Contrary to the views expressed in some quarters that the recent increase in Chinese investments and trade in Africa poses a significant threat to the continent’s economy, a report by an independent research organisation, Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), has suggested otherwise.
The report, made available to PANA here Tuesday, said the Chinese incursion into Africa, rather than constituting any threat to Africa’s economy, has been beneficial to the continent.
The report said instead of seeing China’s engagement in Africa from the prism of a new coloniser or exploiter, China should be seen as a partner in development.
Titled “China in Africa: An Evaluation of Chinese Investment’ , the report is authored by two Nigerian researchers, Thompson Ayodele and Olusegun Sotola.
It examines the nature of Chinese investment in Nigeria and Africa, and demonstrates a clear trend that suggests that China’s investment is largely beneficial to Africa.
It however noted that many African countries have not been able to diversify their exports beyond primary products.
One of the authors of the report, Sotola, said: “China has emerged as a key global leader. Its trade relations and investment activities in Nigeria and other African countries must be examined with the same rigour as that of the Western countries.
“It is important that we separate the facts from the emotions on the ongoing international development debate on China’s real interest in Africa. This paper presents evidence that clearly shows that China’s grand interest is to develop domestically, coincidentally it is beneficial to Africa. What needs to be further examined is the sustainability of the present engagement and how governments in Africa can further build on it.”
Sotola also noted that unlike the Western countries, the Chinese government imposes no political conditions on African governments before signing contracts either for exploration or other economic activities.
In addition, he said, Chinese firms are willing to invest where Western companies are unwilling, including areas such as physical infrastructure, industry and agriculture which are critical to development in Africa.
The study explained that China’s interest in Africa is not due to crude oil as widely claimed, because only 9% of Chinese oil is imported from Africa, while the United States imports 32% and Europe 33%.
It noted that China’s economic rise is shaping the international order by introducing a new development paradigm.
The report urged African countries to take the opportunities offered by their engagement with China to diversify their export potentials.
PANA reports that the IPPA is an award-winning independent policy research organisation based in Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos.
Since 2009, the organisation had been consistently ranked as one of the most influential and the top think-tanks in the sub-Saharan Africa.