) and South Africa (Apartheid).

At the 1955 Bandung conference, China showed an interest in becoming the leader of the "third world
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

". Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 made an extensive African tour between 1963-1964, to strengthen Sino-African friendship. Hundreds of Chinese medics were sent to Africa and infrastructural projects were planned. The iconic 1860 km Tanzam railroad, built by 50.000 Chinese workers, was completed in 1976. Ex-diplomat and now professor of Foreign Relations in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, M. Xinghua, referred to this era as the "golden age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

" of Sino-African relations. Growing numbers of African countries switched their recognition from the ROC (Taiwan)
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 to the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. 1976 marked the death of Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 and Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, bringing the era of ideology symbolically to a close and leaving power in the pragmatic hands of Deng Xiaoping.

The shift to a less ideological approach was not without difficultly, and it involved considerable political effort to maintain the perception of a coherent national direction. Writer Philip Snow
Philip Snow
Philip Albert Snow is an English born former Fijian cricketer.In 1936 Snow made his debut for the Leicestershire Second XI against the Nottinghamshire Second XI. From 1936 to 1937 Snow played four matches for the Leicestershire Second XI....

 describes it thus: "a continual attempt to sustain a rhetorical unity which has sometimes disguised the pursuit of profoundly different goals".

Economic acceleration (1980 to the present)


As China awakened from its decades-old period of semi-isolation, the country was boosted by internal reforms, growing Taiwanese and foreign investments, and the dramatic expansion of its workforce. China once more turned toward Africa, now looking to the continent both a source of key resources and as a market for its low-cost consumer goods.

Writer R. Marchal identifies two key events in Sino-African relations. First, the Tian'anmen protests in 1989; the spectacle consolidated opposition to what was perceived as the PRC's the violent oppression of demonstrators. Economically developed nations threatened to enforce economic sanctions, while African countries kept silent, either to conceal their own harsh policies or to further their ties with China. Indeed, that was the results as China's strengthened its cooperation with African states. The growing alliance between China and Africa was more and more needed for both sides. China's growing industry resulted in a rapidly expanding and seemingly inexhaustible demand for resources. Meanwhile, in the relative calm ushered in by the end of the cold war, concerns about human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 issues in China, furthered isolated the mix of rogue
Rogue state
Rogue state is a controversial term applied by some international theorists to states they consider threatening to the world's peace. This means meeting certain criteria, such as being ruled by authoritarian regimes that severely restrict human rights, sponsor terrorism, and seek to proliferate...

 and pariah state
Pariah state
A pariah state is one whose conduct is considered to be out of line with international norms of behavior. This term is closely related to the term rogue state.-Definitions:...

s.

Zǒu

chū
.
qū.


In 1995, Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

, pushed the pace of economic growth even faster. Under his leadership, China pursued broad reforms with confidence. Zemin declared to Chinese entrepreneurs, "Go out" (走出去 Zǒu chūqū), encouraging businessmen to conquer world markets In the late 1990s, Chinese bids were heavily supported by the government and local embassies, with government-owned Eximbank providing needed finances at low rates. The advantages provided by the PCR allowed Chinese enterprises to win many bids on the world market.

PRC officials described the period as a "sane adjustment" and the "sane development of economic and commercial Sino-African relations". Still, Chinese and African diplomacy continued to invoke the imagery of the past ideological period: the shared history of victimization at the hands of 19th century westerners and the common fight for autonomy and independence. To those, China added the fight toward progress in a world unfairly dominated by western powers. It is worth noting that in Africa today, strongly government-backed Chinese companies are equally or more successful than many western companies.

International relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

 analyst Parag Khanna
Parag Khanna
Dr. Parag Khanna is an Indian American author and international relations expert. He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Research Fellow in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. and Director of...

 states that by making massive trade and investment deals with Latin America and Africa, China established its presence as a superpower along with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. China's rise is demonstrated by its ballooning share of trade in its gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

. Khanna believes that China's consultative style has allowed it to develop political and economic ties with many countries including those viewed as rogue states by western diplomacies.
Chinese diaspora
Country Chinese
Angola 30.000
South Africa 200.000
Sudan 20-50.000
Congo-Brazzaville 7.000
Equatorial Guinea 8.000
Gabon 6.000
Nigeria 50.000
Algeria 20.000
Morocco /
Chad hundreds
Egypt thousands
Ethiopia 5-7.000
RDC 10.000
Zambia 40.000
Zimbabwe 10.000
Mozambique 1.500
Niger 1.000
Cameroon 7.000
Gabon 6.000
Total +500.000

China's rise in the world market led the Chinese diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

 in Africa to make contact with relatives in their homeland. Renewed relations created a portal through which African demand for low-price consumers goods could flow. Chinese businessmen in Africa, with contacts in China, brought in skilled industrial engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

s and technician
Technician
A technician is a worker in a field of technology who is proficient in the relevant skills and techniques, with a relatively practical understanding of the theoretical principles. Experienced technicians in a specific tool domain typically have intermediate understanding of theory and expert...

s such as mechanics
Mechanics
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

, electrician
Electrician
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

s, carpenters
Carpentry
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

, to build African industry from the ground up.

The 1995 official Go Global
Go global
Go Out policy is the People's Republic of China's current strategy to encourage its enterprises to invest overseas.Most nations favour actively attracting inward foreign investment, and would only support outward foreign investment passively...

 declaration and the 2001 Chinese entry into the WTO paved the way for private citizens in China to increasingly connect with, import from, and export to the budding Sino-African markets.

Expansion of military presence (1990 to the present)


The Chinese military presence in Africa has also increased, particularly since 1990 when China agreed to join in UN peace-keeping responsibilities. In January 2005, 598 Chinese peace keepers were sent to Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

. Others were sent to Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 as part of Operation MINURSO, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

, the Ivory Coast and the DRC. This was a carefully handled and
largely symbolic move, as China did not want to appear as a new colonialist power overly interfering in internal affairs.

China has put its weight behind the conflict in Chad. The FUC rebellion, based in Sudan and aiming to overthrow the pro-Taiwan ruler of Chad, Idriss Déby
Idriss Déby
General Idriss Déby Itno is the President of Chad and the head of the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Déby is of the Bidyat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group. He added "Itno" to his surname in January 2006.-Rise to power:...

