Scramble for African Trade Heightens Economic Predator Alert

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  • US – China trade war plus UK post-Brexit hots up foreign investment activity on the African continent.
  • China’s President Xi Jinping pledges $60 billion to investment in Africa.
  • May recently announced that the British government would invest £4 billion in African economies.

Is the US-China trade war influencing the message coming out of Beijing this week and has post-Brexit strategy pushed the UK to address the African continent?

At the opening of the China-Africa forum on cooperation, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion to African nations. This matches the size of funds offered at the last summit in 2015, which is made up of aid and loans.

For Africa’s poorest nations, China will also undertake to write off government debt from Chinese interest-free loans due by year-end. This is good news, but the experts – who warn that China’s debt relief policies have not changed – are wary that the pledge won’t have a positive impact on Africa’s development and will load the continent with an unsustainable debt burden.

Another major economic power seeking to plant deep roots in Africa’s soil is the UK. In a perceived post-Brexit desperation lunge, UK Prime Minister Theresa May visited South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria in efforts to deepen economic ties between Britain and the continent.

During the South African leg of her trip, May announced that the British government would invest £4 billion in African economies, whereby the UK Chamber of Commerce in South Africa will support the successful delivery of this investment.

The key to Africa’s development will be in negotiating these and other economic predators to assist in industrialising the continent’s economies. Emphasising manufacturing goods and exporting finished products has far more value than exporting raw materials.

Next week I travel to Nairobi, Kenya to attend the Future Energy East Africa conference and exhibition at the KICC on 12-13 September – I trust that the conversation will unpack some of the projects that international governments can and are already investing in.

Author: Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of ESI Africa.

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission. Link to original


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