China’s hunger for raw materials and energy is driving new investment across Africa, with trade between China and the continent up more than 300% since 2000 to more than $40 billion a year. China is the main market for Sudan’s oil. It has invested in Nigerian oil, provided oil-rich Angola with a $2-billion loan with easy terms and improved relations with Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwean regime, which is criticized by economists and human rights activists.
Critics say Chinese environmental and labor standards are often poor. In Ghana, environmentalists have accused Chinese oil company Sinopec of desecrating a national park.
In Zambia, there is a growing backlash over low wages and poor conditions in Chinese operations.
At the NFC Africa copper mine in Chambishi, a Chinese-owned operation in northeastern Zambia, hundreds of workers rioted in late July over reports that the management was reneging on a pay increase. Four were shot and wounded by Chinese employees of the company. Another was shot by police. [Full text]
-For more on China’s hunt for oil in Africa, read this piece from Forbes.