CHINAFRICA: DOES CHINA REPRESENT A THREAT TO ORDER IN AFRICA, OR ITS BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPMENT?
In this new century, China has global ambitions. It aims to reach the rank of superpower, able to compete on all fronts with the United States. Over the past 15 years, it is in this context that China has sought to develop a network of economic relations going far beyond its traditional economic partners. Without complex, it integrates the economies of South America and, of course, Africa.
For fifteen years, the Sino-African relations have evolved considerably. China has opened to a market economy and is experiencing astounding growth that pushes on the one hand to obtain new sources of energy and raw materials, on the other hand to find new markets for sell a large range of products (electronic equipment, medicines, clothing, shoes, foodstuffs, construction). The cement of Sino-African relations seems to be solidarity. Indeed, Beijing is still a developing country, understanding more than other powers the realities of Africa.
The result is that the conditions for assistance are much more flexible and interventions are much more adapted to the needs of African populations. But this kindness from China is also interested by Chinese own needs. The question rises to know whether or not China represents a threat to order in Africa or its best opportunity for development. Is it a kind of neo-colonialism using the weakness of Africa to maintain Chinese economic growth or a real and effective win-win strategy as the Chinese authorities are claiming for?
To answer this issue, it appears first that differences of behaviour between China and the West towards African countries have to be highlighted. In fact, understanding what these differences are, is a first step to understand why Africa is closer and closer to China and why the West looses parts of its former influence on the black continent. Then, it will be possible to emphasise the very fact...