Despite warnings about the danger of the Chinese relationship with Africa, there is no other example in world geopolitics of such an intense marriage: a whole continent united to a country.
The extraordinary relationship that China has with African countries is not only a matter of having occupied a space left vacant by the heavy consciences of the old (European) colonisers, by the implosion of the Soviet Union, and by North American disinterest.
“In the 1960s, and to this day, in every coup in Africa we had big countries such as England, France or the USA trying to manoeuvre in some way to put presidents in power to play the game of their policies,” an African expert – Spanish scholar Ruiz-Cabrebra – told Sputnik News. “Above all, in the 1960s Mao’s cultural policy led to the massive sending of teachers, doctors and cultural agents.”
So, it is fair to say Africa and China have lived a near perfect marriage over the past 50 years, still in the shadow of European colonialism. By 2013, however, this marriage was disrupted. And for unexpected reasons.
In that year, the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, published an opinion piece in the Financial Times, stating:
“Nigeria, a country with a large domestic market of more than 160m people, spends huge resources importing consumer goods from China that should be produced locally. We buy textiles, fabrics, leather goods, tomato paste, starch, furniture, electronics, building materials and plastic goods. I could go on. The Chinese, on the other hand, buy Nigeria’s crude oil. In much of Africa, they have set up huge mining operations.
They have also built infrastructure. But, with exceptions, they have done so using equipment and labour imported from home, without transferring skills to local communities. So China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism.”
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