China’s growing demand for energy sources and profitable construction deals is leading the world’s most populous country increasingly to swoop into Africa, where it has found abundant raw materials, governments desperate for outside investments, and relatively little competition from American firms.
The Chinese, sensing Africa’s tremendous potential upside, are making strategic economic inroads into a continent that, outside of oil investments, has long been written off by most Western companies as too risky because of poor governance or threat of conflict. US companies, in particular, have been caught flat-footed by the Chinese financial strikes, according to American and other experts on Africa’s economic potential.
“China is competing for anything and everything at this stage,” said Dianna Games, a South African political and economic analyst who studies business trends in sub-Saharan Africa. “They know Africa is wide open to them.”