When China Met Africa

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The arrival of President Obama in Africa in the summer of 2013 brought into focus a number of trends affecting the continent. Economic growth, democratic reforms and environmental sustainability were all on the agenda. And one of the President’s central aims for the trip was to encourage US-Africa trade. It’s fair to say that the President’s efforts were a direct result of the extraordinary level of Chinese involvement in all aspects of Africa’s economic life.

The story of Chinese investment in Africa is a long one and has undergone enormous change in recent years. After hundreds of years of trading relationships plied across oceans between Chinese merchants and their African counterparts, trading everything from spices to gemstones, by the 1990s Chinese money was mostly focused on the large-scale extraction and purchase of raw materials...

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