Below is how LinkedIn captured my comments regarding the growing interest of China in Africa. It was part of LinkedIn’s annual look for 2019, termed #BigIdeas2019.
China’s growing investment and presence in Africa over the last several years is undeniable; Xi Jinping just committed another $60 billion to African investment only three years after a similar pledge. “African countries are now fully aware of the huge infrastructure gap they have,” in the $70 billion to $120 billion a year range, and have welcomed Chinese money, says Stephen Yeboah, founder of Commodity Monitor.
Meanwhile, China needs arable land to feed its population and raw materials — cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, copper from Zambia, bauxite from Ghana — to feed its industry. In 2019, public opinion will look at those deals closely, demanding fair terms and quality infrastructure, Yeboah says. Zambia’s loans were so mismanaged it can’t even tell how much it owes, he points out, while countries like Rwanda or Ghana have been able to drive a harder bargain.
“Ultimately, each country is sovereign,” he says. “It’s up to African leaders to decide whether they let the Chinese call the shots.”
What do you think are the issues that will define the Sino-Africa relations in 2019? I will be glad to learn from you.
Photo source: Aljazeera Centre for Studies.