Chinese in Africa / by kevin murray

When I read about the truly massive Chinese investments into Africa, I wonder as to whether this is the new version of the colonization of Africa, or outright cronyism between China and oppressive dictators, or perhaps a lustful drive for the precious minerals and resources that Africa has in its possession.  China and Africa have historically not been trading partners, typically do not interbreed with each other, and when living together in the same country they are by design segregated from one another.


The United States has double the GDP of any other country in the world, and also has a long-standing, meaningful, and historic interest in Africa, but according to CNNMoney trade between China and Africa: "… hit $198.5 billion in 2012. By comparison, U.S.-Africa trade volume was $108.9 billon, and is slated to fall further behind: Research from Standard Chartered estimates that trade between China and Africa will hit $385 billion by 2015."  Africa is truly the final frontier in regards to growth, youthful population, and potential.  It is a continent that has abundant natural resources including: oil, gold, silver, and other precious metals.  While all Africa's resources have their importance, it's most vital natural resource to foreigners is oil.  The Chinese are there for a lot of reasons such as agriculture, mining, industrialization, but their most important and most urgent need is oil.


The United States was the #1 oil importer in the world, but its importation and consumption has been declining since 2005, while its production of oil has been increasing.  While China's production of oil has increased since 2005, this production has been falling far short of its consumption increase and therefore China's importation of oil has been growing and will continue to grow because China is a rapidly maturing nation developing at a high single-digit growth rate.  According to ABC news: "Chinese oil consumption outstripped production by 6.3 million barrels per day, which indicates the country had to import that much to fill the gap, the Energy Information Administration said this week."China's steady growth in oil demand has led it to become the world's largest net oil importer, exceeding the United States in September 2013,'" the agency said in a report."


There is little doubt that oil, the access to oil, and the extraction of oil is the economic engine of growth and often of war.  While China may have many good reasons for being in Africa and may be doing many good things for African nations, the Chinese are there primarily to get access to oil and to a lesser extent other precious minerals and assorted trading activities. You could probably say that China is in Africa because it's good for China.  Further, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2010 China: "…imported 1.5 million barrels per day, or 30 percent" from Africa.


Whereas in America our President is African-American, and there are African-Americans in other high profile political offices, as well as there are African-Americans in executive offices at our largest and most prolific public corporations and throughout our society, the same cannot be said of China and its relationship with Africans.  For peoples of African origin in America, it has been a long, arduous, and difficult road of often uneven progress with sweat, bloodshed and tears from all parties, but the righteous light of true justice shines on the road for us ahead.


As Muhammad Ali famously quipped: "No VietCong ever called me nig..r". What say China?