The economic and political bands that have binded the African continent to its former colonial masters on the European continent have undergone a dramatic change within the past 20 years.The emergence of the Chinese government as an economic juggernaut has definitely changed the traditional relationship of North-south agreements between Europe and Africa.
In terms of South-South cooperation,both China and Africa have benefited in a positive way.With the massive investiments by Chinese government on the African continent,many countries are undergoing rejuvination in infrastructure,which is much needed.
The Chinese state-owned entities have invested around 6 billion dollars a year between 2000-2014.The Chinese government itself has extended 86 billion dollars in commercial loans.In 2015 President Xi Jinping,at the China-Africa Cooperation[ FOCAC] pledged 60 billion dollars in commercial loans to the African governments[Scheidman and Wiegert 2018].
In contrast.approximately over 400 years involvement of the European powers on the African continent the level of development by colonial governments has been to the benefits of the European powers.The intense rush for Africa continent began with the Berlin conference between 1884-1885,marking the beginning of the end of independent self-sustaining Africa.Prior to the Berlin conference,each nation,acting through trading companies and private entities,This manner of trade relationship allowed traders to form individual relationships with local Chiefs.
However,the results of this relationship were heavily in favour of the colonials.In the following years the deep exploration into the African continent led to hostilities between competing powers in Europe which could have led to open warfare between the nation-states.For the next three hundred years the uneven political and economic relatonship between Africa and Europe only worsened [Heath,2010].
In contrast,China's emergence into the international world politics started with China's abandonement of the strict policies of a command economy and the adoption of market incentives.This started with the death of Chairman Mao and the reign of the leadership taken over by Deng Xiaoping,who initiated capitalist reforms.This allowed growth and the beginning of free enterprise gains.
In December of 2001,China joined the World Trade Organisation.With China joining the international body,the full potential of every part of China's many sectors both state and private emerged.Remarkably in a short period of time,China has pulled itself out of poverty to an economic powerhouse within a relative short period of time.With a new worldview,China has engaged the world particularly Africa.Hence,the relationship between Africa and China has had an exponential increase in a 15 year period.
The social impact between China and Africa is unpresented with China granting African students scholarships to major universities.This has caused a major influx of Africans to the Chinese economy.In turn,many Chinese nationals have migrated to the African continent to become successful in business and love.The same can be said about the African students and businesses that have taken off in China.Interracial marriages have increased tremendously.
This has led to several projects to normalize relationships between African population in China and the native Chinese.The social context of the relationship between Africa and China is perhaps the most important.Why,because if two people do not form some basic fundamental understanding of one another,then they are bound to perceive each other as contrary or adverse.This could be resolved by a consorted effort on both sides to work towards better relationship moving into the future.
By ZEKEY PANDE SAXTON
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