China in Africa

23 May

There was a time during the past decade when African nations were very keen on investment from China. Now, though the trade and investment has continued to grow, some of this keenness has turned into skepticism. Africans have become more aware of the negative aspects as well as positive and have become more vocal, to the point where patronizing warnings from Western countries like the US are not really needed. These negative aspects include not heeding local laws and regulations, especially concerning the environment, using Chinese labor instead of locals, doing official and business deals that involve bribes and little transparency, and engaging in projects that don’t really benefit the local people and leave countries heavily indebted. This isn’t to say that Western corporations aren’t guilty of some of the same things as well in their dealings in Africa.

Just at the beginning of May, China’s premier made a 4-nation visit to Africa where he announced $12 billion in aid for African countries. ChinaFile discussed how China is doing, noting that while it’s doing good in terms of business, surging to over $200 billion in 2013, winning the “hearts and imaginations” of normal Africans is another. Also, some African governments are able to strengthen and enrich themselves greatly from their relationships with China; not surprising given China has no qualms about the leaders of nations it does business with.

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