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by R. Asmerom

Much has been made about China’s involvement in sub-Saharan Africa. Some call it a new phase of colonialism for the continent and others cite it as a much needed economic injection into territories starving for opportunities.

Whatever the case, China wants the world to know that its “massive grab” for African resources is not totally selfish. Recently, according to Fast Company, the Information Office of the State Council issued a white paper to tout the mutually beneficial relationship between China, the country, and Africa, the continent. Amidst worldwide criticism of China’s intensive efforts to exploit the continents resources, including oil in Nigeria, it seems apparent that the country is looking to calm accusations of an inequitable relationship. As it stands today, the second largest world economy has a lot invested in Africa. Whether the involvement is a plus for Africans, or a negative presence, depends on the standards by which the investments are measured.

“The positive side of the China-Africa relationship is that China offers another source of investment and is an important purchaser of African raw materials, especially oil and minerals, that Africa needs to sell to someone, said David Shinn, an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs of George Washington University. “These arrangements are, in my view, win-win-win arrangements. The Africans get needed infrastructure but Chinese companies build the projects with money provided by Chinese banks that is paid back by the African country usually in the form of oil or minerals.”

Is it fair to say that some business is better than no business? The Africa we see today, mired in conflict and poverty, is a manifestation of the centuries of colonialism, exploitation and faulty aid relationships with the IMF and World Bank.

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