China is currently promoting new economic ties with many African nations. This development is playing a significant role towards supporting the economy of China. Many western countries used to trade with African throughout the 20th century. This new development has encouraged China to improve its presence in Africa. Some African countries accuse the west for promoting unfair trade practices. Such malpractices include “uneven bilateral agreements and low prices for agricultural products” (Zafar, 2007, p. 118). This essay describes the benefits and disadvantages of the current relationship between China and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The implications of China in Sub-Saharan Africa
According to Foster, Butterfield, Chen, and Pushak (2008), China has reshaped the economy of the world. China is searching for different minerals and resources for its industries. This goal “has forced China to focus on different Sub-Saharan countries” (Zafar, 2007, p. 124). Trade activities between Africa and China have been on the rise. For instance, trade between Africa and China stood at $50 billion in 2006. Many Chinese companies import oil from countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, and Angola. China imports timber from different countries in Central Africa. China is also the leading consumer of Zambia’s copper. This development has made encouraged many African countries to export their products to China (Nal, 2013). This fact describes how these two regions are benefiting from one another.
China is using new measures to retain its presence in Africa. For instance, the country’s “support is playing a major role towards improving the economy of Africa” (Foster et al., 2008, p. 2). The country is also building new infrastructures in order to promote Africa’s economy. The country’s presence in Africa is also providing job opportunities to many Africans. Some African governments “have received donations in form of vehicles, infrastructures, and medical equipments” (Zafar, 2007, p. 126). This practice has made it easier for Africa to deal with its challenges such as poverty and inequality. Some countries such as the United States and France are also improving their presence in Africa. Such countries are working hard in order to compete with China.
China is the leading consumer of many African exports. On the other hand, China exports low-cost textiles and electronics to different African nations. This development has encouraged more people to purchase Chinese products and goods. According to Nal (2013, p. 12), “most of these goods are threatening every local manufacturer”. Many consumers cannot purchase locally produced textiles because they are usually expensive. This fact explains why the region might take longer before addressing its economic issues.
China is also making it impossible for Africa to have good governance. China does not offer the best suggestions towards better political practices (Zafar, 2007). The “current wave of commodity boom is affecting the strength of different African industries” (Foster et al., 2008, p. 5). Nal (2013) also believes that China is giving many African countries a raw deal. Such countries are losing their resources to China. Africa can use such resources to support its industrial strength.
Economists describe the Chinese as the best opportunists. The Chinese are extracting many natural resources from every African country. They have seen new opportunities in these nations. On the other hand, China is doing very little to deal with corruption, instability, inequality, and chaos in these countries (Zafar, 2007). Africa believes that China is the best partner because it can support its economic needs. In conclusion, “China presents both threats and opportunities for many African nations” (Nal, 2013, p. 17).
Foster, V., Butterfield, W., Chen, C., & Pushak, N. (2008). China’s Emerging Role in Africa. Web.
Nal, A. (2013). China and Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Development: A Multi-polar Specification. Social Science Research Network, 1(1), 1-18.
Zafar, A. (2007). The Growing Relationship between China and Sub-Saharan Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 22(1), 103-130.