chapter
5 Pages

Introduction

China’s emergence as an economic and political force was envisioned long ago by one of the great leaders of France-Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1803, he observed that China was like a sleeping giant and that when she awakens, she will astonish the world. His exact words were, “there lies a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world” (Bertrant, 1916). Napoleon’s vision and prophecy has come true, and China, the sleeping giant, has awoken and is shaking the world, so to speak, in numerous ways: politically, economically, socially and technologically. This is making the traditional global powers uncomfortable, and they have every reason to be. Amongst many of the discomforts that China’s emergence has created in politics, trade, economics and technology is its having to face allegations that it manipulates its currency, it does not compete fairly, and it does not respect the human rights of its citizens, to mention just a few. Some of these allegations can be observed as having some merit, and others do not. A rather important discomfort that China has created is its current increased engagement with Africa, a region long regarded by Africa’s traditional allies as “la chasse gardée” literally translated as “their hunting grounds” or their “spheres of influence”; hence, nobody should tamper with “their Africa.”