China’s Occupation of Africa
All the African countries have once been colonized by a foreign power – the major foreign powers who colonized African countries are the Britain and France. The only African country not fully captured by any European colonialist is Ethiopia. Immediately after the Scramble for Africa meeting held in Berlin, Germany, Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia) was invaded by Italian Army, in 1896, when Melenik was the Emperor of Ethiopia. The Italian Army suffered a great defeat in the hands of one hundred thousand soldiers of Ethiopia, and that is the greatest suffered by any European power in the hand of an African country. Unfortunately, the Italian Army of Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia the second time in Ethiopia, in 1935, but was later defeated.
Today, the pains and agonies confronted by African countries colonized by European countries cannot be forgotten quickly. Africans were treated as slaves, and the resources were plundered and looted by Europeans which they used to build their own countries to become the envy of all.
Africa cannot afford to go under such excruciating pains any longer, and that is why there is global opprobrium over the new generous partner that Africa is dining and wining with – China. The Chinese and African political and public figures have been hobnobbing together lately.
China, an Asian country, has always stated that they are interested in partnering Africa, as a continent, so that the two partners can share a mutual relationship together. The political leaders in China have maintained their stance to develop Africa, particularly in terms of infrastructures. It is quite understandable that one of the major plights bewildering African countries is infrastructure. Infrastructure is the vehicle of development, and that is why Africa is lagging. China has started leading the packs in the infrastructural development. In contrary to the United States of America and European Community interventions in Africa, China decides to focus majorly on building infrastructures.
In China’s Belt and Road Initiatives, China financed a $4 billion railway which connects landlocked Ethiopia with the port of Djibouti. In Djibouti, China has even opened the first phase of a $3.5 billion project, which is aimed to create Africa’s largest free-trade zone. In the Southern part of the continent, Zambia, China is building a $548 cement plant. All these are a few examples of China’s infrastructural intervention projects on the continent.
Recently, all the African leaders gathered in Beijing, China for the 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the President of China, Xi Jinping, announced that the country is ready to commit $60 billion to African countries. The announcement has been greeted with criticisms by the Western media.
To understand China’s focus in Africa, the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia is built by China. The 99.9 meters tall building was built by the Government of China, and $200 million was spent. Meanwhile, there have been accusations that the China’s government have been spying on the servers of building, and gaining confidential information.
China’s economic presence in Africa has been condemned as an attempt to colonize the continent again. Analysts, and Foreign Affairs experts opine that China is the new imperialist with the recent plan to acquire Zambia’s National Electricity Company and telecom firm, due to the failure of the country to fulfill the loan repayment promise.
Irrespective of China’s major aim in Africa, Africa’s leaders must be very careful in their engagement with China.