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China's long-term vision helps shake off bad image in Africa

By Mark Kapchanga (Global Times)

08:42, October 29, 2012

Businesses constantly reinvent their strategies to beat the competition. They are always on the lookout for opportunities, and work tirelessly to meet their goal - wealth creation.

China has perfected the art of operating like a business, bolstering its plans by constantly looking for opportunities, and erecting firewalls to deal with imminent threats.

In Africa, China has created millions of employment opportunities. It has set up modern infrastructure projects, developed dormant mineral deposits that have seen earnings more than triple. More importantly, it has injected a new lease of life into Africa's shaky education system by offering scholarships to thousands of students.

As noted by the World Bank in its annual meeting held in Tokyo in early October, Africa's economy is fast expanding. The key inhibitor, however, remains expensive and erratic power supply. Having understood this challenge, China is today investing heavily in Africa's energy sector.

However, it is also true that, in the past, some Asian firms may have engaged in backdoor dealings, precipitating corruption in the continent. This has resulted in China being lambasted for doing "little" to curb growing graft in Africa.

A look at Angola shows that China tied the knot with Africa's second largest oil producer over two decades ago. The development saw Luanda earn close to $20 billion in oil revenues with China accounting for 20 percent of the total. Today, however, Angola has the highest poverty level globally with more than 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line. Some quarters have linked the unending strife in the country to China's policy of non-political interference. But Angola has hit back, threatening to sever ties with its critics, particularly the World Bank and the IMF.


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