China in Africa: Invasion or the New Face of Globalization?
After reading about a recent incident off the coast of Cameroon where local fishermen attacked a Chinese fishing trawler, a blogger in Senegal writes:
[...] [T]he Chinese influx is also due to its willingness to trade without asking about people’s democratic and human rights conditions. In addition to that, they are ready to act quickly in areas of direct human interest. Instead of withholding help on the pretext that of waiting for governments to come up with Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers while thousands of women are dying during childbirth, China is direct. They build the hospitals for 10 times less, if not for free. Cameroon has tasted of such Chinese largesse. However, some questions have been troubling Cameroonian if not African thoughts? Is it in exchange of such largesse that Chinese citizens are flooding African countries en masse? Do these acts of goodwill explain the fact that Chinese businessmen are left to do as they please in African countries? [...]
Western governments (for chauvinistic reasons?) have been casting a dark eye on this Sino-African couple. Economists, international relations experts and other intellectuals have been supplying avid readers with material to feast on. Christopher Alden, Daniel Large and Ricardo de Oliveira who are Editors of a recent collection of essays entitled “China Returns to Africa: A Superpower and a Continent Embrace”, even describe “China’s expanding relations with Africa” as “the most important dynamic in the foreign relations and politics of the continent since the end of the cold war.” Now, African elite have also begun questioning the new romance between China and African countries. A friend of mine actually abandoned me in the middle of a radio production training course we were organizing. He was headed to produce a TV documentary which will be questioning whether China’s step into Africa is the new colonisation of the continent or the success of globalisation?