Why Is China Investing Billions in Africa? | NowThis World

China has invested billions of dollars into the continent of Africa to build massive infrastructure projects. Much of this infrastructure is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an estimated 1 trillion dollar plan to connect the country to trade routes all over the world. African leaders like Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta have favorably compared China’s investments to earlier projects built by colonial powers. While the old railway was built by force and violence against the wishes of those whose land it divided, the new railway is built by consent and partnership both between ourselves and China and between the governments which will prosper and profit by it. But is China’s investment in the continent actually a “win-win” as some African and Chinese leaders have said? Or just a new form of colonialism on a continent that’s experienced so much of it? In this episode, we’re examining China’s Belt and Road Initiative and what it might mean for Africa. While China’s Belt and Road Initiative was only proposed in 2013, the country’s first infrastructure project on the African continent was built decades ago. The Tazara railway, completed in 1976, was built to connect copper mines in Zambia to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s former capital. The Tazara railway was the first infrastructure project built on a pan-African scale. China’s Belt and Road projects will be designed with this scale in mind, creating new trade routes within and between African countries. In 2017, a Chinese firm opened a railway network in Kenya, connecting its capital Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa. There are already plans to extend this network into South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. China, through its public and private sectors, has already loaned about $132 billion to African countries from 2006 to 2017. Many observers worry that African countries won’t be able to pay back these debts, placing them in what’s been called a quote “debt trap.” The Jubilee Debt Campaign, which campaigns for poor countries’ debts to be canceled, estimates that about 20% of debt held by African governments is owed to China, making it the single largest lending nation. For comparison, 35% of African debt is owed to multilateral, global institutions like the World Bank. Earlier waves of Chinese firms that invested in Africa made mistakes that caused problems for those countries’ governments. Starting in 2005, tens of thousands of workers from China poured into the west African country of Ghana to take advantage of a gold rush. This eventually provoked a local backlash due to accusations of illegal mining, inflaming tensions between Chinese miners and the local government. Many observers have pointed to projects like this as examples of China exploiting Africa for its natural resources through quote “neo-colonialist behavior.” However, other observers contend that the majority of investment from China has largely avoided creating the problems seen in Ghana’s gold mines, precisely because resource extraction has not been the main focus of other investments. In fact, the number one industry for Chinese investment has been the service industry, according to IMF economist Wenjie Cheng. She also points out that the countries where China’s investment has been largest include those without abundant natural resources, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, in addition to resource-rich countries like Nigeria. Ultimately, African governments may feel that the risk of accumulating debt is outweighed by the benefits of new infrastructure. The China Africa Research Initiative found that roughly 40% of China’s loans between 2000 and 2015 went towards paying for energy projects and another 30% went toward modernizing transportation on the continent. These loans were set at relatively low interest rates and with longer periods of time to pay them back. The Center for Global Development crunched the numbers on debt to China as a result of the Belt and Road Initiative, and found that eight of the 71 countries involved in the project were particularly vulnerable to getting caught in a debt trap. Of these eight countries, only one was in Africa: Djibouti, a port country that’s also become a military strategic point for China. The other seven countries are in Europe and Asia. Nevertheless, China has denied engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy. In an attempt at thisto strengthen this collaboration, China has also promised to align its goals for the Belt and Road Initiative with the African Union’s own development goals of greater interconnectivity on the continent. However, these promises have yet to be outlined. Ultimately, China’s push in Africa may be seeking to increase the country’s influence, rather than reap financial gains. Its investments are already strengthening China’s alliances with African governments, to China’s benefit. Every African country but eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has cut ties with Taiwan, a prerequisite for diplomatic relations with mainland China. Some observers think that as African countries rise economically, they could actually have the upper hand by the time they negotiate payments back to China. This explains why African leaders have been so confident in calling Chinese investment a “win-win,” but only time will tell if their long game pans out. So do you think China’s investments in Africa will be a boon to the continent, or are they a form of neocolonialism? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for watching NowThis World, don’t forget to like and subscribe.

Paul Whisler


  1. The same reasons the BRITISH, FRENCH, PORTUGUESE, GERMANS, BELGIANS and ITALIANS did= to control natural resources, provide a market for their own manufactured products and make lots of $$$$$$$$(especially for themselves and their collaborating African elites). The only differences are the language and the skin color of the "investors".

