China offers Africa new round of soft loans
China has offered Africa a new round of soft loans over three years, doubling Beijing’s aid to $10 billion since 2006. Cheap Chinese goods and labour gives Beijing more bang for its buck when it comes to building roads, railways and ports across the continent, mainly in return for minerals concessions. But it’s China’s two-way annual trade with Africa - now standing at $107 billion - that is really taking off. This relationship has Western countries worried. They accuse China of wanting only cheap minerals, while ignoring human rights and offering little by way of social investment (read Western-style aid). In return, the Chinese say Europeans still treat Africa like a colony. While Western firms have been leery of African investment since the global stock market crash, the Chinese state has encouraged it. It looks like the bottom-line is the only measure of reality for Africans, however constituted. And that China is the only player in the ball-park. Read more: Reuters, BBC, M&G, Reuters
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