Is China’s Investment in Africa an example of Neo-Colonialism or is it an example of South-South Development? China has been significantly involved in the development of African countries in recent years, with an estimated 1 million Chinese people now residing in Africa. Trade between China and Africa was worth in excess of $100 billion in 2010, which shows how important the relationship between the two areas has become. However, there are questions surrounding whether China is merely using Africa for its own benefits rather than investing in development of the poorest continent in the world.
Angola Angola is China’s largest trading partner with a trade value of $24. 8 billion in 2010. Angola is a country with vast oil reserves and is now China’s largest supplier of oil shipping one million barrels every day. This supply has caused many Chinese TNCs to setup operations in Angola. These TNCs have brought with them their own Chinese workers due to their reputation for a high level of speed and efficiency in their work. These workers earn what would be a huge wage for Angolans (? 20 per day).
They return this money back to China meaning that income is lost from Angola and also there is a reduction in employment opportunities for Angolan workers, which doesn’t help to improve the high unemployment situation. However, many Angolans think Chinese investment is a massive positive due to the new infrastructure, goods and services that will be available for the public to purchase. The Chinese are helping to reconstruct a main railway line that runs through a large part of Africa. This has allowed small business people to sell their goods all across Africa.
The effect of this is an increase in consumption for the economies as trade is vigorous and this could cause an increase in economic growth if trading continues and also grows. Locals think that Chinese have done a good job on the railways as they are making more money (increase in standard of living) However, the railway is heavily linked with oil. China only provides loans and cheap finance (used to pay for railway) with Angola in return for the oil. So they’re not necessarily just developing a nation, they want to gain themselves in return.
Oil is a key commodity needed for production, which is largely what China’s economy is made up of. Chinese construction companies also receive lucrative contracts, so income again is flowing back to China. So from this, we cans see that China has a neo-colonialism style relationship with Angola, but also has helped improve the standard of living for their people. Zambia Zambia has also experienced interest from China. Tourism is one of Zambia’s most important industries due to its scenery, weather and animal diversity.
The Chinese tourist sector is growing massively, and will be essential for nations like Zambia in the future. However, factors of Chinese culture mean that Zambian wildlife is being threatened. Increasing numbers of elephants have been killed for their ivory, even though the international trade of it is illegal. But, its price on the black market has been soaring. Ivory is being made into chopsticks in China once it is exported. Also, many Zambian traders resent the Chinese competition. Zambians have lost a lot of income to Chinese sellers, and indigenous industries could be crushed by Chinese competition.
Chinese sellers have also treated their workers terribly. Zambia has one of the largest supplies of copper in the world, and the Chinese Metal Ferrous Group now owns the mine. This is an example of exploitation of resources as they will export it back to China, and Zambia loses a great opportunity to generate large quantities of income. This an example of the Chinese taking as much as possible and giving little back to the local economy. This shows that China has had a completely negative impact on Zambia as a nation, and is a clear example of how neo-colonialism still can exist.
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe has experienced terrible economic problems recently. It has been hit with the second highest inflation rate ever recorded due to hyperinflation and the rapid decrease in value of their currency. It has been run for 30 years by Robert Mugabe. Western governments have imposed countless sanctions for his regime’s terrible record on human rights. However, China has supported Mugabe on the international stage and the Chinese government has opposed sanctions. Therefore, China is making life easy for Mugabe to continue to abuse human rights laws.
Here again shows how China has had now positive impact on Zimbabwe, and they have decreased the standard of living for its people as Mugabe’s reign continues. The Democratic Republic of Congo The DRC has a vast reserve of copper, diamonds, cobalt and other rare metals. It is very important to China has their top import it valuable minerals with a trade value of $50. 6 billion, way above its second largest import of metal ($6. 5 billion). 90% of Katanga’s minerals go to China as miners sell their minerals to Chinese traders based in Congo.
The miners say that the Chinese are effectively ‘stealing from them’ as the price they pay is so low for these valuable materials. Allegations have also been raised that local workers have been abused. China’s activity in the DRC is a typical example of neo-colonialism as they are exploiting miners and buying at such low prices it feels like they are being stolen from. Tanzania Tanzania is one of China’s oldest trading partners. One of the largest railways in the world, The Tazara Railway was built by Chinese workers in Tanzania, and is a symbol of pride for the country. China also gives Tanzania significant aid and financial support.
This is one of the only examples that really shows how China are interested in developing an African nation and aren’t exploiting the country’s natural resources for their own gain. Conclusion In conclusion, China is involved in both neo-colonialism and development in African nations. However, I think that they have a greater influence using a neo-colonialist style of interest. They have exploited many nations in Africa, so it is clear that they are trying to benefit their own nation and further increase their impressive rate of growth with cheaper resources for their thriving productive industry.
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