Changing times for Africa and the China link.

The major economies of the world are going through a realignment of position through the changing influence of developing nations such as China and India.

This was highlighted at at the recent EU-Africa summit in December where the EU was seeking to replace the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) that gave former colonies in Africa preferential treatment regarding the export of some of their goods into the EU.

IgnacioRamonet of Le Monde Diplomatique reported that this effectively meant that “the EU opted for completely free trade in the guise of EPA’s. So the 27 were asking African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to allow EU goods and services to enter their markets duty-free .”

That the African countries no longer felt obliged to acquiesce to the demands and that the Eu has backed down points to the changing spheres of influence that these countries now find themselves in.

What has been the factor to change the power play? It is obviously the increasing influence and investment of China into Africa. The Online Asia Times summarised this recently:

“China’s trade with Africa has dramatically increased from US$11 billion in 2000 to $56 billion in 2006, making it the continent’s third-largest trade partner behind the United States and France. Beijing also has an African trade target of $100 billion by 2010. Africa is a new continental market for lesser-priced Chinese exports, while it is a major source of raw materials, especially oil. China has rapidly become the most assertive investor nation in Africa. More than 800 Chinese state-owned enterprises are today active on the continent.”

Much has been made of the pro’s and con’s of this new partnership but it does show that the old order is facing change. The downturn in the US market may see China’s economy experience only a moderate slowdown in 2008 because its diversified exports and this no doubt has been helped by its relationship with Africa.

As Ignacio Ramonet points out “the benefit Africa generates from such investment depends more on what they themselves do than what China and the United States can do for Africa.” Africa is no longer so poor that it has to agree to anything.

~ by abstraktbiblos on Sunday, 27 January, 2008.

3 Responses to “Changing times for Africa and the China link.”

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