Whether it’s in the form of cheap electronics or funding for infrastructure, China’s presence in Africa is hard to miss, raising concerns among many Western countries and even within Africa, according to a report in How We Made It In Africa.
Some even claim China is Africa’s modern-day colonial master, the report says.
Despite negative perceptions, the relationship between China and Africa is mutually beneficial, says Harvard Professor Calestous Juma.
In 2012, Kenyan street sellers demonstrated to protest alleged takeovers of their trading spaces by Chinese traders. A Chinese manager was killed in a copper mine riot in Zambia. Nigerian central bank governor Lamido Sanusi wrote in the Financial Times that Africa should shed its romantic view of China.
Juma, who teaches at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, spoke about the difference between colonization and business at the recent World Economic Forum on Africa held in Cape Town.
“The rhetoric of China colonizing Africa doesn’t make sense,” Juma said. “Colonizing means taking people’s land, pushing them off and turning them into workers. China (is) investing in Africa and Africa (is) investing in China.”
According to Juma, China came to Africa through an invitation and African governments engage with China out of choice, not force, the report said.
There’s another dimension to Africa’s relationship with China that is rarely talked about, Juma said. While China’s investments in Africa are well documented, Africa’s presence in China is under-reported.
“We have a very strong presence of the private sector from Africa in China. Africans have invested about $10 billion in China in manufacturing, ICT and and pharmaceuticals.”
Read more at How We Made It In Africa.