left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Aware at last, but is it too late?

Updated: 2014-08-15 09:22
By Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah (China Daily Africa)

Aware at last, but is it too late?

During an international workshop at Peking University recently, a Chinese lecturer, Professor Li Anshan, said Africa needs fair trade rather than aid and handouts.

As China has worked with Africa to boost trade and investment in the continent, other trading partners, especially in the West, have seen Africa as a dumping ground, working to tilt their relationship with African countries in their favor.

China has repeated its commitment not to attach any conditions to loans offered to African countries and not to interfere in their internal affairs. In addition, China has always described its relationship with Africa as "win-win cooperation".

That stance seems to have drawn Africa and China ever closer, forcing the continent's traditional trading partners to review their strategies to maintain the upper hand.

That was a view Kofi Akodor, of the Daily Graphic of Ghana, propounded recently as he described the recent overture by the US toward Africa that culminated in the US-African Leaders Summit in Washington.

"The US-African Leaders summit should not be seen as an act of benevolence to change the fortunes of Africa but another way of getting a fair share of the resources of the continent," he said.

The US and the European Union seemed to have dropped their guard and allowed China to expand in Africa, which called for a new strategy.

"Ordinarily, any platform that would offer African leaders the opportunity to market the investment potential of the continent and place its development agenda in the global perspective should be appreciated and supported."

But he questioned how African leaders could leave their enormous resources behind and go chasing small assistance handouts from abroad.

Aware at last, but is it too late?

An opinion piece on myjoyonline, an online version of Joy FM, Ghana's leading multimedia organization, said: "the US has catching up to do."

It added: "Although US-Africa trade doubled from $50 billion in the early 2000s to $85 billion in 2013, it still lags China, whose trade with Africa exceeds $200 billion.

"Yet it is precisely China's emergence as Africa's largest trading partner which underscores the potential."

Foreign direct investment in Africa has increased dramatically in the past 15 years and continues to grow, it said.

Last year FDI to Africa rose 9.6 per cent to an estimated $56.6 billion, representing 5.7 percent of global FDI, which is forecast to exceed $60 billion this year.

In addition, the BRICS economies are seizing the African opportunity. In 1992 China, India and Brazil accounted for just 3 percent of Africa's global trade, compared with 25 percent today.

The summit in Washington is a token of the US' belated realization that it has taken Africa for granted for far too long and allowed the emerging economies to spearhead the way toward Africa's economic emancipation.

The question, of course, is whether the US has waited too late to bridge the gap between it and China in the way they deal with Africa.

The author is a journalist at Daily Graphic, Ghana

(China Daily Africa Weekly 08/15/2014 page8)

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.