What Role for Chinese Investment in Africa?

December 17, 2021

In the last two decades Africa has experienced an influx of Chinese investment in Africa, yet many raise questions as to whether China's new found interest in the region is a new form of neo-imperialism. This article will be investigating whether China's expansion into Africa, specifically African oil markets, should be one that we are concerned about. Or whether it is one that Africans and the rest of the world should be welcoming. 

A scramble for resources is defined as the actions of an emerging or already dominant state in the pursuit for more growth seeking out the accumulation of resources from other states and regions. Examples that can attest to this are the dominant structures created by Portugal and Spain in the pursuit of more land and resources seeking out the Americas. Another example would include England during the industrialisation era of the 1800s increasing influence in Africa. Within the system of capitalism and the pursuit of hegemony, such a system may only survive under perpetual growth. This growth can only be well supported by a stream of resources. The current emerging superpower is China, China's actions are not new yet the world seems bemused. 

At one point, China was an extremely poor state with a massive population. In the 1970s, through a series of liberalisation reforms China began to see an economic turnaround. This put China on track to becoming one of the fastest growing economies. Like India, to maintain and expand on this newfound growth requires resources. China may have established itself as the initial destination for cheap labour, today China is now in the position to seek out other markets with cheaper labour such as Lesotho.  Key resources for growth include labour, oil, minerals such as platinum or copper.  

Currently, China's increasing growth, wealth and population require greater demands for oil. More than 25% of oil produced in Africa is imported by China, this stresses the importance of Africa as a strategic zone for Chinese growth.