African History Term Papers Example
Relations between Africa and China
China is seriously interested in developing relations with African states. More than 50 countries of the African continent are involved in this partnership. The African direction is considered as a priority vector of China's foreign policy. Each party has great expectations connected with another. Meanwhile, with the expansion of cooperation new problems arise.
Experts estimate that China provides at least a half of the economic growth of the African continent. This long relationship among China and Africa is based on the economic benefits. Africa offers China energy resources and political support, and China pays capital, technology and expertise in the field of economic development.
Observers point out that the Chinese government encourages large national companies and financial institutions to participate in implementation of cooperation programs. The volume of payments in RMB between China and African countries has reached 4.3 billion. This shows the great opportunities of cooperation in trade and finance.
Within the last 3 years, the Chinese government has taken serious steps in promoting African development, improvement in the labor market, expanding strategic cooperation. In 2009, the Chinese government allowed a credit for $ 10 billion for African states on preferential terms. In 2010, the volume of trade between China and Africa reached a record level of $ 166.3 billion - an increase by 83 percent in comparison with 2009. During the same period, the volume of Chinese investments grew by 60 percent - up to 14.7 billion dollars (International Business Times).
Cooperation in the field of mining and industrial construction is actively developing. Such sectors as agriculture, aviation, tourism and financial sector have great prospects for development. In Africa, China operates through numerous private and public companies, which on the one hand, contribute to economic growth of Africa, and on the other - cause fierce competition for market share, often displacing local producers. For this reason, China's actions in Africa are often called “economic expansion”.
In the 1990s, a key goal for China in Africa was to gain access to the mineral resources of the continent. Then, through the issuance of preferential loans, Beijing quickly established friendly relations with many African political regimes that Western society considered dictatorial and tried to isolate. China made no political demands to the African leaders, who instead gave Chinese national companies exclusive rights to develop the hydrocarbon and mineral resources in those areas, where Western companies were not allowed to work.
China desperately needs energy resources. For this reason, Chinese government quickly enters into relations with those African countries, where large reserves of oil and gas have been recently found. As a result, strategic partners of China in Africa are Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, Gabon and Algeria. China, through its state companies, has invested about $20 billion in oil production of Sudan over the last 15 years.
Another important partner for China is Angola. In March 2004, two countries signed an agreement, under which China provided a loan of $2 billion. In 2007, Angola got another $2 billion. It is noteworthy that Angola is giving back these Chinese loans not in dollars, but providing China with oil. According to the agreement, Chinese contractors do all infrastructure works. Such a scheme got the name “The Angolan formula” (Jinyan).
In 2007, China applied the same scheme in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two countries signed a contract, under which China invested $9.5 billion in the construction of infrastructure facilities. In return, Congo agreed to supply China with 10 million tons of copper and 600 thousand tons of cobalt. Furthermore, China has need for gold, diamonds, chromium, manganese, uranium, bauxite, wood and many other raw materials.
Problems in economic relations
The most part of Chinese export to African countries consists of cheap garments, fabrics and consumer goods. However, not all African countries are satisfied with the intensification of China's economic and political expansion (French). The natives in Liberia, Cameroon, Mozambique and Namibia complain about deforestation carried out for Chinese furniture industry.
Zambian businessmen have faced a strong competition from the direction of Chinese companies. Negative public opinion in this country is so strong that the removal of Chinese entrepreneurs became a major issue in the presidential election in September 2006. Then, the president Levy Mwanawasa (oriented toward Beijing) with a great difficulty won over Michael Satu, who built his campaign on criticism of Chinese expansion.
The South Africa is the most dissatisfied African country. In 2006, the country's leader Thabo Mbeki supported by national trade unions began criticizing China. He warned about “the risk of a colonial relationship with China”. President Mbeki explained that when Africa imported Chinese manufactured goods, the African countries “could be condemned to underdevelopment”. According to his words, in this way Africa could repeat its colonial past, this time with China (BBC News).
China generously gives loans and investments to soften the position of many African leaders. In 1995, China's trade with Africa reached $6 billion. In 2010, it exceeded $130 billion. Furthermore, since 2000, China has written off multimillion African debts. And since 2006 China has been providing an opportunity to African producers to import some products to China duty free.
In the 2000s, China's cooperation with African countries went up to the new level. Hu Jintao became a Chinese leader in 2003, and relations with Africa have become one of the unspoken priorities of Chinese foreign policy. Penetration to Africa is a part of a large strategy to transform China into a country with global influence. With the help of significant investments, China involves African countries in its political orbit. Direct access to the natural resources of Africa allows Beijing to strengthen its military and economic potential. In Africa, China got a new volume market for its rapidly developing industry.
Beijing has been systematically changing its tactics of penetration in Africa. Instead of concessional loans, China started providing targeted loans for the construction of infrastructure facilities. Beijing's new economic policy in Africa is beneficial for African leaders, because they represent new construction as their personal merit and support their own popularity absolutely free (French). At the same time, local residents have the opportunity to earn money on construction sites, getting a little extra income. Also, Chinese government gives young Africans scholarships to study at Chinese universities.
However, China benefits the most from this policy. Firstly, Beijing gets access to African mineral resources. Secondly, China’s only requirement to African leaders is to pass all the contracts to Chinese companies. In practice, this means additional growth of the Chinese economy. Africans themselves become helpless spectators in their own home countries. Thirdly, such economic policy allows China to introduce itself as a “kind guardian”, who seeks to improve the lives of ordinary Africans. Finally, a new tactic chosen by China in Africa, allows employing millions of Chinese who lost their jobs at home.
In other words, nowadays Africa for China plays almost the same role as Australia and North American colonies for Great Britain in XVII-XIX centuries. This policy seems particularly relevant during the global economic crisis, when many companies closed because of decline in demand for their goods. Thanks to the new initiatives of the Chinese government, millions of Chinese colonists would settle new territories. And this should reduce social tensions in China itself.
“China's Yuan Internationalization: Africa Eyeing Dim Sum Bond Market.” International Business Times. 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
French, Howard. “Into Africa: China’s Wild Rush.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 May 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.
Jinyan, Zhou. “Neither ‘Land Grab’ nor ‘Friendship Farm:’ Chinese Agricultural Engagement in Angola.” China Africa Research Initiative. 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.
“Mbeki Warns on China-Africa Ties.” BBC News. BBC, 14 Dec. 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.