, has received Chinese diplomatic support as well as light weapons and Sudanese oil. With Sudan maintaining a pro-Chinese stance, and Chad being pro-Taiwan (and since 2003, an oil producer), China has pursued their interests in replacing Deby with a more pro-China leader. The 2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt
2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt
The 2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt was an attempted coup d'état against Chadian President Idriss Déby that was foiled on the night of March 14, 2006.-Plot:...

 failed after French intervention, but Deby then switched his support to Beijing, with the apparent defeat becoming a strategic victory for China.

China currently has military alliances with 6 African states, 4 of which are major oil suppliers: Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt. On the whole, however, China's influence remains limited, especially when compared with Western powers such France, whose military involvement in the 2004 Ivory Coast conflict and the 2006 Chad conflict was significant. China is particularly unable to compete with the ex-colonial powers in providing military training and educational programs, given the latter’s continuing ties via military academies like Sandhurst
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

 in the UK and Saint Cyr
École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr
The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr is the foremost French military academy. Its official name is . It is often referred to as Saint-Cyr . Its motto is "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre": literally "They study to vanquish" or "Training for victory"...

 in France.

Effects of the global economic downturn (2007 to the present)



Since 2009, a switch has been noticed in China's approach to Africa. The new tack has been to underline long term stability in light of the world wide economic crisis.

A $1 billion Guinean dam project has been stalled by Chinese following the Guinean coup of late 2008 and resulting unrest. Worried about long term economic health, Chinese investors have been looking for less risky places to invest, like Zambia and Liberia, which have a stronger social order.

Some major projects get stopped, such as in Angola, where 2/3 of a US$4 billion CIF fund disappeared, it is unclear where this money went. Following this, a major Chinese-backed oil refinery project was scrapped by Angolan officials, with unclear reasons, causing problems for Sino-Angolan relations. China may be learning the risks of sending money to Africa.

As raw material prices fall through the global recession, the negotiating position of African countries is sharply weakened, while expected profits intended to repay Chinese loans are collapsing. As a consequence, tensions have increased: China is more worried about the risk of default, while African countries fear servicing their debt over the long term of their loans.

Overview of trade

Chinese trade in US$ billions
Year World Africa %
2002 620.8 12 1.9%
2003 851.2 18.48 2.17%
2005 1422 39 2.74%
2006 1760.6 55 3.12%
2007 2173.8 73.6 3.38%
2010 ? 100? ?

Sino-African trade in US$ billions
Year Africa to China
(year increase)
China to Africa
(year increase)
Sum
(year increase)
2004 15.65 13.82 29.47
2005 21.12 18.69 39.81 (+35)
2006 28.77 26.70 55.47 (+39.3)
2007 36.33 (+25.9%) 37.31 (+39.7%) 73.644 (+32,7%)


Chinese world trade has grown rapidly over the last decades. Total trade was roughly $100 US billion in 1990, 500 billion in 2000, 850 billion in 2004, 1400 billion in 2005, and 2200 billion in 2007. That's computes to an over 20-fold increase in under 20 years and an annualized growth rate of nearly 18%. More remarkably, the vast majority of China's growth has taken place in the past decade; in other words, not only is the size of China's trade growing, the rate of the growth is accelerating. Thanks to the decades-old Chinese diaspora, the economic dynamism of PRC embassies, China's low-cost manufacturing industry, an efficient export engine, and an exchange rate that until 2010 has been held deliberately low, China's global trade has thrived.

In context of China's total trade, Africa actually comprises only a small part. In 2007, Sino-African trade rose $73b, 3.4% of China's $2173b total, far lower than the EU ($356b, 16.4%), the USA ($302b, 13.9%), and Japan ($236b, 10.9%).

Meanwhile, China represents Africa's main promise. China was Africa's 2nd largest trade partner as of 2008 and is expected to overtake the US, France, and the UK as Africa's biggest trading partner by 2010.

Chinese exports to Africa


The Chinese diaspora first reactivated its familial links in order to import low-priced goods such cups, forks, and umbrellas to Africa Indeed, African society has a screaming need for cheap goods in large quantities. China's manufacturing industry is truly complementary to African markets, often producing more cheaply than most African manufacturerss can, and with better quality. Cheap Chinese clothes, and cheap Chinese cars at half the price of western ones allow African customers to suddenly raise up the purchasing power.
Sino-African trade 2003
Country to China from China Total
South Africa 2.02 1.84 3.86
Angola 0.14 2.2 2.34
Sudan 0.47 1.44 1.91
Nigeria 1.78 0.07 1.85
Egypt 0.93 0.15 1.08
Congo-Brazzaville 0.06 0.81 0.87
Morocco 0.69 0.16 0.85
Algeria 0.64 0.09 0.73
Benin 0.47 0.07 0.54
Others 2,93 1,52 4,45
Total 10.13 8.35 18.48


In Africa, China may sell its own low quality or overproduced goods and inventory, a key outlet which helps maintain China's economic and social stability. Chinese shopowners in Africa are able to sell Chinese-built, Chinese-shipped goods for a profit. A negative consequence of China's low-cost consumer goods trade is that it only goes one way. China does not purchase manufactured products from Africa, while cheap Chinese imports flood the local marketplace, making it difficult for local industries to compete.

A noticeable case is the Chinese textile industry, which has hit Africa like a tsunami. In many countries, textiles are one of the first manufacturing industries to develop, but the African textile industry has been crippled by competition The negative consequences are not easily resolved: African consumers give praise to Chinese textiles, and they are often the first clothes they can afford to buy new; yet local manufactures are badly wounded, raising opposition and concern over the loss of local jobs.

Africa is seen by Chinese businessmen as 900 million potential customers in a fast-growing market,. Perhaps more importantly, African societies are far from market saturation
Market saturation
In economics, "market saturation" is a term used to describe a situation in which a product has become diffused within a market; the actual level of saturation can depend on consumer purchasing power; as well as competition, prices, and technology....

