. Earth Science News .

China's power play for Africa alarms U.S.
by Staff Writers
Lusaka, Zambia (UPI) Jun 22, 2011

China, armed with $3 trillion in foreign reserves, is stepping up its scramble for Africa's mineral riches, including oil, copper and gold, to fuel its ever-expanding economy.

This has alarmed the United States, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning African leaders earlier this month in Lusaka, capital of copper-rich Zambia, of the perils of creeping "new colonialism."

"We saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave … And when you leave, you don't leave much behind for the people who are there," Clinton said.

"We don't want to see a new colonialism in Africa."

Clinton's unease about China's massive expansion into Africa in recent years, and its "no strings" approach, is also causing unease in Europe, from whence Africa's former colonial masters came.

In a world in which finite resources are dwindling and likely to be the casus belli of future conflicts, China's widening engagement with Africa is increasingly seen as one of the main dynamics shaping the continent.

Clinton's outburst at the Lusaka gathering underlined the tension between the United States and China as the new scramble for Africa opens up.

Washington is having to safeguard U.S. interests in Africa, which are increasingly threatened by the bullish BRIC group -- Brazil, Russia, India and China.

India, Asia's other economic titan, is also flexing its muscles to build a stronger relationship with the continent, for the same reasons as China -- the pressing need for oil and other raw materials vital for its continued growth.

In "Africa: Genuine Partnership or a Marriage of Convenience," a new book on Africa's relationships with the Asian giants, Swedish researchers Fentu Chenu and Cyril Obi observed that these have provided "an alternative to the condition-laden, asymmetrical relations into which African countries had been hitherto locked with their Western trading partners and financial institutions."

For India, "securing cheap energy and other strategic raw materials from the African continent on a long-term basis has become an economic and political imperative," Chenu and Obi noted.

Trade between China and Africa grew from $20 billion in 2001 to more than $120 billion in 2009.

India's trade with Africa, excluding oil, mushroomed from $914 million in 1991 to $25 billion-$30 billion in 2008. India, which imports 70 percent of its oil, is driving to boost trade to $70 billion by 2015.

Direct Chinese investment in Africa has soared from under $500 million in 2003 to more than $9 billion in 2009.

Over the last decade, the Chinese, flush with concessional financing channeled through state enterprises and institutions, have plowed billions of dollars into building roads, bridges, railroads, airports, factories, telecommunications networks and power plants across Africa.

In return, they have secured access to huge markets and vast resources.

"The extremely favorable loan terms that Chinese state banks can offer state companies to help them with their offshore acquisitions have become a sore point for many of the international companies trying to compete for those deals," the Financial Times observed.

"State bank financing flows especially to companies -- particularly state-owned 'national champions' -- that are buying overseas companies in the high-tech, energy, mining and environmental protection sectors."

China regularly asserts that its seemingly insatiable appetite for African oil and minerals is a gross over-simplification of its wide-ranging activities.

But, according to the Financial Times, 89 percent of China's imports from sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 were oil, minerals and other raw materials. The value of these exports has grown at an astonishing pace over the last decade, from $4.2 billion in 2000 to $38 billion in 2009.

Angola and Sudan provide much of the African oil that flows to China. In both countries, state-owned Chinese companies have played a key role in developing their energy sectors since the 1990s.

South Africa, one of Africa's biggest economies, exports ores and precious metals to China, the world's biggest importer of commodities like copper and iron ore.

In May, a Chinese consortium, discreetly owned by the Beijing government, became a majority shareholder in Gold One, an Australian miner whose main asset is in South Africa.

China's latest interest is African coal. Wuhan Iron and Steel is investing heavily in Mozambique's Tete fields.

Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

World Bank to fund environment projects in Madagascar
Antananarivo (AFP) June 22, 2011
The World Bank said Wednesday it was loaning an extra 52 million dollars (36 million euros) to Madagascar over three years to fund environmental projects despite the unsettled political situation on the Indian Ocean island. "The financing will help boost conservation efforts in 30 national parks and three new protected zones covering a total area of 2.7 million hectares (6.6 million acres), ... read more

Haiti leader vows to tighten adoption rules

Russia finds nuclear safety faults after Fukushima

New Zealand offers to buy 5,000 quake-hit homes

Japan cleaning radioactive water, says PM aide

Stretching Old Material Yields New Results for Energy

Rare earth minerals prices skyrocket

Tablet war heats up as Asia challenges iconic iPad

Android phones to pit vampires against slayers

Court moves to suspend work on Chilean dam

Discards ban 'will boost fisheries'

'Super sand' for better purification of drinking water

Pacific's California current likened to Africa's Serengeti Plain

NASA to embark on last leg of Arctic sea study

Life Between Snowball Earths

Arctic snow harbors deadly assassin

Glaciations may have larger influence on biodiversity than current climate

Fungicides may not increase corn yields unless disease develops

Artificial light quality affects herbivore preference for seedlings

European And US Consumer Views On Cloned Products Differ

Early-season strawberry tested in high elevation conditions

Stiff sediments made 2004 Sumatra earthquake deadliest in history

Floods kill 24 as rains pound north Nigeria city

Patagonian shepherds fear Chile ash disaster

Japan lifts tsunami warning after strong quake

China's power play for Africa alarms U.S.

World Bank to fund environment projects in Madagascar

Somalia Islamists vow loyalty to Zawahiri

Sudan army 'to fight by all means' in border state

Researchers find smart decisions for changing environmental times

Can humans sense the Earth's magnetism

Walker's World: Here come the 'age wars'

Family genetic research reveals the speed of human mutation

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement