Chinese investments in Africa between 2006 and 2020: Energy captures the most investments

According to a report by the American “think tank” “Atlantic Council”, more than 45% of Chinese investments in Africa, between 2006 and 2020, were concentrated in six countries.
The total amount of these investments is estimated at more than 300 billion dollars.

Since 2000, Chinese trade and investment in Africa has exploded. China could play the leading roles on the continent where it is the main investor in the green energy sector, far ahead of France and Italy. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency, Chinese companies are currently building 30% of new power capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, more than two hundred projects between 2010 and 2020.

A national security strategy supplies

Chinese diplomacy has been the catalyst, combining aid and public loans for infrastructure projects, the latter being entrusted to large public companies. These financial arrangements sometimes took the form of package deals providing for remunerating the Chinese partner in raw materials.

This dynamic is part of China’s national strategy to secure its supplies. Secondly, Chinese companies faced with a highly competitive domestic market came to seek new outlets. In recent years, China has multiplied investments in sub-Saharan Africa. Funding that has enabled the Middle Kingdom to expand its presence on the continent, and its companies to acquire new market shares. To the great displeasure of powers such as France and the United States, traditional partners of these countries. The American “think tank” “Atlantic Council” looked into the main countries that receive these funds. In a report published on March 16, the organization reveals that the energy, transport, metals and real estate sectors concentrated 87% of the investments made by Beijing in the region between 2006 and 2020. Amounts injected in the form of direct investments and construction contracts financed by loans issued by Chinese banks.

According to the document, 601 investments worth $303 billion were made in sub-Saharan Africa during this period, mainly by Chinese state-owned companies. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Angola, Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo concentrate more than 45%.

China favors countries with maritime facades

Abuja is one of the key destinations for funds injected by China into the economies of the continent, with 13% of this funding. “These preferred destinations for investment by the Middle Kingdom south of the Sahara are regional economic powers, countries very rich in natural resources or countries with significant demographic weight,” explains Atlantic Council. focused on the most targeted sectors. We learn that energy monopolized the most investments during this period (34%) with more than 100 billion dollars, followed by transport (29%, or 89 billion), metals (13%, nearly of 40 billion), and real estate (11%, 32 billion).

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According to the document, China favors countries with seafronts. As proof, 67% of projects are carried out there. “Between 2006 and 2020, 406 investments were made in African countries with seafronts against 195 investments in landlocked countries,” he says.

At the same time, trade between the Middle Kingdom and African countries followed an upward trend. Indeed, the share of China in the economic relations of these states has increased from 4% in 2001 to 25.6% in 2020, specifies the think tank.

In contrast, those of the United States and the European Union fell by 10 and 8 percentage points respectively. “In 2019, China was the top exporter of goods to 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of imports from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Beijing ranked first in 13 countries in the region and in the Top 3 in 22 countries”.

This predominance of China has been confirmed by the General Administration of Chinese Customs. In a report published in January 2023, the institution reveals that trade between Beijing and the countries of the continent reached a record amount of 282 billion dollars in 2022, an increase of 11% compared to 2021.

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