China is replacing very fast the old colonial powers in Africa, but the story is mostly ignored by the media, told former New York Times correspondent Howard French last Thursday at the China in Africa of the School of Journalism at Indiana University.
“China is flooding Africa in a way the West has failed to do so,” French said. And by flooding, French means Chinese are pumping billions of dollars into projects in places like Nigeria and Ethiopia, Angola and Sudan. In return for their investment in African development, the Chinese gain access to the rich natural resources abundant in many of those same nations.
That is not only good news, French added, urging the world to pay more attention to the relationship between China and Africa:
Unlike the West, China typically does not attach strings to its development aid. While that means easier access to ready cash for underdeveloped African nations, it also means there’s no incentive for the less development-minded of the continent’s leaders to put that money to good use for their people.
“I hope for the best,” French said. “I really do. No one wants to see Africa, 50 years from now with 2 billion people and in a worse place than it is right now. That would just be a nightmare.”
In his career as a foreign correspondent Howard French has spent time in both Africa, but also China and Japan, able to make connections between both continents, very few others can.