Billboards of elephants, giraffes and sweeping African savannas are covering Beijing high-rises. Police have had holidays canceled to help ease gridlock in the capital. Conference centers are being carpeted with grass.
Beijing is making unusually lavish efforts to welcome leaders and officials from 48 African nations this week for a landmark summit meant to highlight China’s huge and growing role in Africa.
Over the past decade, China has built an outsized presence in Africa, in a diplomatic and economic push that is helping to reshape the geopolitical map. Trade has ballooned by tenfold to US$40 billion last year. Chinese investment has funded roads and been poured into copper mines and oil fields, helping to boost African economies and, for some, standards of living. [Full Text]
– See also a Gurdian article: “Beijing’s race for Africa.”