Book #26: China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa by Howard W. French – ‪#‎100BooksChallenge2016‬


Favourite Take Away

In little more than a decade, China went from being a poor society with an economy that produced few goods for export and imported little, to positioning itself to become the so-called factory of the world, as we recognize it today.

China has gone from being a vessel to becoming an increasingly transformative actor in its own right. Indeed, it is rapidly emerging as the most important agent of economic change in broad swaths of the world.

Chinese banks, construction companies, and other enterprises in ever growing variety conspicuously roam the planet nowadays in search of outlets for their money and goods, for business and markets, and for the raw materials needed to sustain China’s rapid growth.

As they do so, China is increasingly writing its own rules, and reinventing globalization in its own image, gradually jettisoning many of the norms and conventions used by the United States and Europe throughout their long and hitherto largely unchallenged tutelage of the Third World.

Beijing has achieved this, in part, by engineering a kind of modern-day barter system in which developing countries pay for new railroads, highways, and airports through the guaranteed, long-term supply of hydrocarbons or minerals, thus helping Chinese companies win massive new contracts. In hundreds of other deals, China’s Export-Import Bank and other big, state-controlled “policy bank” counterparts have teamed up to offer attractive project financing that is usually tied to the use of Chinese companies, Chinese materials, and Chinese workers.

Chinese are doing a lot of highly visible things, parachuting hardware [the chinese concentrate on building major, very visible projects like bridges and stadiums], but not really involving themselves in the hard work of institutional development and of capacity building.

China (Hardware) vs West (Software)

Hardware – Visible projects such as Stadiums, Bridges, Monuments etc which African leaders need for validation with electorates

Software – Capacity Development for youths & institutional development (YALI, Exchange Programs, Scholarships et al)

Chinese Modern Day Barter System

African Union Headquarters – Adiss Ababa Ethiopia built as a gift for the African Union for $200 M

$60 Million Mozambique Stadium

Ghana National Theatre

Chinese-built, 159-bed Lusaka General Hospital

newly built university campus that was China’s gift to the country, and its single biggest aid project to date.

Chinese-built agricultural school in Gbarnga


China’s big projects here: the third big bridge over the Niger; a major new hospital; a National Assembly headquarters; a new stadium; two sugar factories in the north; a textile factory in Ségou; new highway construction. “All this is about is development assistance.”

China’s trade with Africa zoomed to an estimated $200 billion in 2012, a more than twenty-fold increase since the turn of the century, placing it well ahead of the United States or any European country.

Chinese head of state, Jiang Zemin, in 1996. In a speech at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jiang proposed the creation of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Among China’s many pledges, Jiang promised to double development assistance to the continent,

Create a $5 billion African development fund,Cancel outstanding debt,Build a new African Union headquarters in Ethiopia,Create three to five “trade and cooperation” zones around the continent, build thirty hospitals and a hundred rural schools, and train fifteen thousand African professionals.

According to Fitch Ratings, China’s Export-Import Bank extended $62.7 billion in loans to African countries between 2001 and 2010, or $12.5 billion more than the World Bank. A research group called AidData, at the College of William and Mary, estimated China’s total commitments during roughly the same period at $74.11 billion, and put the value of its completed projects at $48.61 billion.

China has 20 percent of the world’s population, and only 9 percent of its farmland. There were only two large developing countries with less arable land per capita: Egypt and Bangladesh, and massive construction, pollution, and erosion were whittling away at China’s farmlands all the time.

Africa alone has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and whatever Beijing declares, it stands to reason that China will come to see its food security as increasingly bound up in bringing that land into intensive


Without hard work, destiny is meaningless.”