President Xi Jinping is currently on his first overseas trip as China’s leader and the question of the Africa-China relationship is extremely relevant. A recent concern among many Africans is that China is a new colonial power that will over-extract the raw resources from Africa and sell manufactured goods. When in Tanzania, Mr. Xi actually had a speech heavily focused on easing the concerns of Africans:
“China frankly faces up to the new circumstances and new problems in Sino-African relations,” Mr. Xi told an audience of Tanzanian politicians and officials in Dar es Salaam, the country’s economic hub and a center of government, speaking in a conference center built with Chinese loans and support.” (New York Times)
Mr. Xi pledged to help Africa achieve independent and sustainable development. During Mr. Xi’s time in Tanzania “he and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete signed 16 different trade agreements including improvements to Tanzania’s hospitals and ports, and the building of a Chinese cultural centre.” (BBC)
Although the statements and actions of Mr. Xi appear that China will work in favor of a mutually beneficial relationship, it is very likely as industry continues to rise in China, the need for extracting African resources will rise as well. Instead of building up their own industry African nations will be sending their raw materials out, not focusing on domestic development. As emphasized by the chart below, the relationship between China and Africa is growing quickly and it will be interesting to see how it progresses. China still has an extremely rural population and I am unsure if they will be able to take on the task of advancing Africa and China simultaneously.
From New York Times BBC