, like their Western counterparts. Thus, in Africa, China finds not only an ample supply of potential new customers but far less competition from other nations.

African exports to China


In the other direction, China's growing thirst for raw materials lead African state-owned enterprises to the country them natural resources, such wood and minerals (like those from the Gabonese forests). By the end of the 90's, China had become interested in African oil, too.

Over time, African laws adapted to China's demand, laws intended to force the local transformation of raw materials for export. This led to a new kind of manufacturing in Africa, managed by the Chinese, with African workers producing exports for Chinese, as well as European, American and Japanese customers. African leaders have pursued an increase of the share of raw material transformation both to add value to their exports and to provide manufacturing jobs for local Africans.

China's oil purchases have raised oil prices, boosting the government revenues of oil exporters like Angola, Gabon and Nigeria, while hurting the other oil-importing African countries. At the same time, China's raw materials purchases have increased prices for copper, timber, and nickel, which benefits many African countries as well.

While African growth from 2000 to 2005 averaged 4.7% per year, almost twice the growth has come from petroleum-exporting countries (2005: 7.4%; 2006: 6.7%; 2007: 9.1%) than from petroleum-importing countries (2005: 4.5%; 2006: 4.8%; 2007: 4.5%).

Infrastructure


For years, business in Africa was hampered by poor transportation between countries and regions. Chinese-African associations have worked towards ending this unproductive situation. China provides infrastructure funding and workforce in exchange for immediate preferential relations including lower resource prices or shares of African resources. As a secondary effect, this infrastructure allows Africa to increase its production and exports, improve the quality of life and increase the condition of millions of Africans, who will one day become as many millions of potential buyers of Chinese goods.

The recent Sino-Angolan association is illustrative. When a petroleum-rich area called for investment and rebuilding, China advanced a $5 billion loan to be repaid in oil. They sent Chinese technicians, fixing a large part of the electrical system, and leading a part of the reconstruction. In the short term Angola benefits from Chinese-built roads, hospitals, schools, hotels, football stadiums, shopping centers and telecommunications projects. In turn, Angola mortgaged future oil production of a valuable, non-renewable resource
Non-renewable resource
A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, grown, generated, or used on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate, once depleted there is no more available for future needs. Also considered non-renewable are resources that are consumed much faster than nature...

. It may turn out to be a costly trade for Angola, but their needs for infrastructure is immediate and that is precisely what China provideds when no one else is willing to do so. And thusly, Angola has become China's leading energy supplier.

China also plan to establish five special economic zones in Africa, zones where "the Chinese government will create the enabling environment into which Chinese companies can follow".

Chinese banks


The Export-Import Bank of China (Eximbank) is a government bank under direct leadership of the State Council, acting both in China and overseas. For its oversea actions, EximBank has hundreds of offices across the world, with three key representatives in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, St. Petersburg, and Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

. The bank is a major force in Chinese foreign trade, aiming to catalyze import-export initiatives.

Eximbank offers enterprises and allies a complete set of financial products. Low-rate loans and associations with skilled Chinese building companies are guided towards building or rebuilding local infrastructure, equipment, and offshore stations which meet a dual Chinese and African interest. EximBank can provide loans for road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s, railroads, electric and telecommunication systems, pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

, hospitals and various other needed facilities. It is the sole lending bank for Chinese Government Concessional Loans entrusted by the Chinese Government.

The bank officially aims to promote the development of Chinese export-oriented economy, to help provide China with raw materials, and facilitate the selling of Chinese goods abroad . EximBank helps to invest in underdeveloped African countries, allowing them to both produce and export more raw materials to Chinese industries, and to allowing African societies to expand their own markets. In 2006, EximBank alone pledged $20 billion in development funds for 2007 through 2010, more than all western funding. Several other Chinese bank also provide African governments and enterprises with similar agreements. China has shown itself to be more competitive, less bureaucratic, and better adapted to doing business in Africa. Between 2009 and 2010 China Development Bank (CDB) and Eximbank publicly offered around US$110 bn worth of loans to emerging markets. Beating the World Bank's record of offering just over US$100 bn between 2008 to 2010.

Chinese embassies


The Chinese government helps, "by all possible means", providing information, legal counsel, low-rate loans, and upon return to China, cheaper land in return for all the services provided to the Chinese nation in Africa." PRC embassies are full-time supporters of Chinese economic progress in Africa, widely using the numerous and well-organized pioneer Chinese businessmen of the diaspora. The Chinese government, well informed by these local businessmen about regional conditions, is equipped with thousands of skilled engineers and workers ready to leave China, as well as by experienced banks (i.e. EximBank) and large reserves of US dollars (as of 2008: approximately 1.4 trillion). The Chinese government is thus ready for taking on large scale investments and projects, and if approved, to lead them to completion.

In pursuing economic progress in Africa, the Chinese diaspora and Chinese producers have been actively assisted by PRC embassies. Michel and Beuret note that PRC embassies and local Chinese businessmen have frequent meetings and actively provide mutual assistances and information. For Africans requesting PRC Visas for China, the embassy may request further information about the local businessmen often about his wealth. When confirmed, the African businessmen or consumer quickly gets a Visa agreement.

Large infrastructure projects

  • Nigeria: railway Lagos-Kano, US$ 8.3b, 11,000 Chinese workers; Mambilla plateau, 2.600 MW hydro-electric central ;
  • Angola and Zambia: the vital Benguela railway line built with the British and linking Zambia and RDC's copper mines to Angola's Atlantic port of Lobito
    Lobito
    Lobito is a town and municipality in Benguela Province in Angola.It dates from 1905 and owes its existence to the bay of the same name having been chosen as the sea terminus of the Benguela railway to the far interior, passing through Luau to Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The...

    , was to be rebuilt by the Chinese company CIF
    CIF
    CIF is an abbreviation that may stand for:* California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports in California* Caltech Intermediate Form, geometry language for VLSI design, in which the primitives are coloured rectangles * Canada India Foundation, Canadian lobbying...

