” I think arguments that China’s involvement in Africa is a form of neo-colonialism are both simplistic and prejudiced, but there also plenty of people looking at Chinese economic and political ties to Africa through rose-tinted glasses,” tells China and Africa watcher Jeremy Goldkorn in ChinaFile on whether China can transform Africa.
The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “China shops”—small stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenware—that have become ubiquitous in Southern Africa, to oil, infrastructure and mining projects across the continent, China’s government, private and state companies, and individual Chinese immigrants are changing the continent that the west gave up on sometime in the 1990s.
There are both very positive and negative aspects to the Chinese presence in Africa. I think arguments that China’s involvement in Africa is a form of neo-colonialism are both simplistic and prejudiced, but there also plenty of people looking at Chinese economic and political ties to Africa through rose-tinted glasses. It is certainly refreshing for African countries to deal with an enthusiastic new global player with deep pockets and little interest in pushing and ideology. It is up to African political and business leaders to make sure that their own countries do not get a raw deal.
China’s inroads into Africa is a complicated story. The China Weekly Hangout discussed the position of China’s media in Africa on early March 2013 with Discussion with veteran journalists Eric Olander of the China Africa Project, and Lara Farrar, previously working for both the China Daily and CNN. Moderation by Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau.
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