A proportional and temporary decline in Chinese interest in Africa

Mostafa Ahmed Makled



The African leaders were interested in the communist congress which is organized every 5 years to put the new policies of the country. The African leaders had a hope to keep receiving the Chinese support in the political and economic fields especially at a time when the continent has had a cruel food crisis and a necessary need to development after consequences of Ukrainian war and its pressure.

China in African eyes:

African leaders care about China’s resumption of economic growth. The communist party is meeting at a time when China is currently pursuing “zero-COVID” policies and the biggest real estate company is facing a financial crisis. The real estate sector accounts for a quarter of the Chinese economy. beside a crisis in supply chains. And all of that causes the inflation which accounts for obstacles led to slowdown in China’s economic growth, which led to the slowdown in the pace of growth in relations with Africa. And that is the last thing which Africa want to occur After China provided financial facilities and support for development across the continent and became its first trading partner.

The Africans are hoping that china support the African union organization to has a bigger role in the international level by announcing about supporting the organization to be the twenty first member in G20.

Also, the Chinese influence in Africa as a result of aid, soft loans and huge investments, is making the west feels in geostrategic threaten in the continent with reflected in increasing of the western interest in Africa. Presenting himself as the real supporter of development in Africa, this situation based on competition between China and the West has given Africa advantages from both sides, which African leaders would like to continue.

The chinese economy:

The World Bank expected that the growth of the Chinese economy would reach only 2.8 percent this year, and 4.5 percent in 2023. Last March, China announced its quest to achieve a growth in GDP for this year of 5.5 percent because of Unusual hot and dry summer.  China is suffering from one of its worst heat waves in decades, This is straining already stressed energy supplies and reducing production in some parts of the country.

During the third quarter of this year, data showed that China recorded a growth of 3.9%, compared to the same period of the previous year, and the reading was higher than expectations, but despite the positive data, this reading raised the annual growth rate in China to 3.3 percent. This is still well below the authorities’ official target of 5.5%.

the Chinese trade with Africa in 2021 scored a new record of $254 billion. which shows that relations with Africa are strategic, but the consequences of the Ukrainian war on Africa led to a cooling of consumption and a decline in African demand for products. as well as a new trend appeared in China to reduce its production of consumer goods and focus on technology and achieve greater returns against traditional industries, which gives regional countries an opportunity to become an alternative center for exporting some goods in place of China, and reducing shipping support From China to the rest of the world, this negatively and significantly affected the presence of the Chinese product in Africa, with the cost of shipping from China increasing by about 3 times compared to the past two years, in addition to the increase in the cost of workers’ salaries.

Belt and Road Initiative:

Earlier, the Chinese president noted that the international environment for the Belt and Road has become “increasingly complex”, and stressed the need to strengthen risk controls. As a result of the slowdown in the global economy in general and China in particular, along with rising global interest rates and rising inflation, Chinese banks have sharply reduced lending to new projects in low-income countries, which means a slowdown in the pace of work on the initiative in Africa.

While China will not abandon its project that achieves its ambition of peaceful rise to domination of the world, it may reduce lending, due to domestic needs to ensure that lending is sustainable, and therefore China will need to be more selective in the projects that it can finance, especially in emerging economies. China’s participation in the initiative’s projects has begun to decrease in terms of the number of new contracts and the total value of the new project.

The work report presented by Xi Jinping to the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of China indicated a decline in interest in the Belt and Road Initiative on the list of priorities. On the other hand, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative The most recent are the two named in the section of China’s foreign policy in the report, and the Belt and Road Initiative does not appear in this section.

The Chinese president had proposed a global security initiative while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia in 2022. The initiative is based on six general obligations consistent with what was stated in the Charter of the United Nations, related to protecting international peace and security, respecting the sovereignty of countries, opposing the policy of blocs and seeking solutions peaceful.

 Such an initiative comes in light of the US-Chinese competition and the US’s endeavor to mobilize efforts and allies to confront the Chinese rise. Confronting the American moves regarding forming alliances against China such as “Ocos” and the American support for the island of Taiwan has become the first and main concern of the Chinese government.

He also proposed the Global Development Initiative to direct global development towards a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth in the face of severe shocks to the disease (Covid-19),and China places developing countries at the heart of this initiative, which reflects the continuation of the series of competition between the West and China to enhance the influence of those countries.

In conclusion, it can be said that the new political challenges, in addition to the internal policies adopted by the Communist Party and the internal financial crises that China is facing, have prompted it to rearrange its priorities and scrutinize some of its policies such as lending to developing countries, which may mean paying more attention to some geographical areas at the expense of Africa driven by research. More gains in light of competition with the United States and the energy crisis

The volume of trade between China and the Arab countries reached $330 billion during 2021, and China is also trying to arrange the holding of the first Chinese-Arab summit, after the importance that the Arab region gained after the Ukrainian war.

Reading the history of relations between China and Africa says that this proportional decline is just a temporary station as a result of temporary circumstances, after that China will seek to re-accelerate the pace of cooperation with Africa, which represents an important arena for bringing energy sources and relying on a large voting bloc in international institutions.

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