View Full Version : FOCAC Forum on China Africa Cooperation

Nov 6, 2006, 16:41
I have browsed this Japan-related forum and found it very interesting, that's why I subscribed. I am an analyst with the ISRIA, an agency specialized in international security-related research. I'd be interested to know your opinion about the recent Forum on China Africa Cooperation which took place in Beijing during the week-end. Below is a small briefing our Chief Analyst, Charles Rault, wrote. You can find many other documents by visiting isria.com We hope to contribute to this forum by sharing some exclusive analysis from our agency if this forum's administrators authorize us to do so. Best regards, ISRIA
China has great ambitions as regards Africa. And such ambitions aren't only goodwill of a future superpower which would like to help Africa develop and grow. This is also and chiefly a necessary political strategy for China to exploit natural resources (especially oil) in order to sustain the very fast growth of its economy. China did a lot: several important deals and the ambition to double chinese aid to Africa but this hasn't been as much as some expected on behalf of China. "Some expected China would make huge announcements about Africa and actually it expressed some principles of its "Grand Policy" but didn't commit to unrealistic projects" an analyst told. As a result, some african countries could be disappointed by the (poor) $1,9 billion deal between african and chinese companies during this summit. On the contrary, China might have been smarter than the West by not committing to unrealistic ambitions.
That's true, if you take a look at what the West promised to Africa ten years ago, you'll see that much of it has never been done. However Europe and the United States remain the most important partners of Africa and it'll take time before China reaches a same level of involvement and aid. China announced it would double its aid to Africa by the year 2009. "A realistic objective" analysts said. The FOCAC Summit has been a diplomatic victory for China as it prepares for Olympic Games 2008. It shows China is definetely becoming a great power. "This has been a 'grande messe' like the West or the Soviet Union were able to do" an analyst added. The United States and France have particularly observed what happened this week-end. "There's no african country in which you can't find chinese people" a Congo-based french entrepreneur told ISRIA. Africa is wide opening its doors to China; one should verify if China will act the same way within the following years. Chinese officials insisted their country has no imperialistic views on Africa. Most analysts doubt about it.
Beyond energy resources, Africa is the way for China to settle at the threshold of Europe. "China is a great power, it's going to be the superpower by the year 2030; Africa might be the best foreign asset in its Grand Strategy". Also, China benefits from alot of friendship in Africa where a number of countries were first reckoned by maoist China. If that's a great leap forward for China, could it really be one for Africa? Some denounce the involvement of giant western oil companies like Total or Exxon in Africa as neo-colonialism. China has the great advantage not to appear like a neo-colonialist country as its giant oil company Sinopec actually does the same as western giant oil companies do. China had been colonized in the past, the fact that it can say "we (the Chinese) know what you (the Africans) have undergone" automatically warm relations between China and Africa. However Africans should be careful of not taking the past as a guarantee for the future. Those who colonized Africa aren't today's westerners as those who were dominated in China aren't today's chinese. (by Charles RAULT – Nov 5, 2006)