Chinese Investments in Africa

From AllAfrica, Chinese Investments in Nigeria:

(July 3, 2008) In recent times, quite a lot has been said and written about the presence of Chinese investors in Africa . The West is clearly worried not just about the rate of China’s growth within a global context, but also about the movement into Africa. The media in the West have made it their business to air news reports, commission documentaries etc on what they describe as the “Chinese incursion into Africa “. While some may feel that the concern of Europe and America about the large-scale investments is all politically-motivated yet, on a closer look, a few valid questions are raised. One of the pertinent questions is “Is Africa getting a fair deal from the agreements signed with Chinese investors”. […]The Chinese are crawling all over Africa; oil is said to be a big driver of their investment policy hence Nigeria has a fairly sizeable Chinese community within her boundaries. No doubt we need all the foreign investment we can get. Newly released figures from the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) say 3.34 million are unemployed. Chinese investments have the potential to provide much needed jobs, generate employment, creation of wealth and boost economic development. It may be true that they are not here out of any sense of love for us, but hunger for our resources to sustain their own economy and rate of growth. Therefore we need in local parlance to “shine our eyes” and make sure that we as a nation get the best deal from their investment drive. We must demand the best for our communities and shun any processes that are inimical to our development. This however requires a form of patriotism that turns a blind eye towards any personal gain. It requires an eye that sees beyond the immediate minute and instead sees the brighter gains for the generality of the people in the long term. The question is “Is this a realistic sacrifice that we are all willing to undertake”? […]

In a bid to forestall a situation in which wild gesticulations become the means of communication between the Chinese investors and the local populace, the Ogun State Government is exploring avenues to introduce the establishment of a Chinese Language programme at the Tai Solarin University of Education. According to Vice Chancellor, Professor Kayode Oyesiku “work on the curricular for both certificate and degree programmes is nearing completion”.

Some have called for a coherent strategy for dealing with China and that books should be written and studies conducted on China from the Nigerian perspective. One however thinks that the answers may not necessarily be found in the books and studies but more in us as a people. As stakeholders in the Nigerian project we all owe it to our nation to put her interests first and play our part in ensuring as we do not sink under bad policies, unpatriotic deeds etc. manufacturers should be shouting themselves hoarse to make sure that our markets are no longer flooded with products that can be made here. Chinese firms and enterprises must be read the riot act on their business and work ethics and it should be made imperative that whatever partnership they enter into must be beneficial to both parties. If we as a people truly want economic empowerment and growth for our nation then we should demand win-win partnerships from foreign investors.

As far as infrastructure investment is concerned it should be an absolute no-no for Chinese firms to arrive with their own work force, build a project and leave. As they are building up a community with infrastructure they should equally empower its people with skills too.

From Reuters, China expands credit line to Angola

(July 4, 2008) China will provide an additional $135 million in financing to rebuild Angola’s electricity, water and road systems, expanding its stake in the oil-rich African nation, Angola’s state-run ANGOP news agency said on Friday.

Oil-backed credit from the Export-Import Bank of China has allowed Angola to bypass traditional lenders, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, as it rebuilds its infrastructure following a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The exact amount of the Chinese credit is unknown, though it is believed to be between $4 billion and $11 billion.

From The Daily Nation, Kenya Seeks Bigger Slice of Chinese Investment Fund:

(July 5, 2008) The government has stepped up campaigns to woo Chinese investors so as to benefit from the $1 billion (Sh65 billion) China-Africa Development Fund.

The business scope of the fund mainly includes equity and quasi-equity investment, fund investments, fund management, investment management and consulting services.

A technical team from China, whose mission was to establish areas Chinese companies could invest in, concluded a week-long tour in the country on Friday.

In 2006, China’s investment in Kenya stood at $30 million (Sh1.9 billion). “They have declared interest in agriculture, manufacturing, energy, transport, telecommunications as well as oil and gas,” Trade minister, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, told reporters in Nairobi on Friday.

From the Times Online, G8 Summit: Solution to Africa’s Problems No Longer Just a Matter of Aid:

(July 5, 2008) If there is a single factor that has changed the development project in Africa in just a few years, it is China, argues Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, and a frequent critic of the belief that more aid alone is the answer to the continent’s problems. “What’s actually changed Africa are Chinese demands for raw materials,” he said. “That has brought a great deal of infrastructure – refurbishing ports, railways, roads – something Western countries have not done for a couple of decades.”

Some of that building is “on a colonial model”, as he described it – linking “the mine to the coast” – but many other people use the railway or road too. Another recent change often overlooked, he added, is the spread of mobile phones, which have enabled people across the continent more easily to find out prices, and to sell their goods.

But Chinese deals with African governments do more than just build railways. They come without strings – no awkward demands about good governance, of the kind that the World Bank or Western governments try to attach to aid. They may even bring the bonus of China’s help in keeping other countries’ criticism at bay in the UN Security Council, as Zimbabwe and Sudan found until recently. Most of all, it gives African governments a sense of an alternative suitor in any deals with the West.

From The Belfast Telegraph, Africa – The Picture Isn’t Always Black:

(July 4, 2008) China’s trade and investment in Africa has exceeded expectations and, while it is going after — some would argue plundering — much-needed minerals and raw materials, it is leaving in its wake a well-defined infrastructure.

The Chinese Export-Import Bank is now the largest lending institution to African countries and is set to surpass the World Bank and the African Development Bank combined in the next three years with some $20bn in infrastructure loans to Ethiopia, Angola and Nigeria.

Africa has oil and the commodity, for the obvious reasons, is being increasingly sought after. The US has declared interests and China now sources 25% of its growing demand for oil from Africa — much of it from Sudan.