China’s president Xi Jinping is in Durban, South Africa this week to attend the BRICS (China, Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa) summit. One major expected development is the creation of a new development bank fully funded by the leaders of the BRICS, the largest developing nations in the world (excepting South Africa). Xi is also on his first trip overseas as China’s leader, and he’s also trying to boost China’s relations with Africa. China has become Africa’s number one trading partner and is looking to increase trade even more, as well as involved in a lot of investment and aid. This article shows major public facilities that have been built with Chinese support.
Coincidentally I recently reviewed a book about Chinese economic and industrial activity overseas called China’s Silent Army. Chinese operations in Africa were covered, such as drilling for oil in Sudan and logging in Madagascar. The book had some good information about the adverse effects of China’s presence overseas, but the overall tone left much to be desired. The name of the book itself provides a clue as to the authors’ bias. It’s not a surprise that the book’s overriding theme was that China being on a “conquest”, no matter that the Chinese presence consists state enterprises, private companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals doing humble jobs such as selling clothes in wheelbarrows. It’s a decent read and has some good information, but it’s also quite misleading and shallow in its conclusions.