Yellow Imperialism’ or ‘successful wealth creation formula’?: How the trade in natural resources is changing Chinese-African relations

Release date: 2008-04

Frustrated by complex donor policies and the high overhead costs of multilateral development projects, many African governments appreciated the alternative presented by the Chinese government in an increasingly multi-polar world.
However, a sober analysis of China’s role in Africa indicates that Beijing is actually operating much like other, more established powers such as the United States, Great Britain or France have behaved in the past. The historic track record of Western governments in propping up dictatorships, clandestine arms transfers and the promotion of trade interests through financial aid is every bit as bad as Beijing’s current controversial policies, a point often overlooked outside of the continent. The overall impact of Chinese investment is mixed, with African consumers benefiting from cheaper goods and lower inflation, while at the same time jobs are being lost in industries unable to compete.