A lengthy piece in the Asia Times online edition discusses China’s ever-increasing footprint in Africa, arguing that this manifestation of China replacing the West as the “dominant economic and political force in Africa epitomizes the most dramatic shift in geopolitics since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
In its global quest for mineral resources, China has overtaken the United States as Africa’s main trading partner, with trade and investment having grown by a whopping 1,000% between 2000 and 2010. Recent agreements include multi-billion deals with Angola, Ghana, and the DRC, providing China with access to oil and critical non-fuel mineral resources. A number of countries other than China, among them India, Brazil, Russia and Turkey as well as several Persian Gulf states, have realized the continent’s potential and are investing heavily in Africa.
With the continent harboring 40% of the world’s gold and more than 85% of its platinum and chromium, as well as vast reserves of vanadium, cobalt, diamonds, chrome and iron ore, not to mention its yet-to-be discovered resources, expect Africa to play an increasing role in future mineral supply scenarios. Hopefully, the U.S. can determine what its own role will be soon – the rest of the world won’t wait for us as they look to meet their critical mineral needs.