The new presence of Chinese in Africa
Meine Pieter van Dijk
THE NEW PRESENCE OF CHINA IN AFRICA
China is fast becoming a major player in Sub-Saharan Africa ( Jacoby, 2007: 34). In 2008 it replaced the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) as Africa’s major trading partner.
However, we are not just talking about trade; China’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI ) and development aid are also increasing rapidly; and aid, investments and trade mutually reinforce each other in the case of China (Asche and Schüller, 2008).1
This combined use of aid, investments and trade require political coordination and China has developed a strategy and different policies with respect to Africa, which includes migration to Africa and buying or leasing land for agricultural purposes (Chinese Government, 2008).
There are few systematic overviews of China’s involvement in Africa (for example, Alden et al., eds, 2008; Asche and Schüller, 2008; Broadman, 2006; and Manji and Marks, 2007).
The picture can be drawn on the basis of different sources such as trade statistics from the World Trade Organization (WTO ), the World Bank (2009) and the International Monetary Fund (www.imf.org), statistics on international investments (UNCTAD, 2007) and indicators of development cooperation (OECD, 2009).
These data need to be complemented by case studies and recent case studies are now available and will be used (for example, Kragelund, 2007; Large, 2007; Marysse and Geenen, 2009; and Tegegne, 2006). This allows us to ask a series of questions.
This introductory chapter presents the background of China’s involvement in Africa. China was present in Africa already in the 1950s and the 1960s.
At that time the Chinese leaders supported movements for independence and anti-colonial activities. In the post-colonial era Chairman, Mao Zedong supported socialist regimes in particular. The support for the destruction and now for the reconstruction of the Benguela railroad in Angola is an example of long-term Chinese support to Africa.2
The construction of the TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority) railway line took place in the 1960s. It runs from the Zambian copper mines to the Tanzanian capital and main port Dar-es-Salaam. It was