How China is Taking over Africa from the ground up
History of Yesterday | Gone are the days when?? colonial masters used brute force to take over nations by chaining people together and putting them in ships with little to no food. We now live in a technologically advanced world, and the Chinese have proven to be one of the leading countries in technological innovations. They have come up with an even more clever scheme to colonize Africa than their pre-colonial masters.
When did China begin the Colonization of Africa?
It all began in the 1960s when Zambia had just gained independence from Britain and was looking to grow its economy.
Suddenly, China opted to build its railway lines connecting Zambia to Tanzania to boost trade between the countries.
It was a monumental project referred to as the Tazara Railway.
But you see, this was only the beginning.
Why is China Pumping Billions into Africa?
If you Google the definition of Colonialism, you see that Colonialism is the practice of taking over a country/area either partially or completely, setting up colonies, and exploiting it economically.
Over the years, China has constructed over 6,000km of railway lines all across the African continent alongside many other infrastructural projects like roads in Mozambique, hospitals in the Republic of Congo, and dams in Sudan, just to name a few.
But is all this done out of the goodness of China’s heart?
Of course not.
China has both Economic and Political aims for its endeavor in Africa.
This was first shown 47 years ago at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. China has two governments:
- The Republic of China originally controlled the Mainland and Taiwan but only administers Taiwan now.
- The People’s Republic of China administers the Mainland.
This is a bit of a dilemma, and I am sure you’re wondering what’s Africa’s role in the mix.
Well, in 1971, during the conference meeting held in New York, only one government could be recognized as the main government controlling China.
Needless to say, a poll was taken, and 35 countries voted against the People’s Republic of China, with a majority being some African Countries and the US at the forefront.
Despite the vote against the People’s Republic of China, they ended up ruling.
But, it didn’t end there.
In 2007, the UN General Assembly came together again to condemn the Human Right Situation in North Korea. Since North Korea and China are allies, it was China’s word alongside 43 African countries against the world.
This came as a shock to the world, especially because most African states will have coincided with the US, but clearly, Africa had a ‘ new big brother’ over the last decades.
China has benefited heavily from Africa’s diplomatic support in UN-related matters.
In the UN Assembly, all countries, no matter how small, count as a vote, and China has leveraged this because there are 54 countries in Africa.
It is arguable that some of the African countries that vote for China do so because of Billions of dollars owed to China. General Townsend of the US Army said
“They have lured African countries into what we call debt trap diplomacy. China has extended leases on critical Infrastructures like ports and airports.”
In 2015, Uganda borrowed USD 207 million from the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank). In November 2021, there were allegations that China would take over the Ugandan National Airport for its inability to pay.
The Chinese Embassy in Uganda denied all allegations and stated that
“Not one single project in Africa has ever been confiscated by China because of failing to pay Chinese loans.”
If you extrapolate on that statement, you’ll see that China isn’t saying in the near future that there won’t threaten to seize the airport. So it could be an option.
A documentary released on YouTube involving the construction of Kilamba city in Angola showed that most of the Infrastructure was built following a ‘Chinese Cultural’ style of design, plus the fact the workers enrolled with the Chinese company involved were all made to learn Mandarin.
China even went as far as to set up schools in the locality outside of their original task. It is estimated that at least 1 million Chinese migrants are in Africa, and the number just keeps going up as time passes.
China has even gone as far as influencing what Africans watch because they own Startimes, the biggest digital TV operator in Africa, with a monthly subscription as low as $4 monthly.
This seems very nice but what is interesting is the channels being broadcasted are non-US channels, some African channels, and a wide range of Chinese TV programs to select from.
63% of Africans believe China has their best interest at heart, but that’s not the case in Ghana.
Some people are starting to revolt, but they run the risk of being canceled since anti-Chinese stories are hidden from the spotlight.
It will be asinine to say over the last three decades, China hasn’t gained influence on African soil; whether for the better or for the worst is up to you to decide.
But data shows that something is definitely cooking in the background, and only time will tell.
Clement Maimo | History of Yesterday