China’s profound economic presence in Africa has sparked a debate on the nature of the Chinese involvement and its implications for the continent. On Thursday, the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, noted the need for African countries to be wary of the Chinese government and its loan facilities.
Criticizing China’s loan structures to African governments, the U.S secretary of state said Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally,” adding that if a government accepts a Chinese loan and “gets into trouble”, it can “lose control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default.”
The battle for the African market has been largely between United States of America and china. Although Tillerson says the United States is not trying to keep Chinese investment away from the continent, he warns African countries to be wary of Chinese loans.
“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese ‘dollars’ from Africa, but it is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty,” he said.
Quite often critics seize every opportunity to criticize the Chinese government for exploiting Africa’s natural resources more than it is spurring development. However, critics fail to realise the similarities between the China’s involvement and America’s in Africa; they both seek to increase their economic engagement in Africa.
Noting the patterns, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned Tillerson who repeatedly condemned the Chinese government by saying China’s investments in Africa “encouraged dependency, utilized corrupt deals and endangered Africa’s natural resources.”
It is believed that Tillerson is seeking to bolster economic and security alliances on a continent increasingly turning to China for aid and trade, while seeking smooth relations with African countries after President Donald Trump reportedly dismissed some African nations as “Shithole countries” in January, a comment he later denied.