China’s growing interest in Africa countries has been viewed by some people as a threat to their sovereignty. In the past decades, Africa’s major source of financial and political aid was the Western countries. However, this started changing after China developed an interest in Africa starting in the 1990s. China’s growing interest is a threat to the United States and other Western countries that have always interfered in the governance of African nations. Unlike the US, China does not impose its policies on African nations, does not interfere in its governance, and respects their sovereignty. Therefore, fears of neocolonialism are overdone. China’s interest in Africa is founded on finding a source of raw materials for its rapidly growing manufacturing sector and securing a ready market for its products (Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing, 2013).
China does not interfere in the political matters of countries. For instance, after its citizens were expelled from South Sudan, Congo, and Gabon, the Chinese government did not intervene by placing economic sanctions to compel the governments to reverse their decisions. They accepted the decision because of their respect for the sovereignty of African nations. In addition, China accepts its position as a foreign investor in African countries. For example, the new rules restricting the industries in which the Chinese can operate and calls for an end to the trade in ivory eliminate any suspicion of neocolonialism.
African nations are conducting trade with China based on their terms. The citizens of many countries have also embraced the Chinese because they create jobs, transfer skills, and improve local economies by spending money (Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing, 2013). In some countries, China’s investment and involvement in local affairs were limited because of fears of the economic takeover. However, China’s goodwill and changing image have led to acceptance in countries such as Zambia. Neocolonialism fears are exaggerated because China is not interested in African democracy. It does not undermine democratic institutions or conventions and steers away from internal political matters.
Currently, China is Africa’s largest trade partner and is followed closely by the United States (Minto, 2012). Europe’s influence in Africa is gradually waning as African countries are forming stronger trade relations with China. The dramatic decline in the proportion of European trade with African countries is beneficial to China as it seeks to expand its trade and investment presence in Africa. Countries in the sub-Saharan region traded with European countries before and shortly after colonization. However, their allegiance shifted after they attained their sovereignty (Minto, 2012).
The development of new tare relations led to little trade with European countries and more trade with rapidly growing economies such as China and Brazil. In the past two decades, sub-Saharan Africa’s exposure to the European Union (EU) has declined significantly. Therefore, exposure to recessions in the EU is minimal and of little consequence to trade (Minto, 2012). The US and China are Africa’s major trade partners. However, China has overtaken the US, and economic projections show that in the next decade, China will be the major trade partner of the majority of African nations. I think that China’s major interest in Africa is a trade and not the democracy or governance of its nations. Therefore, fears of China being the new colonial power in Africa are overdone and misplaced. China does not interfere with the internal political and economic matters of African nations.
Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing; fears of neocolonialism are overdone. (2013). The Economist. Web.
Minto, R. (2012). Europe: Less important to Africa that you might think. Web.