Under its new policy of industrial capacity cooperation and strategic complementarity, China has announced an increase in its investments to the continent by $60 billion in what observers are calling a “surprising pledge.”
The new strategy de-emphasizes Chinese need for Africa’s rich natural resources emphasizing instead 10 overarching plans for Sino-Africa cooperation.
Chines Excess Labour Shifting Plan
The plan covers almost all aspects of economic ties: industry, agriculture, infrastructure, environment, trade facilitation, poverty alleviation, public health and education. The overall direction fits in the readjustment of China’s Africa policy since the inauguration of President Xi Jinping.
China is keen on shifting its labor-intensive industries to Africa. Such industrial capacity cooperation is to be complemented by the export of China’s excess capacity to “support” African infrastructure projects and capacity building through technical assistance, vocational training, and fellowship programs.
Education and Chinese Culture Main Components
A major component of the new Chinese policy is education with cooperation in the area including 40,000 training opportunities in China and 30,000 government scholarships.
China will also invite 200 African scholars to visit China, offer 500 young Africans opportunities to study in China each year and train 1,000 media professionals from Africa.
Under the new policy, China will run agricultural development projects in 100 African villages, send 30 teams of agricultural experts to Africa, and establish a ‘10+10’ cooperation mechanism between Chinese and African agricultural research institutes.
Confucius Institutes to Spread Chinese Culture in Africa
Through its Confucius Institutes in universities across the continent – already increased to 46 in more than 30 African countries – China will intensify its spread of Chinese culture to Africa.
In this effort, referred to scholars by scholars as ‘soft power’ development, China has also increased government scholarships from 2,000 awards in 2006 to 4,000 in 2009 and 6,000 in 2015 for African students to study in China while also increasing its commitment to short-term training of African professionals from 10,000 to 30,000 between 2006 and 2015.
Between 2000 and 2011, more than 79,000 African students went to study in China.
Already tension is growing in some African countries such as Kenya where Chinese labour is accused of arrogance and racism and swarming projects finance with Chinese loans as well as engaging in petty trade not covered by international cooperation.