     (the project was canceled after US$3b disappeared). China is the world largest consumer of copper;
  • Guinea: 2006, a free of charge industrial 'packtage' including: one mine, one dam, one hydroelectric central, one railway, and one refinery was proposed to the Guinea bauxite/aluminum industry by China, funded by the EximBank, which will get repaid by purchasing alumina at apreferential price.
  • Algeria: a 1,000 km freeway built by Chinese workers.
  • Tanzania and Zambia: decades ago, the 1860 km Tanzam railway is completed in 1976, with 47 bridges and 18 tunnel made by 50,000 Chinese workers.
  • Sudan: pipeline and oilfields; Port Sudan completed within 2 years.
  • Congo: barrage d'Imboulou.

Arms


Chinese arms show up across the African continent from Liberia to Somalia. The People's Liberation Army (PLA)
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 was allowed to sell weapons in the 80's and created several export enterprises, most notably, Norinco
Norinco
The China North Industries Corporation , official English name Norinco, manufactures vehicles , machinery, optical-electronic products, oil field equipment, chemicals, light industrial products, explosives and blast materials, civil and military firearms and ammunition, etc...

, Xingxing, and Poly Group, which have sold weapons to rogue states such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, while Chinese weapons were used in Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, Chad, and Liberia.

These trades appear to be mostly small arms sales to middlemen arms dealers who in turn sell to both governments and rebels in Africa. The available evidence suggests these amounts are not major, especially compared to the U.S. supply of nearly 50% of the world’s weapons, and that the direct leverage of the Peoples Liberation Army or the civilian ministries is modest in most African conflicts. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates China's 2000-2004 unpublished arms exports at about $ 1.4b, and US exports at about $25.9b. A 2005 UN arms destruction operation in Congo reported that 17% of them were Chinese made, while the remaining 83% came from other manufacturers. China also disagrees to sell weapons to unrecognized countries. According to Dr. Wilson, on the whole, arms sales have been the least significant factor relative to other instruments of China's statecraft.

On the other hand, Chinese arms supplies may be underestimated, both because part of these weapons come to Africa via indirect ways, or through uncounted exchanges of arms for raw materials, or because Chinese sales numbers are biased downwards. In Liberia, from 2001 to 2003, against a UN weapon embargo, Chinese weapons were purchased by Van Kouwenhoven, from the Netherlands, to supply Charles Taylor's army in exchange for lumber. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe bought $240m of weapons, while Sudan received civil helicopters and planes which were later militarized on site.

Further, Chinese arms are basically low cost items, sold in large quantities for relatively low costs: machetes, low-priced assault rifles like the Type 56, or the QLZ87 grenade launcher
Grenade launcher
A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....

. These items have a far lower value than a single jetfighter or attack helicopter sold by the US but can kill far more people. That is what happened during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, with large quantities of "Made in China" machetes. Those "light weapons", when supplied in large quantities, become a tool of mass destruction.

China's energy policy

China's oil imports by country (2003)
Region Country Share %
Middle East S. Arab. 15.6
Middle East Iran 15
Middle East Oman 11.3
Africa Angola 9
Africa Sudan 7.7
Africa Yemen 5.2
Asia Russia 4.5
Asia Indonesia 4
Asia Malaisia 2.3
Africa Eq. Guinea 2.2
Africa Congo 1.5
Africa Gabon 1.2
Africa Cameroon 1.1
Africa Algérie 0.75
Africa Nigeria 0.6
Africa Egypt 0.3
Miscellanea Others 17.75
Chinese oil imports (%)
with relative change (↑/↓)
1990 2000 2004
Mdl East
39.4 ↑53.5 ↓45.4
Africa
0 ↑23 ↑28.7
Asia pacific
60.6 ↓↓15.1 ↓11.5
other
0 ↑7.2 ↑14.3

As a result of Soviet technology-sharing through the mid 1960s and internal reserves such the Daqing oil field, the PRC became oil sufficient in 1963. Chinese ideology and the US-led embargo, however, isolated the Chinese oil industry from 1950 to 1970 preventing their evolution into powerful multinational companies. Chinese oil exports peaked in 1985, but rapid post-Communist economic reforms and an internal increase in oil demand brought China into an oil deficit, becoming a net oil importer in 1993, and a net crude importer in 1996, a trend which is accelerating. Indeed, Chinese reserves, such as the Tarim basin, have proven both difficult to extract and difficult to transport toward Chinese coastal provinces where energy demand is centered. Pipeline construction, as well as processing facilities, lag behind demand.

Through the end of the 20th century, China has been working to establish long-term energy security
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

. Achieving this goal has required investment in oil and gas fields abroad, diversifying energy resource providers, and incorporating non-traditional energy sources like nuclear, solar and other renewables.

The rapid expansion of overseas activities by China's energy companies has been driven by the needs of both government and the PRC's National Oil Companies (NOC), which have worked in an uncommonly close partnership to increase overseas production of oil and gas. Together, they gained access to projects of strategic importance in African nations like Sudan and Nigeria in the 90's, while leaving smaller opportunities to the companies alone.

Chinese actions in these areas have not always been successful: The 2006 agreement in Rwanda proved unproductive, while Guinean oil technologies were not familiar to Chinese companies. The expansion has also been limited: all together, Chinese oil companies produced 257,000 bd in Africa in 2005—just one third of the leader ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas...

 alone—and just 2% of Africa's total oil reserves.

Moreover, China's arrival on the world oil scene has been perturbing for established players. China has been attacked for its increasingly close relationship with rogue states, such as Sudan and Angola, countries known for their human rights abuses, political censorship, and widespread corruption. China's world image has suffered from the critiques, leading the nation to move to a more diplomatic approach, avoiding crisis areas, such the Niger Delta
Niger Delta
The Niger Delta, the delta of the Niger River in Nigeria, is a densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil...

. Nevertheless, as a consumer country and budding powerhouse, China has little choice in choosing its source of supply.

Chinese access to international oil markets has satisfied the country's immediate thirst. But despite its large coal-based energy system, China is a key part of the vicious cycle which had led to increasing oil prices worldwide—to the disadvantage of all industrialized and oil importing countries, including China itself. In 2006, China imported 47% of its total oil consumption (145 Mt of crude oil). With such high demand, Chinese companies such as Sinopec
Sinopec
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Limited , or Sinopec Limited , is a majority owned subsidiary of state owned company Sinopec Group. Sinopec Limited is listed in Hong Kong and also trades in Shanghai and New York ....

