chapter  13
African regional groupings and emerging Chinese conglomerates
Pages 20

China’s economic growth in the past two decades is in sharp contrast to the economic decline and political implosion in much of Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. On the one hand, not only has China’s economic growth been reinforced by foreign direct investment (FDI) and accumulation of foreign exchange but also it has transformed some Chinese state corporations into emerging conglomerates on the international scene. In turn, China’s economic growth has given rise to a greater demand for natural resources. On the other hand, Africa’s economic decline and political implosion has led to the designation of many African countries as heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC), which in turn has placed most of them on a ‘HIPC diet’ by international financial institutions (IFIs) and ‘Western’ donors. However the availability of natural resources in Africa implies that some African countries fare well, positioned to form effective partnerships with Chinese conglomerates for infrastructure development in Africa and to export natural resources from Africa to China.