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US has misconceptions about China's investment in Africa: experts

By Matthew Rusling (Xinhua)

08:08, August 15, 2012

WASHINGTON Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just wrapped up her 11-day trip to Africa, which was regarded by some media reports as an effort to counterbalance China's increased influence in the continent, some experts said Washington has many misconceptions about China's investment in that region.

The experts said that while China's influence on Africa is on Washington's mind, it was not the sole reason for Clinton's trip, as a number of issues such as security and commerce were also important.

"China's influence in Africa is on Washington's mind, (but) I don't think it is the driving force of the trip," said Doug Bandow, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based American libertarian think tank.

Still, the U.S. is aware of China's presence there and wants to "in some degree challenge the apparent attractiveness, shall we say, of the China model. So I think there's an element of that that's important to their (U.S.) planning," he told Xinhua in an interview.

Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said that in addition to other U.S. national interests, the issue of China was on Clinton's mind as she planned her itinerary.

"So yes, I believe China is becoming influential in Africa and the U.S. is becoming a bit concerned about it," Kimenyi said.

But he disagreed with the criticism that China is extracting African resources without benefiting local residents, noting that China has undertaken a number of projects to the benefit of local communities.

"Just this morning I drove on a major highway on which China is about to finish construction," he said in a phone interview with Xinhua from Kenya. "This is very valuable to Africans."
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