Key point: China is in Africa now not to advance Maoism, but to control its resources, people, and potential.
Africa is on the cusp of a new period in its history, its renaissance. Freed from centuries of colonialism and neo-imperialism, Africa has the opportunity to become a center of economic might to provide prosperity to the continent’s growing population. Yet, at present, Africa unfortunately faces a new danger: Sino-imperialism, the risk of falling under the control of China largely through Chinese economic investment and loans. The People’s Republic of China has long supported African states since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949. Under Mao, China’s backed African liberation movements in an effort to advance Maoism and offset Soviet and American influence. In much of Africa today, China is the imperialist power.
China is in Africa now not to advance Maoism, but to control its resources, people, and potential. From building railways in Kenya and roads in rural Ethiopia to running mines in the Congo, China has drastically changed the African economic landscape in the twentieth century. China lent nearly $125 billion to Africa between 2000 and 2006 and recently pledged $60 billion at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Co-operation. The Chinese superficially appear to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with Africa by providing financial and technical assistance to Africa’s pressing developmental needs. Trade between China and Africa has grown from $10 billion in 2000 to $190 billion by 2017. It is estimated that 12 percent of Africa industrial production, or $500 billion annually—nearly half of Africa’s internationally contracted construction market—is carried out by Chinese firms.