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In the recent Forum on Chinese-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China has secured its ties with Africa by pledging almost twice as much aid money as last year. President Hu Jintao promised $20 billion to help develop infrastructure and agriculture in Africa.
China’s interest and investment in Africa is purely to do with the continents hydrocarbon reserves.
Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou recently visited CNPC in China and praised them for “turning Niger into an oil producer.” Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama has also thanked applauded China’s $1 billion loan which helped develop its natural gas industry.
In little more than a decade CNPC has secured itself in the energy sectors of nearly a dozen African countries. It entered Sudan in 1996; Tunisia in 2002; Chad, Algeria, and Niger in 2003; Mauritania in 2004; Libya in 2005; and Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea in 2006.
Recently interest in Africa has increased even more after huge natural gas reserves were discovered in East Africa off the coast of Tanzania and Mozambiqie.
Western companies have always vied against China for market share in Africa, however, whereas the West refuse to work with any regime which is considered rogue, China shows no such qualms and readily ignores human rights abuse in order to establish itself in a country and win the rights to its oil and gas fields.
In 2006 Amnesty International announced that China had become the world’s largest small-arms dealer, and that most of that was exported to Africa in order to support certain governments there who have appalling human rights records but valuable hydrocarbon resources. China quickly denied the claims, claiming that Amnesty International was being politically manipulated by the West.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com