Africa needs China. As in other parts of the developing world, China’s insatiable appetite for natural resources is creating unprecedented demand for commodities, pushing prices to new highs and fuelling economic growth across the continent.
But China’s relations with Africa have stirred a polarised debate from Cape to Cairo. China is either the next big thing, usually in the view of business and some governments. Or it is the red peril, the new coloniser.
These debates should be placed in context, underpinned by the reality of China’s inevitable rise as a superpower and its broader strategy of relations with the developing world.