In the recent years, China has had a growing presence in the African continent, engaging in trades, delivering aid and initiating projects. China’s involvement in Africa is something that has triggered very animated debates among students and scholars. Many hypotheses as to China’s intentions have been presented. Is China really the solution to Africa’s underdevelopment or simply for its own political and economical interests? This essay will present a more pessimistic view on this whole situation arguing the very dangers and consequences of China’s relationship with Africa. Not only does China worsen the countries’ economic conditions by triggering high levels of inflation and unemployment but it also represent a new form of colonialism its activities having a direct impact on the political system of those countries. To illustrate my point, I have chosen to look at Zimbabwe and South Africa, as they are highly different economically, politically and historically. When looking at those two inherently different countries, we can see that the end results of their relationship with China are quite similar. However, we also need to distinguish the difference between the two countries why one seems to suffer more from this partnership than the other.
The Political Impacts
Politically, no one is really sure of China’s true intentions although there have been numerous speculations. However, experts seem to agree more towards the idea that China does it for its own personal interest, really only using Africa strategically to both become a global superpower and increase its economy (Looy and Haan 6). It first began with China’s desire to be more present on the international arena after its many years being only active regionally. In order to prevent the American hegemony, China decided to be more active in Africa, a continent that was until now ignored for its low development level and weak economic state. It claimed to have no interest in getting involved in these states’ sovereignty. That position is shown through their “no strings attached” foreign aid (Tull 466-467). To differentiate themselves from the Western countries, China adopted a more neutral stance as to the type of political system these African countries adopted. That political move, of course, brought more international attention to the African country (Campbell 121-125). Nonetheless, the growing presence of China on the political sphere of African countries is alarming not only because China’s own “problematic” political system but also because of its involvement in states’ own affairs.
For instance, the relationship between Zimbabwe and China is highly political. Their relation dates back to the 1950’s and 1960’s when the country was struggling to fight the rule of the white minority that led to increase inequalities and racial repression. Already back then Beijing associated with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) engaging in liberation movements to stop the...