China has profited for decades off of exporting their goods to strong consumer economies in Europe and the United States. Due to the current financial crisis however, China is fervently searching for new markets to export their goods. In addition to their new plans to increase trade with South American countries, China has also been developing a foothold across the African continent. BBC reports on China’s strategy and the growing concerns of neo-colonialism:
China is certainly a real force in Africa. Just look at the clutch of presidents and the officials from many more parts of Africa who have made the long trek to Beijing this week for the China-Africa Co-operation Forum.
But China is extremely sensitive to the charge it’s a neo-colonialist power and is trying hard to refute it.
“Africa’s exports of crude oil, minerals, steel and agricultural products have played an active role in lifting the Chinese people’s livelihood. Meanwhile, the continent also serves as an indispensable market with great potential for Chinese products,” it explained.
“China also provides Africa with much-needed products and technologies, and a vast market for its commodities,” said Xinhua. “What’s more, Beijing focused on helping build the continent’s productive capacity by improving its infrastructure and boosting the manufacturing sector, rather than involving the so-called “resource-grabbing practice”.
President Hu Jintao picked up the theme at the forum, repeatedly calling this “a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership”.
He, too, had a barrage of facts to show China is bringing benefits to Africa. “China has built over 100 schools, 30 hospitals, 30 anti-malaria centres and 20 agricultural technology demonstration centres in Africa. It has met the pledge of providing $15bn [£9.58bn] of lending of a preferential nature to Africa….China has trained close to 40,000 African personnel…and provided over 20,000 government scholarships” said China’s president.
At the forum itself, China has promised $20bn of new loans, reduced tariffs on African imports and help for Africa’s development. All of this is designed to show that China is different from colonial powers.