Foreign Policy Report
Topic : Chinafrica
In nowadays society, global demand for energy keeps on rising.
In this competition to get long-term energy supplies,
major players such as United States, Japan and European Union have found a new challenger: China.
Since China’s rapid growth is about 9% per year, it has to find the necessary supplier to its demand in order tosustain its economic growth.
Hence, China turned to Africa.
First of all, why Africa?
Africa, which is composed of the poorest countries in the world, which did not get out of poverty even though with the help of many organisations and an enormous amount of money since so many years, which also has one of the highest mortality rate in the world, so with all these reasons quoted above, whyChina chose Africa?
Undoubtedly, Africa is the continent with the most resources and raw materials on earth. China, a growing developing country which requires massive energy to keep going its growth, met Africa, which was craving so much for infrastructures and investment. This situation looks like a win-win situation.
Recently, the term of “Chinafrica” became more and more popular,especially because China’s presence in the African continent is more important than ever. This term is the title of a book written by Serge Michel and Michel Beuret, which aim is to make a parallel with the term “Francafrique” (“Francafrica”), used for French’s colonisation.
With no doubt, China and Africa’s partnership has brought a lot of success to both of them. In ten years, China has done morefor Africa than other western countries.
Since China is the second largest consumer of oil, China is mainly interested in oil (Angola, Sudan, Congo are the main oil suppliers), but also in diamond and copper. As a result of this flourishing relationship, China became the second trading partner of Africa, just right after US and before Great Britain and France.
African countries also prefer todeal with China than other western countries, mostly because China doesn’t care about Africa’s politic. China puts the emphasis on “the basis of the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non interference in each other’s internal affair” (China’s foreign affairs website), but also win-win cooperation, economic development, as well as supporting each other in global issues duringinternational meetings at the UN for instance.
China provides investment and preferential loans to Africa, but also sent a lot of doctors, built hospitals, schools and infrastructures. China invests in mining, energy and agriculture, those investments accounted for more than 600 millions of US dollars at the end of 2004. Thanks to this, Africa had 5,8% of economic growth in 2007, its highesteconomic growth ever.
This situation helped a lot of African countries but contributed the most to Sudan. Because of the Sudan’s civil war in the 80’s, international companies had to leave but only china stayed and built a huge pipeline in Port Sudan, which makes Khartoum experiencing an economic boom right now. As a result, from 2000 to 2007, trade between China and Africa jumped from 10 billions USdollars to 70 billion US dollars.
Those numbers are quite impressive, so why China succeeded where Western countries failed?
The main reason is, even if China is promoting the idea of friendship and mutual comprehension between them and Africa, China will not try to intervene in the political affairs, nor in the cultural aspect. China clearly defines its main is to make business with Africa.On the other hand, organizations like the IMF, which is lending money to those African countries, often make loans with some conditions: African countries have to bring down tariffs, loosen government regulation and privatize state enterprises. Those conditions only please to western countries, at the expense of African countries which are just becoming poorer and poorer instead of improving...
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