China in Africa

by Developed Africa 18. November 2013 09:00

There have been growing reports about China's involvement and investment across Africa- we look at what this means for the continent

The rhetoric is often more about what China's motivations are, than what Africa's motivation is in doing business with them; a TED talk from June, by Dambisa Moyo turns this on its head and focuses upon what it is that draws Africans to working with Chinese investors. She discussed the famous quotation 'give me liberty, or give me death' from Thomas Henry on the independence movement of the USA back in 1765, spoken to rally support for independence and freedom from oppression. But Moyo raises an interesting point that:

"give me liberty or give me death is all very well, if you can afford it"

but that might not be an option for many, this is why it is possible that China is fast becoming the economic giant that Africans can look to for inspiration. After all, China has had extremely rapid economic growth as well as moving thousands out of poverty - so it isn't just money for the powerful and rich, they have managed to improve lives without democracy. 

over the past few decades, China has managed to move hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty by combining state intervention with economic incentives to attract private investment"

As Moyo describes, not only has access to education improved, but income inequality has too, enough to give China an equal GINI coefficient rating with the US- leading her to the conclusion that perhaps democracy does not have to be a prerequisite in order to achieve economic growth, but in fact it is the other way around. And this is why Africans may be embracing the Chinese investments and system with open arms, because they see genuine possibility to improve their lives, and fast.  

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