China, the world's second largest economy, has become Africa's largest trading partner. But it's a reality that many are increasingly wary of Chinese investment in the continent.
Some Western media outlets have criticized China's presence as being a form of neocolonialism that is bent on extracting African resources and expanding its political influence. Such criticism stems from three concerns.
The first is the Western elite's protectionism regarding its economic interests. For centuries, the West has considered Africa as its own investment region. While China's investment in Africa is rapidly growing, it is much less than that of the West. However, it has created a sense of insecurity in the West.
The second concern rises from a contrast between Western "Afro-Pessimism" and the Chinese view of Africa as a continent of opportunities. Although the West has been present in Africa for a few hundred years, they have considered it a region with no hope. However, China has found many business opportunities in Africa, which somehow irritates Westerners.
Still another concern is that in the past few decades, the West has resorted to the Washington Consensus as an ideological principle for global governance. China did not fully abide by the Washington Consensus in its domestic economic development or in its assistance to Africa and its investment there. These pose a challenge to the West's dominant ideology for global governance.
Western analysts tend to see China as a bossy patron, while my observation is that most Africans welcome Chinese investment as long as that investment creates decent job opportunities for them.
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