  2. For centuries the western powers colonized Africa and enslaved its people with no interest of their well being and their land. Fast forward centuries later and China is creating a developmental partnership and these same western colonialist which had Africa from the 18th Century have the NERVES to comment. The politics of "divide and conquer" is old and doesn't work in any part of the world today. The same development and civilization claimed by the West has unintendedly opened up the world making every nation more aware of its resources and what its worth on a global scale. China will definitely uplift Africa in the coming centuries while becoming a super power itself.

  3. USA and its cult had sucked Africa dry for centries , now Africa welcome China, they know who are their friends, stop pointing your dirty fingures!

  4. China is doing what benefits their country. I am sure this is not free money. lol

  5. Africa nations needs to better leverage its position with Chinese and other foreign investors. Africa holds all the cards due to being home to five of the world's top oil-producing countries, with an estimated 57 percent of Africa's export earnings from hydrocarbons. Africa is also  richly endowed with mineral reserves and ranks first or second in quantity of world reserves. It can group together the growing markets of its regional blocs, such as the East African Community, to negotiate more rewarding trade and financial deals. African countries could diversify their economies as much as possible away from supplying unprocessed natural resources to China. This will make them less dependent on the vagaries of both the Chinese economy and the ups and downs of global commodity prices. African nations should also prepare for the day when they no longer have natural resources to sell. They should move towards transforming natural resource wealth into human capital, by investing revenues into health and education. African countries need to encourage Chinese investment into more labor intensive sectors. African countries could negotiate better terms with Chinese investors, including quality control and better linkages with local economies. African governments could urge China to improve market access for African goods overseas, for example in trade fora such as the World Trade Organization. Africa could keep working to make itself as attractive a business environment as possible.

  6. We okay we "British white men were wrong to colonize countries in Africa and all over the world we were wrong." .. no doubt however aren't you at least suspicious to why all of a sudden they just "want to help rebuild infrastructure and build hospital's".. they want you to get into debt then say err forget about that debt we will just build military base on your coast.

  7. China knows thst if Africa develops it will be a powerful market for everybody. Key to development is infrastucture..

  8. The West vs China in Africa
    1) The West treats Africans as slave & laborer, while China treats them as equal symbiotic trading partners
    2) The West send solders to colonize & steal, while China send businessman to provide capital, invest & trade
    3) The West enslave millions via the slave trade, while China provide jobs to millions via industrialization
    4) The West force extract mineral & plantation, while China provide knowledge & infrastructures to mine natural resource
    5) The West support arms sales for African civil wars, while China develops agriculture, factories, roads, railways etc
    6) The West left Africa in poverty after years of colonization, while China progress & develops without colonization

  9. China is helping African to get rich so they can afford cheap Chinese products in the long run a win win solution

  10. Africa is rich in natural resources so they can easily repay China. The west does not understand the Asian way.

  11. Before china go to afica, west country leaders call afica shithole, land of darkness, then now west country start care their "black brothers“.

  12. Yeah, normally we in the west don't ask or invest into Africa, we just take.

    What's with this investing into Africa shenanigans China 😕⁉

  13. Ethiopia averaged 10% gdp growth in the last 10 years better than the India miracle, if the whole Africa goes th e w ay as the Ethiopia th en Africans which account for 20%. World population will join chines3 20% world population and south Asians and southeast Asians to be the majority of humanity governing global affairs according to majority rule.

  14. I wonder why they use chinease ladies to spread propaganda against china😉

  15. At the UN General Assembly, 43 africa countries support China, And China regards them as brothers…. african do not have TV sets, no electricity and water conservancy, no transportation and buildings, China has very low profits to help them, so Westerners are very dissatisfied, especially in the United States. Today, african are once again difficult to be colonising Africa by Westerners

  16. Still the same thing but a completely different approach these countries can't pay back this enormous bill they can't even run their own country, with out their puppet masters. Good to see development but the cost is high

  17. I'm a Ghanaian teen. I'm into Tech and i believe Africa and Asia are the future, others know this as well. Therefore, i'm pretty sure China is aware and they're up to something evil with all these loans they're giving us. For short, they're trying to make us indebted to them thereby totally taking care a potential competition.

  18. Ugh Oh just like I read in the liberation of the African Mind. European Man came from the west. Arabs from the North and Asian man from the east.

