It is inevitable to talk about emergent countries, namely China, when trying to understand this new global order, less and less dominated by the United States’s power. Times change, they evolve and what is guaranteed in the present, it is not in a near future, especially when it comes to geopolitics and finance.
The first sentence of this post is directly related to how China is using its power to expand its influence throughout the World, especially in the African continent. It is more and more relevant to speak about China and I consider it to be a good way to start what will be an attempt of a (geo)political/development themed blog.
After this introduction, let’s get back to the main idea of the post. “It is a full package”, that was an expression used by Professor Daniel Bach in a conference in Lisbon, when talking about the Belt Road Initiative and its impact in Africa. Let’s get into details: the Initiative goes way beyond a couple of simple transactions and investments in a couple of countries worldwide. Nothing is random, nothing is miscalculated.
More than 60 countries will receive/are receiving Chinese capital to build, create and renovate their infrastructures – roads, ports, airports, etc. In Africa, the Chinese investment is felt in three different areas: the first is concerned with the connectivity, which can only be possible if there is an improvement of the railways and roads for a better circulation of imported and exported products and the second is related to soft infrastructures by simplifying the administrative processes (Gana Single Window System, for example).
However, not every country sees the “good deeds” coming from the Chinese authorities, especially because of its lack of transparency, when it comes to its businesses. Consequently, what was meant to be a partnership between two countries, easily turns into… Politics. When big investments shape domestic politics of independent and internationally recognized countries, then something is wrong.
In Africa, that is yet to be seen. What African political actors must consider right now is what kind of development they want to adopt: one focused in foreign (unreliable) investment coming from China (and from Western countries in a less quantity), liberalization of trade and inequalities or a type of development that integrates people, gives education and equal opportunities to all.
“It is a full package”, but for who?