China-Africa Summit, Who Will Benefit?

China is starting to strengthen its grip on the international stage after it entered the phase of its economic reforms. It now ends new markets to boost its economic policy ad to maintain its economic growth. It has taken the step of other economically powerful countries which have regular meetings with groups of state. There is the annual African-French summit and the Commonwealth conference.

For the China-Africa summit this represents a good opportunity for China to have new outlets for its products. Africa for China is a new goldmine. It has all the potentials where it can expand its economy. The majority of African countries are economically disadvantaged. They can’t produce the things they daily need. They are sure to buy Chinese products which are cheap compared with Western products – although they lack quality they are affordable for African pockets.
For some African countries, this can be an opportunity to lessen their dependence on their former colonial masters, especially France and Great Britain.

What China and many African states have in common is that they are still developing countries. What they most need is economic opportunities. Unlike Western countries, China will not interfere with their political system, linking cooperation with them with political reforms and human rights. Africa and China don’t yet have elaborated labour laws like standard minimum wage. They still have cheap labour.

Although Europe can face fierce competition from China in Africa, China can help it reduce the influx of illegal immigrants to it by creating job opportunities for them through its economic projects. But this can come about if the African leaders put such cooperation to good effect and if Africa is dealt with as a partner and not just a consuming element. Opening African markets to China shouldn’t lead to the bankruptcy of local industries like textile or small enterprises whose products can be made look expensive compared with Chinese ones.

If the Africans take the advantage of cooperation with China just to have cheap products offering it their natural resources like oil and minerals, they will change their dependence on the West with a new master that can turn into a monster taking everything in its way without yielding any fruits to the African hosts who have offered it its land to use it as its second home.

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1 Comment

  1. Don said,

    November 3, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I’m posting a link to your blog in a message to “FeiZhou-AsSiin” about blogging on the subject of the summit. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FeiZhou-AsSiin/


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