The beleaguered continent of Africa may finally have an unusual development ally – China. More specifically, investment from Chinese companies has been growing to satisfy the increasing appetite for Chinese goods.
An study by Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) reveals that annual direct Chinese investment in Africa topped $100 million mark in the year 2003 (a 100 fold jump from 1990) and trade between China and Africa has grown to $40 billion (in 2005), and would soon touch $100 billion mark (by 2010). These figures, however, don’t highlight the impact that Chinese investments would have on the continent. With investments flowing in without any political or economic pre-conditions attached, African leaders are more than happy in lapping it up (against Western investment which generally has caveats attached). This could result in job creation and growth in African economies, but close on the heels lurk dangers that China brings. The low-cost products might end a host of local industries. Simultaneously, environmental plundering might resume in the whole of Africa. Though the strategic presence of China is being welcomed in Africa, the dangers and risks are equally worrisome. Africa would do well to screen Chinese investment & interests before it takes things far before getting consumed by it.