  19. yes by china they bring in their own workers to do the work not to educate

  20. Even if the investment is shady, it's not unpleasant like Americans or Europeans….. I mean China is actually showing peace and progress rather than words of pity….. All I have seen growing up is people of West pitying Africa and Middle East like they themselves are better.

  21. HMmm… wattabout America and Europe done to Africa or the rest of the world, NO NEWS ??? or just plain fake news.

  22. Is it called debt trap when it is China and is it debt “solution” when it is USA/World Bank?

  23. Absolutely brilliant strategy by China. I truly hope Africa benefits greatly from this.

  24. Why is the West stealing billions from Africa in terms of natural resources? Now This Double Standards.

  25. This is why China will win the long game and win the 21st century … they are actually adding value to Africa they are coming in good faith, it’s only a win if both parties walk away happy, and for now that seems to be so, unlike America whose currently trying to overthrow Venezuela’s President, imposing crippling sanctions just to do so even contemplating military intervention smh

  26. This is Africa being used once again… Nothing is new under the sun…

  27. The West has never bothered about Africa. To the west, Africa is dirt, there's nothing to gain there. BUT when China believe in the people of Africa and started to invest there, the west started to make noise, all kinds of noise,…..not out of concern for Africa, which the west will never be. They are annoyed and angry that China is investing in Africa….that's it..they wont invest in Africa but they are angry and against China is investing in Africa.

  28. What a stupid host is this talking about China neocolonialism in Africa. The host need to refer to the English dictionary and get a lesson in history to know the true meaning of neocolonialism. China has never colonize Africa and to interject this term on China means the host is making fake news.

  29. U.S just bomb bomb bomb " Freedom, Liberty and demoracy "
    China just build build build " Invasion "
    People need bomb not road ?

  30. Hey look at that, a NOW THIS video that isn't complete propaganda. But of course the audience you sowed for yourself is incapable of even hearing the points made in this video. This is on you NOW THIS. This is your doing. Sit in it and enjoy, because this is what you wanted.
    the people in the comment section here don't realize NOW THIS is trying to make the woke argument here, against capitalism and "buying Africa" but they completely missed the woker point.

  31. US wants Africa keep undeveloped. China wants to help the undeveloped.

  32. China takes in zero Africans Europe sends aid with no need for payment yet whitey is the bad one to u ppl. Fkin insane. American logic is embarrassing

  33. Africa just getting teed up to be China's China. Pay the Africans little to uplift them out of poverty.
    Its not a bad deal, but instability and tribalism will probably blow up their infrastructure.
    Or the chinese can just seize ports and mines to settle their debts.

  34. It matters not if its a debt trap or not. China investing in countries with BRI will further fund they're ultimate goal in space. Spaced based solar power stations. They're space program will need massive finance to build this SBPS station. After collecting solar power from it, beam it back to earth and countries in the BRI would be powered, as well as internet. No reason to think China wont accomplish this. Once African countries modernize through China investments and infrastructure those countries will feel beholden to China. Huge mistake by the west to no invest this way in Africa, South America and other countries. Only president Trump supports this kind of investment. Yes, its massive cost up front to modernize any nation, let alone several, but over the long haul you earn loyalty and profits galore. Its worked in China as the nation isn't held hostage by Xi, they believe because they are getting something. Modernization and growth. Same will go for these other countries. As Trump attempts a revitalization of the US economy by way of derailing the central banking system, he intends to invest more heavily in South America, much like China has done with Africa. Problem is, every four years there's an election and any new Democrat president will certainly derail this, much like how Obama killed larger investments abroad and domestically.

    China's future lies in space mining on the moon, asteroids and other bodies. They've already targeted a asteroid estimated ore worth of 20 trillion dollars and plan to control free fall it to earth and mine it in the 2030's. China plans to be the worlds leading Space Nation by 2040. If the USA has not established a mining directive in space to rival this, stays on the central banking system and fails to develop zero point energy China will succeed. Over the last 17 years, China has hit nearly every space program deadline, have no reason to think they wont meet this one given current world politics. We could very well see a blooming African Space Agency within the next decade even. China isn't looking for more mouths to feed of other nations, its looking to develop and create business partners of these nations to reduce the time it would take to mine space and beat the USA to it.

    President Trump in the USA already recognizes this and just this week solidified new Space plans with Japan, and other nations. China though adding other nations to potential future space programs must complete with multiple space programs of the US. NASA, Blue Origin and Space X, and possibly others. However they will all work within the confines or given roles. Space X for heavy lift and transport, colony building on the Moon and Mars. Blue Origin the same with more and more emphasis on mining on the moon, and LEO transport. Someone better tell Jack Ma to form a Space Company her certainly could afford or fund one.

