Thomas (Special correspondent)
Africa is known for its mineral riches,resources and heritage.Yet, the ‘Mother continent’ remained barren land for 1.3 billion people.
There wasn’t a favorable business ecosystem. Logistics and trade supply was a nightmare for those who went into business.For long,suitable infrastructure remained an unlikely dream for Africans.
That’s when a friend from Eastern Asia made an offer in the form of investment and loans. Many nations couldn’t refuse it.
This friend,China,invaded the land,not to uplift, but to exploit the resources and establish autonomy in oil export and infrastructure development.
There are major infra projects underway in Africa. Sino-imperialism is transforming China’s treasury. Will these projects serve Africa’s development interests in the long run? .
They Came,They Saw,They Conquered
Not like how Julius Caesar did.China’s interest in Africa is backed by well-defined strategies.
So far, they have made a Foreign Direct Investment of USD 110 billion for various projects in different countries.
The relationship,however,dates back to the 15th century.The World Economic Forum reported that from the mid-1990s until the financial crisis of 2008, China’s extraordinary demand for commodities,oil in particular –generated a boom time for many of Africa’s resource-rich countries.
The 21st-century invasion has notable merits. China already has the upper hand in export of oils and minerals. They are capturing Africa’s fast-growing consumer market.
Telecom major Huawei is already in the move to expand its cyber footprint across the continent. The next superpower also has an eye in the booming Datacenter market.
The infrastructure projects across the continent are an economic booster for Africa. The Modern terminal at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport funded by the export-import bank of China is a noteworthy initiative in modernizing international transit.
50km superhighway connecting Nairobi and Thika is bolstering the trade transportation in Kenya. Interestingly this is said to be the first of its kind highway in the country.
Karuma Dam, a flagship USD 1.7 billion hydropower project in Uganda is to be completed by 2020. Exim Bank has an 85% in the project spearheaded by Sinohydro Corporation. China already has plans to construct industrial parks in Uganda while many projects are underway across the continent.
Green New Deal,AdCFTA and Policy Influence
African leaders supported China’s entry as they saw this as an opportunity to create employment, build better infrastructure including, hospitals and educational institutions and bring the continent above poverty line.
Angola and Gabon along with other countries sell more than a quarter of their national exports to China. Their renewable energy potential is said to be boosted by the Green New Deal.
The deal is China’s attempt to provide a new face to its sustainability choices in development. Or at least portray that the new projects are in sync with pro-climate actions.
The ambitious Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND), headed by Chinese business tycoon Wang Jing, was criticized for environmental impacts.
Interestingly,China has positioned itself to influence policy decisions in the continent. New developments in African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) give an upper hand to Chinese investments and trade in the region.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) combining, Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, is a game-changer. Under AfCFTA,Chinese investors are given incentives to support the infra projects in the continent.
Amid all the buzz on infra and digital transformation, the global economy closely monitors China’s imperialist interest in Africa.
Sino-imperialism is known for its strategic capture of people, their tradition, wealth and assets.
Can the ‘Mother Continent’ survive the exploitation? .