The guest lecture clearly illustrates the strides that China has made to advance its influence in Africa. China's activity in some of the developing countries in Africa is a manifestation of the weakness it has chosen to exploit so as to establish influence and open up trade opportunities with the African continent. For instance, funding projects in DRC Congo and Uganda and freely constructing and funding the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was a multi-million dollar project. Originally, China had not made significant advancement in Africa but its influence is now growing at a high rate compared to Europe and the United States of America. The growing influence has led to increasing trade between China and African countries to a tune of $120billion, and this has undermined the status quo where USA and Europe were the major traders with Africa since colonialism era. China has been able to obtain a market for its imports that are considered more affordable thus fitting the middle-class families in Africa and in return African countries have acquired a market for their raw materials. However, various criticisms have been levelled against the increased trade between China and Africa.
The most surprising fact is that before Chinas penetration into Africa, Europe had managed to stay as the Africas major trading partner. This can be historically attributed to ties created during colonialism. It is expected that after all those years more countries should have penetrated Africa to take advantage of its vast resources. However, China is accused of buying its way to trade with Africa especially with the move to fully fund AU headquarters, a body similar to the European Union. Despite Chinas increased influence in Africa reaping lots of benefits such as improved infrastructure, various alarming criticisms have been levelled against the trade. For instance, poor quality of imports from China that are not durable.
Some Africans claim that China has areas that produce good quality products for export to the USA and Europe, and specific areas that produce poor quality goods that are exported to Africa. China has also been accused of producing unsafe products, raising the question of who should handle protection of consumers. The number of children that were affected by a certain unsafe Chinese product is alarming. Proper consumer mechanisms should be set in place. Increased Chinese influence has led to decreased industrial production and fewer job opportunities in Africa. This is because China imports its labor and resources instead of training Africans. The expectations were that citizens of these developing countries would benefit positively from the growing influence.
Firstly, there is a need to supplement our learning with a study of the trade patterns that originally existed in Africa since independence. For, instance, during colonialism, Africans were not allowed to own factories and this trend might have continued. Therefore, this lecture would fit in better when we have a clear understanding of the development and infrastructural status of Africa. It is also important to understand the factors that have originally derailed development in Africa such as corruption in the government. Some parts of Africa might be capable of producing some resources required for developments such as infrastructure thus leaving the Chinese with no choice but importing.
A clear understanding and knowledge of the situations in Africa would open the platform for debate on whether the criticisms levelled against China are fair. This can be done through critical analysis of case studies such as political instability in DRC Congo, South Sudan, etc. The trading partnership policies employed by China are also crucial to establishing why China has been able to change the status quo thus overtaking the longtime trading partners of Africa. Consequently, there would be a good basis for understanding and participating in such a lecture.
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