At first, when the Europeans came to the shores of Africa on their vessels and ships; bearing gifts, business ventures, religion and the excitement of a different human skin. Africa was nothing but the welcoming host.
The rest might be history but the consequences are very much present, looking at the poverty levels in most African states, with that becoming a cloud over the West or the tumults in the South, one can’t help but wonder, ‘what if Africa was not an innocent host opening its borders, homes and sacred grounds to these early explorers looking to expand boundaries and establish new politicking and business ventures? What if she had been warned of the intentions of her guests, would Africa be far more developed and in better shape today? Or would she have remained the ‘primitive’ continent it was? These are things we will never know. And the past can’t be changed.
The future, however, is once again taking the shape of the past but with a different face. David Rothschild once said, ”Give me control of finance and I do not care who rules the country”.
Gone are the days of men who honored their words, that isn’t a bankable currency anymore, money controls everything now. The economy of a country goes to define the energy levels of other sectors. And China is in a pole position of controlling the African economy, maybe the dream of Late General Muammar Gaddafi, of a unified monetary system would be realized, under a foreign rule, which would be a major win for the Chinese ”to hell with America being leaders of the free world, we have Africa”.
”To have 54 African nations as friends is very important to China,” says Jing Gu, Director of the Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development in East Sussex.
China has been in contact with Africa in the past, but that cannot measure with the focus China has put into implementing its theories in Africa, of recent. A ground where they can test, learn and build monuments that would stand for years to come, all at same time. It is an incredible plan, well executed too, and African leaders act unaware to it.
According to the Center for Global Development, china provided $75 billion in aid to Africa for a rough total of 1673 projects as of 2010. By 2012 that amount has increased to $200 billion and it is growing rapidly.
Since then they have loaned African countries funds for projects, which are then contracted back to China. Buying farmlands and generating some revenue and many of its citizens already settled in the continent.
Scholarships have been made available for African student interested in studying in China, young Africans getting familiar with Chinese culture. China is here to stay, here for the future.
Among projects executed by china in Africa is the 20 story African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, a $200 million gift to Africa, built in 2012. China had initially offered to configure the systems and networks, an offer which was refused by African leaders. Five years later, January 2017 it was discovered that hidden around the AU headquarters where spywares which sent collected data at night back to China. Imagine the blow over this information would have led to.
But this is Africa, so, Chinese leaders denied having anything to do with it, but more interesting was that there was no condemnation whatsoever of the act by African leaders. No international sanctions. No broken deals. No, Africa is either too hooked or too timid to bite the mouth that seem to be feeding her.
Be it Technology, inferior products, loans, gifts or deals, Africa has accepted it all from China and they are here to stay. It is Africa who has to figure out what she wants and protect her interest.