In the news today, African commentators look to China for solutions to the economic downturn which is increasingly damaging emerging markets inAfrica. The increasing power and influence China enjoys in Africa is evident in the hopes of commentators that the Chinese domestic stimulus will haven a knock on effect on commodity prices. The African economy has become increasingly reliant on Chinese demand for its metals and minerals and Beijing’s domestic rescue plan includes an extensive building program, which is likely to prop up prices.
There is fresh optimism fro the long stuttering Doha round, as world leaders have offered renewed commitment to completing a deal before the end of 2008. It remains to be seen how the now entrenched obstacles to its progress might be overcome, but the added impetus of impending global recession seems to have galvanised opinion on the need for an agreement on trading. It remains to be seen whether the USA will agree to cut its farm subsidies whilst also allowing for a “special safeguard mechanism” to protect poor country farmers from a surge in imports.
Chinese infrastructure projects continue to go on throughout Africa. Despite the embarrassment associated with the failed Nigcomsat-1, it has emerged that plans are afoot to launch a 2nd satellite for disaster monitoring and management. There will be increased scrutiny of this project, and a further failure could prove a devastating blow to the discredited program. In Kenya it has been announced that the Thika road, an 8 lane highway will start construction today, in a move which looks to modernise Kenya’s road network.
Finally, Business Daily reports a Ugandan coffee company enjoying success within China. Most of the traffic between China and Africa has been Chinese influence within the African continent, so the success of African companies within China represents a burgeoning of a more equitable relationship. More examples like this will serve to dampen criticism of a ‘neo-colonialist’ China in Africa.