, CNPC, and CNOOC, have looked to Africa for oil.

African natural resource exports

African share of global resources (2005)
Resource Global share
Bauxite
Bauxite
Bauxite is an aluminium ore and is the main source of aluminium. This form of rock consists mostly of the minerals gibbsite Al3, boehmite γ-AlO, and diaspore α-AlO, in a mixture with the two iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite, and small amounts of anatase TiO2...

 
9%
Aluminum  5%
Chromite
Chromite
Chromite is an iron chromium oxide: FeCr2O4. It is an oxide mineral belonging to the spinel group. Magnesium can substitute for iron in variable amounts as it forms a solid solution with magnesiochromite ; substitution of aluminium occurs leading to hercynite .-Occurrence:Chromite is found in...

 
44%
Cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 
57%
Copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 
5%
Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 
21%
Iron ore  4%
Steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 
2%
Lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 
3%
Manganese ore  39%
Zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 
2%
Cement
Cement
In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed...

 
4%
Diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 
46%
Graphite
Graphite
The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω , "to draw/write", for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead . Unlike diamond , graphite is an electrical conductor, a semimetal...

 
2%
Phosphate rock  31%
Coal & Petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 
13%
Uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 
16%


Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world, with 30 million square kilometers of land, and contains a vast quantity of natural resources. This trait, together with the continent's relatively low population density and small manufacturing sector has made Africa a key target for Chinese imports.

Africa ranks first or second in abundance globally for the following minerals: bauxite
Bauxite
Bauxite is an aluminium ore and is the main source of aluminium. This form of rock consists mostly of the minerals gibbsite Al3, boehmite γ-AlO, and diaspore α-AlO, in a mixture with the two iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite, and small amounts of anatase TiO2...

, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

, diamonds, phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 rocks, platinum group metals, vermiculite
Vermiculite
Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat. The expansion process is called exfoliation and it is routinely accomplished in purpose-designed commercial furnaces. Vermiculite is formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite...

, and zirconium
Zirconium
Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40. The name of zirconium is taken from the mineral zircon. Its atomic mass is 91.224. It is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles titanium...

. Many other minerals are also present in high quantities.

Many African countries are highly dependent on such exports. Mineral fuels (coal, petroleum) account for more than 90% of the export earnings for: Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, and Nigeria. Various Minerals account for 80% for Botswana (led by, in order of value, diamond, copper, nickel, soda ash, and gold), Congo (petroleum), Congo (diamond, petroleum, cobalt, and copper), Gabon (petroleum and manganese), Guinea (bauxite, alumina, gold, and diamond), Sierra Leone (diamond), and Sudan (petroleum and gold). Minerals and mineral fuels accounted for more than 50% of the export earnings of Mali (gold), Mauritania (iron ore), Mozambique (aluminum), Namibia (diamond, uranium, gold, and zinc), and Zambia (copper and cobalt).
Key African resources by country (2005)
  • Diamonds: Botswana 35%; Congo 34%; South Africa 17%; Angola, 8%.
  • Gold: South Africa 56%; Ghana, 13%; Tanzania, 10%; and Mali, 8%.
  • Platinum/Palladium: South Africa 97%/96%.
  • Cobalt: DR Congo 83%, Zambia 14%.
  • Uranium: Namibia 46%; Niger 44%; South Africa less than 10%.
  • Bauxite (for Aluminum): Guinea 95%; Gana 5%.
  • Aluminum: South Africa 48%; Mozambique 32%; Egypt 14%.
  • Steel: South Africa 54%; Egypt 32%; Libya 7%; Algeria 6%.
  • Copper (mine/refined): Zambia 65%/77%; South Africa 15%/19%; Congo 13%/0%; Egypt 0%/3%.
  • Coal: South Africa 99%.


Ongoing mining projects of more than $1 billion are taking place in South Africa (platinum, gold), Guinea (bauxite, aluminum), Madagascar (nickel), Mozambique (coal), Congo and Zambia (cobalt, copper), Nigeria and Sudan (crude petroleum), and Senegal (iron).

Oil


Africa produced about 10.7 Mbpd of oil in 2005, 12% of the 84 Mbpd produced worldwide. Around one half of that is produced in north Africa, which has preferential trade agreements with Europe. The sub-Saharan oil producers include by global rank and Mbpd: Nigeria (13th; 2.35Mbpd), Angola (16th; 1.91Mbpd), Sudan (31st; .47Mbpd). Guinea (33rd), Congo (38th), and Chad (45th) also have notable oil output.

In 2005, 35% of exported African oil went to the EU, 32% to the USA, 10% to China, while 1% of African gas goes to other parts of Asia. North African preferentially exporting its oil to western countries : EU 64%; US 18%; all others 18%. 60% of African wood goes to China, where it is manufactured, and then sell across the world.

As of 2007, thanks to good diplomatic relations and recent growth, Africa provides 30% of China's oil needs, with Sudanese's oil account for 10 of these 30 points.

Major projects


Chinese companies have recently increased their activity worldwide. Specifically in Africa, notable cases are:
  • Sudan. In 1997 CNPC's Great Wall Drilling Company agreed to buy a 40% stake in the $1.7 "Greater Nile Petroleom Operating Company", contract renewed and expanded in 2000 ; CNPC owns most of a field in south Darfour and 41% of a field in Melut Basin
    Melut Basin
    The Melut Basin is a rift basin in South Sudan. It is situated in the states of Upper Nile and Jonglei, south of the capital Khartoum and east of the river Nile. The Basin contains several hydrocarbon accumulations, although oil exploration, as elsewhere in Sudan, has been hindered by conflict...

    , expected to produce 300,000 bpd in 2006; Sinopec is erecting a pipeline, building a tanker terminal in Port-Sudan. 60% of Sudan's oil output goes to China; since the 90's, China has invested $15b, mainly in oil infrastructure.

