The Rise of China in Africa: arguments for and against

March 22, 2021 1247 views 3 minutes reading time
The Rise of China in Africa: arguments for and against
For the Rise of China in AfricaAgainst the Rise of China in Africa
1. Development for Africa

Over the last two years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has projected an increase in foreign direct investment in Africa. This economic growth has been forecasted due to the rise in economic investment by power house China. China’s investment drive into the continent is mostly geared towards road, rail and port infrastructure.  

1. Over reliance on debt

China is Africa’s largest creditor with African governments owing an estimated $150bn. More than 20% of Africa’s debt is owed to China and the International Monetary Fund has cautioned against a probable debt crisis. Western countries have also raised alarm over this increased borrowing, citing Chinese loans as a tool to ensure the expansion of its global influence.
2. Non-interference on foreign policy           

Most African governments have welcomed the non-interference policy by the Chinese government. China does not meddle in the affairs of a nation despite the amount of investment being channeled, unlike Western countries which force governments to abide by its development policies while imposing checks and balances for human rights violations and democratic reforms. For instance, China has invested over $30bn in South Sudan at a time when Western countries have placed economic sanctions on the country due to atrocities committed in Darfur.

2. Investments are directed to natural-resource rich and poorly governed countries

China is expected to increase its imports of oil in the near future and overtake the United States as the single largest importer of oil worldwide. It is due to such forecasts that China has eyed oil-rich countries like Angola, Nigeria and Sudan. In line with its economic and geo-strategic interests, China has shown an inclination to invest in countries that are rich in natural resources and have to poor governance structures.
3. The alternative partner

Inter-trade between China and Africa is significantly rising and as such, there is an increased presence of the Chinese investors in Africa and vice versa. Consequently, there has been an increase in the direct relationship between African traders and Chinese manufacturers. China is currently investing more in its military operations and presence in the continent, which has upset the Western world in trade negotiations as well as the political arena.

3. Substandard Chinese goods infiltrate Africa
China is a heavy consumer of most of the world’s raw materials. It has therefore strategically positioned itself as a key trade partner for African countries to ensure it does not fall short when it comes to supply. Over the years, the export market has become critical as well. China has to find consumers for the products it produces. Critics say that Chinese goods always manage to find their way to the African market, killing local manufacturing industries.

Image by GovernmentZA via Flickr