The China – Africa Cooperation has recorded tremendous progress in the last three decades, with China assisting Africa to close the gap in its infrastructure deficit.
China’s support has come largely in the form of concessional loans which are often tied to specific projects.
The gesture from Beijing has come under severe criticism in recent time; amid fears that China’s ultimate motive was to take over Africa.
This special report takes a look at the fallacies and facts about China-Africa relations.
China’s growing influence and power on the African continent is clearly one of the most compelling stories of the turn of the 21st century.
It’s a story that has received as much misrepresentation as commendation in recent times and in many quarters.
In Nigeria, the argument has not ceased on whether the country’s preference for funds from China is a bait to recapture it into a fresh round of colonialism, or it’s the lifeblood the country badly needs to make up for its infrastructural deficit.
From the construction of airports to the rehabilitation of major highways and railway lines; Nigeria has continued to benefit from China’s loans- which are tied to specific projects.
China’s infrastructure loans to Nigeria has been put as only a fraction of the country’s over $30billion external debt profile and the projects constructed with the loans are verifiable.
Experts believe the harsh conditionalities of Western loans on the African countries’ economies have made the Chinese loan a better alternative for them.
But the gesture from Beijing hasn’t gone down well with some interest group; accusing China of using constructed public buildings for espionage on African countries and describing the Chinese loans as “debt traps”.
Analysts believe that like Western loans; China loans come with conditions; stressing that it is absolutely in order for China or indeed any other lender countries to put in place such conditions in the hope of retrieving their money in case of default.
A report by a Non- Governmental Organization, Heritage Foundation alleged that Beijing had built at least 186 African government buildings and was using them to spy on the African countries.
The report advised that the U.S. should try to neutralize Beijing in Africa as part of a strategic response to the China’s effort to reshape the global order.
Experts fault the report; describing it as mere speculations.
China’s efforts in Africa have remained visible and strong across the continent especially through its technology.
Yet China’s engagement with Africa is not new.
For many, it’s a time tested history of friendship with mutual benefits; a compelling story of exemplary visionary leadership Africa can borrow.