In a direct response to skeptics, Chinese officials have said that China has no intention of colonizing Africa economically or industrially through its investments. This came during the ongoing seminar in Tianjin, China, titled “The Construction and Management of Development in Industrial Area.” The seminar was organized by Tianjin Technological and Economical Development Area (TEDA) Group of Companies, and is sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce. Twenty-seven English-speaking delegates were invited to the three-week seminar, where China expressed its plans to invest in Africa’s development.
Wang Kai, the Divisional Deputy Director of the TEDA Administrative Commission, spoke at the seminar. “It is not that we want to colonize Africa economically or technologically as it is being rumored in some countries,” he said. “The Chinese investors had entered into agreements with some African states to invest in part of their countries that would span some decades. After the expiration of the agreement, the investments in those countries would revert to the host countries. It is part of the development and industrialization process.”
Essentially, China would create new industrial projects, such as factories, in willing African countries and maintain them over a long period of time. Once the contract with the host country expires, the countries would gain control over these facilities. The length of these investment projects is a source of worry for those who believe China hopes to gain economic control in African host countries.
Chinese officials continue to encourage African countries to open new trade zones to bring in foreign investors. Having grown into the world’s second largest economy in the last 30 years, China looks to share its strategy for growth and reform with developing African nations. Nigeria, Zambia and Namibia were listed as African countries that are already on board with China’s investment projects.
Wu Xiaxong, the Divisional Chief, National Development and Reform Commission of China, described the investments as mutually beneficial. “When these projects are completed, African and Chinese nationals will benefit from them as they would provide large scale employment opportunities for all.”