  • Nigeria. In 1998 CNPC bought two oil blocks in the Niger delta; in 2005, four blocks, together with other companies, in exchange for a hydropower plant in Mambila with 1,000 MW capacity and a taking controlling stake in 1,100,000 bpd from the Kaduna refinery; CNOOC has paid $2.7b for a rich oil block.

  • Angola. Proposal for a $5 billion loan for oil-related and structural infrastructcure for post-war rebuilding, to be repaid in oil; Sinopec owns 50% of Angola BP-operated Greater plutonio project.

  • Gabon. In 2004 Feb, China signed a technical evaluation agreement with the Gabonese oil ministry for 3 onshore fields.


Similar or greater projects are taking place in Middle East and Latin America, one Sino-Iranian deal having an estimate value of US$ 70 billions.

Macroeconomic and political strategy


China, once in need of international recognition and now in need of raw materials, has walked carefully and humbly towards Africa. The dynamic evolved into what is now called the "Beijing Consensus", China's "soft" diplomatic policy, entailing a strict respect for African sovereignty and a hands-off approach to internal issues. In short: loans and infrastructure without any political strings about democracy, transparency, or human rights attached.

China's 'non-interference' model gives African leaders more freedom and the opportunity to work for immediate economic development. With China, controversial African leaders face a second or third chance to join in international partnerships this time with a successful third world nation; many of the excuses about Western domination which had previously been used to justify Africa's lack of growth can no longer be made.

To the West, China's approach threatens the promotion of democracy, transparency, liberalism and free trade, engaging instead with authoritarianism, economic development at the expense of civil progress, and strengthened ties between political and economic elites over of broad social change.

The arrival of a new actor in Africa has lead Westerners to review their own strategies as they analyze Chinese actions in Africa. The Western respones may ultimately aid Africa, as think tanks provide strategic analysis on how African elites can get squeeze more out of Chinese investments.

Indeed, it's clearly in the interest of Africa to play one side against the other, and to avoid alliances between China and the West, which might work to decrease raw material prices. Legal power remains in the hands of local African elites, who may or may not decide to enforce laws which would tighten control of resources, or further exploit them. Pursuing democracy and transparency is no longer the sole model; development is, for sure, and as long as African leaders can provide it, their power will be that much assured.

Competition with Taiwan


The Republic of China (ROC)
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, commonly known as Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, is a fierce diplomatic rival of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Following the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

, both claimed to be the legitimate representative of 'China' on the world scene. At that time, the USSR supported the PRC, while the United States backed ROC, which thus held the Chinese UN security council's seat along with its high visibility and veto power. In 1971, after a complex struggle, the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 of the 1960s led the United States to offer the UN security council seat to the PRC, thus excluding ROC-Taiwan from the diplomatic scene.

Many countries followed the US move. Yet Taiwan's strengthening economy in the 1970s and 1980s allowed the country to keep some strongholds across the world, which supported ROC's diplomatic claim to the UN. As the PRC grew in power, Taiwan was only able to keep smaller supporters, mainly in the Pacific islands, Latin America, and Africa.

In the 1990s, the political power-play between Taiwan and China often spurred investment in Africa, with a number of large-scale projects seeking to garner influence and recognition.
Taiwan (ROC) in Africa
Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n countries recognizing the ROC since 1994 since 1995 since 1997 since 1968


Nowadays, the balance of power in terms of African friendship seems to be in favour of the PRC. Taiwanese investments in Africa are about $500 million a year, while Chinese Eximbank alone is approaching $20 billion over 3 years.

Several Senegalese projects were funded by Taiwan in May 2005, as part of a 5-year plan including $120 million. But soon after the bank transfer was completed, Senegal moved to support the PRC, and a "development based on free market and fair bids". Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade is the third and current President of Senegal, in office since 2000. He is also the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Democratic Party and has led the party since it was founded in 1974...

, the president of Senegal also wrote to the ROC's president, saying, "Between countries, there is not friendship, just interests."

The last oil producer allied to Taiwan was Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

. But in April 2006, a PRC-Sudan backed coup d'état attempt
2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt
The 2006 Chadian coup d'état attempt was an attempted coup d'état against Chadian President Idriss Déby that was foiled on the night of March 14, 2006.-Plot:...

 came close to overthrowing the pro-Taiwanese leader, Idriss Deby
Idriss Déby
General Idriss Déby Itno is the President of Chad and the head of the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Déby is of the Bidyat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group. He added "Itno" to his surname in January 2006.-Rise to power:...

. The effort was eventually stopped by French military intervention. Deby first looked for Taiwanese loans to enhance its military strength. Taiwan was unable to provide the $2 billion which had been requested, and Deby switched to recognising the PRC, thus weakening the coup and strengthening himself. Today, four countries in Africa recognize ROC-Taiwan.

'Beijing Consensus'


Westerners and Chinese have different approaches to the African resource market and how to develop it. The Western approach is summarized under the Washington Consensus
Washington Consensus
The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by the economist John Williamson to describe a set of ten relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries...

 in which human rights have been an important factor. The Chinese approach is summarized under the Beijing Consensus
Beijing Consensus
Beijing Consensus is a term that represents an alternative economic development model to the Washington Consensus of market-friendly policies promoted by the IMF, World Bank and U.S. Treasury, often for guiding reform in developing countries...

. In order of importance, Beijing's approach can be summarized as follows:

Non-interference. The PRC offers trade with no strings attached. The Beijing consensus says: "If you are an African country and you have a raw material that China wants, then China will do business with you, no matter what the West thinks of your government or your human rights record." Two countries that stand out as examples of places where Beijing has intimate dealings but where good governance
Good governance
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

 does not exist are Angola and Sudan.

Structural development. China's involvement focuses on developing important infrastructure. Throughout Africa, Chinese companies are busy building hospitals, dams, government offices, and stadiums and refurbishing facilities abandoned by western companies, with the stated objective to improve African productivity. China's newly developed work force can provide large numbers of engineers, technicians, and specialized workers at low cost, something that Western countries cannot or are reluctant to do. This provides China with a competitive advantage over Western competitors. Most importantly, these infrastructure projects are often paid for with African oil.

