Chinese investments and influence in Africa increase as the government ties state aid to investment projects and is willing to sell arms to countries like Zimbabwe. Some African leaders credit China for being willing to invest where the West will not out of human rights concerns.
Johannesburg, South Africa
The global economic crisis may have forced other nations to put their African investments on hold, but not China.
This week, the Nigerian government announced that China would double its current direct investment from a total of $3 billion to $6 billion, most of that in Nigeria's oil sector. Last week, the government of Guinea – where a coup brought a military captain to power last December – announced that a Chinese firm planned to invest $7 billion in oil and mining infrastructure in return for preferential treatment in all mining projects in Guinea.
China's increasing investment in Africa has raised concerns among human rights activists and others who warn that Chinese money props up regimes such as those in Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo who are either undemocratic, corrupt, or carry out mass-scale human rights crimes, or combinations of the above. Yet many African leaders applaud Chinese investment, saying that they create jobs, infrastructure, and business opportunities in African countries where Western companies fear to tread.
"Huge Chinese investment in African companies and infrastructure is helping Africa develop. The Chinese bring what Africa needs: investment and money for governments and companies," Rwandan President Paul Kagame told reporters for the German business daily Handelsblatt earlier in October. "European and American involvement has not brought Africa forward," President Kagame added, complaining of trade barriers erected by the West.