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What to Expect from CPEC looking at the Chinese experience in Africa

CPEC AFRICA

Pakistan-Wary of Foreign Involvement

The CPEC has brought with it its fair share of skeptics; people who have voiced doubts over whether the CPEC will actually be the boon it is painted to be for Pakistan’s socio-economic scene. It is only natural for a people with a history of subjugation to be wary of any foreign involvement, especially with the volume it is at with the CPEC. With the history of the exploitative British Raj and the strings-attached assistance that has come from Western countries these feelings are only natural. However it is worth, first, to look at the history of China. A grand and ancient civilization, the Chinese have historically never trodden the path of European style imperialism. Albeit there has been territorial expansion but imperialist ambitions have never been at the heart of the Chinese model. China has always been a firm adherent to the ‘invest not invade’ policy which is evidenced by Chinese involvement in Africa. China has been a major investor in Africa and a primary stakeholder in its growth and has come good on many of its promises made in the region.

The African Experience

Africa too has been ravaged by colonialism in the past and has suffered first-hand as a result of the archaic model of Western aid. Thus, the Chinese model of “no-strings attached” aid and assistance has begun to look especially attractive for countries in Africa with Beijing earmarking up to $60 billion in aid and investment in 2015. What is noteworthy about this money is that it specifically targets the expansion of local economic capacity by augmenting what Forbes has called “areas that should foster sustainable economic growth: industrialization, agriculture modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.” Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria have been the top recipients of Chinese money with Egypt alone seeing a whopping $24 billion come in. Most of the investments have been in mining resources such as cobalt and construction sector amongst others. China has done well to address the infrastructure deficit that is holding back many African countries, which is along the lines of the model that Beijing has adopted in Pakistan with heavy investments in power projects and transportation infrastructure. As mentioned earlier there have been investments in training and education such as the youth job training loan of $100 million to Kenya. Thus it is fair to say, that Chinese involvement in Africa has brought about economic opportunities and bolstered political stability in the region. These countries however are fraught with problems such as corruption, an issue that Beijing will have to tackle head-on. Prosperity has slowly but surely come to African nations with growing Chinese involvement that is modeled around fresh objectives that bring benefits for all parties involved rather than the one-sided model of Western aid. China has tried her best to ensure broad-based economic empowerment in the countries she is involved in.

Conclusion

The fact that the Chinese model of “invest not invade” has grown leaps and bounds in Africa has led to Western countries also changing their modus operandi in Africa. As Harvard Politics calls it, “If China is ultimately successful in bringing about a new surge in African economies, something the West has tried and failed to achieve for decades, then the global conversation on development will be rewritten.” Strong leadership is required in business and politics as well as a robust model of accountability for the leaders of these countries, as is the case in Pakistan, to ensure the continued success of the Chinese investment model.

Reference:

Jadesimi, Amy. “How China’s $60 Billion For Africa Will Drive Global Prosperity.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 17 Mar. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/amyjadesimi/2017/03/14/how-chinas-60-billion-for-africa-will-drive-global-prosperity
fDi Markets
Pilling, David. “Subscribe to the FT to Read: Financial Times Chinese Investment in Africa: Beijing’s Testing Ground.” Financial Times, www.ft.com/content/0f534aa4-4549-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996.
Manero, Elizabeth. “China’s Investment in Africa: The New Colonialism?” Harvard Political Review Chinas Investment in Africa The New Colonialism Comments, harvardpolitics.com/world/chinas-investment-in-africa-the-new-colonialism/.
Manero, Elizabeth. “China’s Investment in Africa: The New Colonialism?” Harvard Political Review Chinas Investment in Africa The New Colonialism Comments, harvardpolitics.com/world/chinas-investment-in-africa-the-new-colonialism/.

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