There is ongoing debate regarding whether China is evolving into a neocolonial power in African regions, given its growing presence in African nations.
Though many will argue otherwise, critics say that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has, in fact, evolved into a neocolonial power. China might not have the kind of colony structure that many Western imperial powers once ruled, but they contend that it is still behaving in a manner consistent with them.
The following article deals with how China exerts its power in African nations in various ways. Keep on reading to learn more about it!
New Infrastructure Projects Exchange Investment Dollars For Geo-Strategic Advantage
Beijing’s top priorities include the development of infrastructure for better resource extraction and export from African countries. This is why they began building highways and pipelines to increase the flow of resources into the PRC.
The biggest initiative now operating in Africa is the ‘Belt and Road.’ Multiple reports substantiate claims this will empty the national treasuries in Africa and bury them under mountains of infrastructure-related debt that may be very difficult to pay off.
Although cash-strapped African nations readily accepted the many billion dollars in investments and loans from China, they came with several conditions from China’s side. Therefore, this plays into China’s more extensive geo-economic interests and is a new form of colonialism.
Obtaining Raw Resources
China is allegedly propping up and supporting its industries by obtaining raw resources from around the world, especially in African nations. Many African countries have precisely what China requires – minerals, agricultural products, and fossil fuels.
Around 20% of China’s cotton and a third of its oil are imported from Africa. Half of the world’s manganese, a necessary component of making steel, is located in Africa. Additionally, sizable quantities of coltan, which China needs for electronics, are also found in Africa.
Growing Chinese Culture
There have also been many complaints concerning the increasing influence of Chinese culture in the media sector. Over the last couple of years, China has increased its media presence in Africa’s social media and press.
Besides this, many Chinese cultural institutes across Africa are dedicated to promoting the Chinese language. The growing media presence and institutes have aided China in establishing cultural hegemony and have a detrimental effect on the cultures of African countries.
Can Africa Benefit From This Scenario?
Although Chinese spectators comment on how African countries have the bargaining power to force Beijing to change its ways if it wants to maintain its presence in Africa, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Even if African countries examine a new growth model based on innovation and human capital, Chinese companies would still define these.
Criticisms also claim that the African workers are being replaced with Chinese ones, and low-cost Chinese goods are harming African markets by severely undercutting domestic enterprises. In this case, who is to say that Africa can use their apparent bargaining power? Some even argue that China’s participation in Africa only benefits the continent’s elites rather than the Africans at large.