Friendship and Respect. China has cultivated a dynamic of mutual respect in its foreign relations, respecting the domestic choices which its African partners make. This approach explains their non-interference policy. Primarily, China's presence in Africa focuses on its own needs. Second, Chinese culture strongly encourages respect for both one's leaders and one's followers, emphasizing that respect improves relationships and leads to success. Lastly, Chinese culture sees each individual as responsible for its own fate. Thus, African quality of life is not China's responsibility.

Chinese model of development. China also operates under the influence of its own development history, which first focused on economic development, planning civic development only after. In China's approach, the "Democracy first" model touted by the West is not a universal model, and African countries may follow another path: the Chinese one. Infrastructures first, then economic reform; after which, civic reforms may come.


African integration


Efforts have been made toward stronger economic integration in Africa. In 2002, the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 was formally launched to accelerate socio-economic integration and promote peace, security, and stability on the continent. The New Partnership for Africa's Development
New Partnership for Africa's Development
The New Partnership for Africa's Development is an economic development program of the African Union. NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia...

 (NEPAD) was also created by pro-democracy African states, headed by South Africa. Ian Taylor, an expert of Sino-African relations, wrote, "NEPAD has succeeded in placing the question of Africa’s development on the international table and claims to be a political and economic program aimed at promoting democracy, stability, good governance, human rights and economic development on the continent. Despite its faults, NEPAD is at least Africa-owned and has a certain degree of buy-in."

Taylor concludes: "China’s oil diplomacy threatens to reintroduce practices [such as corruption, human rights abuses] that NEPAD (and the African Union for that matter) are ostensibly seeking to move away from—even though China protests that it fully supports NEPAD" A Chinese-lead Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Forum on China–Africa Cooperation ; ; ) is an official forum between the People's Republic of China and the states in Africa. There have been four summits held to date, with the most recent meeting having occurred from November 8 to 9, 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt...

 has been created, where Chinese and African partners meet every 3 years, both to strengthen alliances, sign contracts, and to make important announcements. The forum also helps African leaders to gain legitimacy in their own countries.

China and the resource shortage hypothesis


Key reasons of China's interest on Africa are to be found in China itself. Chinese economy, industry, energy and society have a special shape. Chinese economy and industry turn toward export markets. These industries and associated works and investment provide the Chinese society the recent two-digit yearly economic growth, job chances, and life standard improvement, but dramatically rely on coal (70%) and oil (25%) sources (for 2003), as well as raw materials. Notable are the frequent electric shortages. A US Congress hearing noticed that energy shortages have already led to rationing of the electric supply, slowing down manufacturing sector and consequently overall economic growth. On other raw materials side, China simply does not have enough natural resources of its own to meet its growing industrial need.
Within the China economic success story, western scholars noticed that China's quest of wealth has once more led coastal provinces to quickly enrich, while inland provinces or rural areas stay relatively poor, an inequality which thus leads to internal social tensions and instability. Recent economic growth helped to stabilize the Chinese society: in times of economic growth, individuals look simply for personal life improvement. Millions of poor farmers and workers work hard and silently in hope of a better lives tomorrow; they want to buy TVs, computers, cellphones, cars, fridges. To keep them happy and stable, China have to stay largely supplied in raw materials - oil, copper, zinc, cobalt - from abroad.

Also, driven by this politico-economic desire to obtain sources of raw materials and energy for China's continuing economic growth and open up new export markets,China is actively looking for African resources of every kind: oil, cobalt, copper, bauxite, uranium, aluminium, manganese, iron ore etc. African resources feed Chinese industries' hunger for minerals and electricity, fuel its economic boom, and thus keep the country's consumers happy and quiet.
For the Communist Party, enough supply of minerals means social stability. Like other power, China needs to supply its industry with raw materials, and its citizen in goods to keep them happy. Out of energy and raw materials shortage, analysts also notice that long-term factors threatening China's growth questions over its innovation capability, corruption and inefficiency, and environmental risks.

Fears of colonialism


After enduring several centuries of European colonization, fears that African means of production and resources are now being taken over by the Chinese government and its industrial companies are often raised by critics of China's economic policy. Acute concerns have been raised about China's involvement in Darfur. And some have argued that China's overtures in Africa have been inspired by an impulse to settle parts of the country; the Chinese government has already sent nearly a million people (POV) to Africa.

As with previous Western involvement in Africa, forging close ties with local elites has been a key strategy for Chinese diplomats and businessmen. It has been noted that when new leaders come to power in Africa, they will "quickly launch a maximum of new projects [with state's money] to get personal commissions immediately, all this is decided in a short time, and we are ready".

In Angola, a country weakened by years of conflict, and now notable for its institutional corruption, China has proposed low-cost loans (1.5%), to be paid back in oil. For the elite of Angola, unlike other investors, China does not insist on transparent accounting or the assurance good governance. The long-term consequences for African democracy may be serious. As noted in a South African newspaper, "China’s no-strings-attached buy-in to major oil producers, such as Angola, will undermine efforts by Western governments to pressure them to open their oil books to public scrutiny."

China also sells arms in order to cement relationships with some African leaders. Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe are examples of countries which receive arms in shipments sometimes labeled as agricultural equipment. Because China doesn't advocate against human rights concerns when dealing with Africa, it will sell military hardware and weapons with little discretion. Meanwhile, Chinese advisors assist their African military counterparts.

Human rights


Cases of human rights abuses have arisen from Chinese-African co-operation. African workers have protested against ill-treatment and poor pay by Chinese companies, as well as the influx of Chinese workers who take away local jobs. In July 2010, hundreds of African workers at a Chinese-owned Zambian mine rioted over low wages.

In the Republic of Congo, Chinese contracts are said to be 30% cheaper than Western ones. African workers, however complain of worsening conditions: Chinese firms hire them on a day-to-day basis, with lower wages than they received from Westerner firms, are insulting or even racist, and enforce strict working conditions. African businessmen have long complained of an increase in Chinese businesses, especially in Senegal. Some Angolans had complained that along with the shipment of machinery and cement, China also imports many of its own nationals to work on these reconstruction projects, leaving little employment for locals, and not allowing for cooperative working relations or the transfer of knowledge and skills.

