Why fears of China’s neocolonialism in Africa ring false in the face of numbers that tell a different tale

The debate on China’s relations with Africa is back in the spotlight following this month’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Many Western countries assume that most African nations will gradually fall into China’s neocolonial trap, citing the Belt and Road Initiative and the opening of the People’s Liberation Army’s first support base in Djibouti. Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy or just an imaginary fear? The answer may lie in the economic, security and historical exchanges between China and Africa.

For China, Africa is a natural partner with a shared future. When providing economic aid to many African nations, China has been found to help them build their own economic development frameworks. A McKinsey report in 2017 shows that Chinese projects in Africa have created several…

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