In the factories of Congo, the Chinese work 12 hours a day, six days a week, maintaining machinery on Sundays. Such high activity is also expected from African workers, sometimes creating tensions between groups.

There are typically two kinds of Chinese organizations operating in Africa: firms transforming African resources in which the bosses, managers, and technicians are Chinese, the workers are African, and the customers are Europeans, Americans, and Japanese; and firms selling to African markets in which the bosses and managers are Chinese, the sellers are Chinese, and the customers are African.

Both types create social tensions, economic conflict with local enterprises, lower short-term employment prospects for Africans, and an apparent ethnic hierarchy within the firms .
In Angola, like elsewhere in Africa, Chinese workers live separately from native Africans, especially in large-scale work led by Chinese enterprises, where 'Chinese camps' are specially built, exaggerating linguistic and cultural difficulties between workers.

Disruption of African manufacturing


One contentious issue is the effect which large amounts of Chinese goods are having on local light manufacturing. While the dominant resource extraction industries are largely benefiting from Chinese capital investment, growing imports from China to many African nations underprice and crowd out local suppliers. Though Chinese imports allow poorer consumers to buy their first refrigerator, T-shirt, suitcases, or microwave ovens, they also hurt nascent local industries in countries trying to end reliance on resource commodities. By one interpretation, Chinese textile imports have caused 80% of Nigerian factories to shut down, resulting in 250,000 workers losing their jobs.

In Zambia, trade minister M. Patel complains: "we [Zambian industries] are simply not competitive in the way we produce goods". In a post Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, WTO-oriented Africa, consumer goods manufacturers never recovered from the first wave of Chinese products. Basic African factories cannot compete with the Chinese in terms of productivity or quality.

"Resource curse" hypothesis


In recent decades researchers have considered a link between the natural resource abundance of a country and adverse consequences for economic growth and government functioning. This trend seems especially common for countries with 'point source' minerals such as mines and oil fields, which create large profits for few people. Compared to agricultural resources, which offer diffuse development requiring large quantities of workers and distributing the benefits more widely, point source minerals have the potential to stifle the socioeconomic development of a nation.

Evidence has been provided by Sachs & Warner, 2001 that establishes:
Taylor notes that China's blind support of the African elite in a resource-abundant country may worsen the 'resource curses', by encouraging elites to tighten their control resources and damage other economic sectors. Such arrangements may be in the short term interest of Beijing, who often want to keep importing low cost raw materials from abroad, and manufacture them in China.

The notion of a “curse” may be misleading, as countries do have choice, and the development of natural resources sector is shaped by a host of government policies. Wright & Czelusta note 6 relevant policy issues:
  1. infrastructure of public knowledge (e.g., geological surveys);
  2. engineering education;
  3. systems of exploration concessions and property rights for mineral resources;
  4. export and import controls;
  5. supporting infrastructure (such as transportation);
  6. targeted taxes or royalties.


Chinese investments focus on infrastructure, the 5th point. The remaining five, however, are largely in the hands of African elites.

African fishermen complain of Chinese industrialised fishing, coming as close as one nautical miles off the coast, depleting fish stocks, and interfering with villagers' fishing nets for whom fishing is the main income source. Western pro-Forest NGO complains of Chinese specific disdain for environment.

Regulatory response


Given current global growth, African leaders are looking to first build up infrastructure, but are also increasingly aware of the need to strengthen native industries and economies. Following their experience with western involvement and the current world dynamic of growing demand for raw materials, African states are attempting to mitigate a possible repeat of exploitation under the Chinese with efforts to encourage local, long term development.

Examples are:
Country Comment
Nigeria Some protectionist laws came into force in 2003 concerning foreign low-cost goods. These laws are being encouraged by some of the Chinese migrant population who also hope to develop local industry.
Senegal Leaders have negotiated an open-door policy from the PRC, which has brought thousands of visas to Senegalese businessmen working in Western China and importing Chinese goods to Senegal. A Chinese company cannot be awarded an infrastructure contract unless it is partnered with a local company, encouraging the transfer of technology and knowledge to African workers.
Republic of Congo Law now requires that 85% of trees from local forests are processed inside the country, even if this is made more difficult because of the space and quantity involved. This idea is also encouraged in other countries
Zambia Chinese demand for copper from Zambia is being met with proposals to require Chinese firms to process the copper in Zambia, rather than elsewhere.

See also

  • Sino-African relations
    Sino-African relations
    Sino-African relations refers to the historical, political, economic, military, social and cultural connections between China and the African continent.Little is known about ancient relations though there is some evidence for early trade operations...

  • Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
    Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
    Forum on China–Africa Cooperation ; ; ) is an official forum between the People's Republic of China and the states in Africa. There have been four summits held to date, with the most recent meeting having occurred from November 8 to 9, 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt...

  • Foreign relations of PRC
    Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China
    The foreign relations of the People's Republic of China guides the way in which it interacts with foreign nations. As a great power and emerging superpower, China's foreign policy and strategic thinking is highly influential. China officially states it "unswervingly pursues an independent foreign...

  • Foreign relations of ROC
    Foreign relations of the Republic of China
    The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan, is recognized by sovereign states. The course of the foreign relations of the ROC is dominated by maintaining diplomatic relations with these countries, as well as unofficial relations with other countries via its de facto embassies and...

  • Economy of the People's Republic of China
    Economy of the People's Republic of China
    The People's Republic of China ranks since 2010 as the world's second largest economy after the United States. It has been the world's fastest-growing major economy, with consistent growth rates of around 10% over the past 30 years. China is also the largest exporter and second largest importer of...

  • Economy of Africa
    Economy of Africa
    The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, and resources of the people of Africa. , approximately 922 million people were living in 54 different countries. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent...

  • Mineral industry of Africa
    Mineral industry of Africa
    The mineral industry of Africa is one of the largest mineral industries in the world. Africa is the second biggest continent, with 30 million km² of land, which implies large quantities of resources. For many African countries, mineral exploration and production constitute significant parts of...


China in Africa (multi-issues papers)