  35. So you western people colonized and abused Africa, and now when China is willing to help Africa which you would not, you call it colinization and try to create hate between Africa and China. I'm just sick of these western hypocrisy.

  36. The title says" why is China investing in Africa", I thought the content is supposed to list out reasons China want to invest in Africa, the benefits for China, but it seems that the presenter talks mainly about how the investment will affect African countries.

  37. China is slowly buying Africa
    Soon enough China will own half of the world

  38. if you help african to build electric power, they must buy your electric appliances after power is being cheap. what problem for win-win cooperation? you help them, they will help you! this is chinese world concept of helping each others.

  39. China should send 70,000,00 to 80,000,000 to Africa to help the Country get up to date. And have all those Chinese people settle there as well. All through out Africa from Mauritania to Sudan and everything south of that in Africa. And send some on over to the Bahamas. So With the wealth that China has they should buy land in Africa with the money they have. Buy lands in places that you think is best. This is the only and best option for the country of Africa going forward. There is a big difference in hard earned money and stolen money. The things people had to go through and learn. So those that invented cars, planes, trains and all these means of transportation for the world to be what it is in the last 4,5 or 6 hundred years. Those that invented Your Honda's and all the Asian vehicles are entitled to what they invented even including those in Europe. And for the electronic companys like Samsung and Sony as well. And even the ones in China are intituled to there stuff as well.

  40. Papa coming home, coming through the back door, front door side doors, windows, vents and any opening I see.

  41. And with that same same money we willkick thrm all the gucl out. You playing the Europeans game will work for you pee skins. We will rub of the stain of all of you from Africa. NOTHING WILL STOP US. AFRICANS UNITE. VAND TOGETHER AND WXPELL THE ASIANS. THIS LAND IS OUR LAND! NOBODY CAN TAKE IT FROM US!

  42. Ok so your saying that, we colonize people when we give them moneies, wtf?

  43. Western media be like: uhhhh China is colonizing africa 1890 colorized..

  44. They make these vids as if they care about Africans…lol..The west has no room to talk about anyone.

  45. The US: Bombs people in the name of "democracy and human rights" whilst being great allies with Saudi Arabia
    The world: Wow! great work America! 😍😍😍 Human rights!

    China: Sets up friendly relations with third world countries by providing them with huge economic development and growth so that people live more happily and prosperously

    The world: Omg how dare China do such a thing this shows how evil China is 😡 Basically colonialism 2.0 absolutely atrocious

  46. it very well may become a win/win situation, depending on how deeply committed the African leaders are to the overall well-being of its citizens.
    moreover, should China recognize the virtue of the humanity of the people of such resource-rich land, it will insure its own sacred humanity in the eyes of the universe.

  47. You can only trade with someone who has the ability to provide trade. Give you a fish you eat for a day, teach you to fish, you become self-sufficient.

    Unlike the American funding both side of the war, and when any one of them win, they start to put the country into a debt trap. Then help themselves with the dirt cheap labour and mining till the country depleted.

  48. China is expanding like colonization. Mexico is colonizing not immigranting

  49. The west only concern of losing power over the world. African people are not stupid. This is not the 1600

  50. Okay guys it seems you can handle yourselves now. So we're pulling away our billions of financial aid we give you annually and let's see how you do with China, thanks!

  51. they are worried that china and africa are becoming the world power and they can't stop it.

  52. Why did the west kill Nhurumah, lumumba? Is wht US did to Libya any development? US's Destruction of middle East, simply can't justify or guarantee any better relationship of US/Europe with Africa

  53. It's a Win win Africa has a lot of Diamonds and Minerals. -Go figure

  54. 20% of all African countries debt is owned by China…. and 67% of US’ trade debt is owned by China too. The US owes 13 trillion dollars to China. But when it’s them, it’s « tactical » and they’re just doing « business ». When we do it, we’re just idiots who are falling into a « debt trap ».

  55. "To get rich , you must first build a road ",….. Deng Xiaopeng .
    " It does not matter if the cat is black or white ,…as long as it catches the mouse ". 🤔🤔🤔🤔

  56. China and Africa , both know the feeling of being oppressed by Western powers , time to unite for mutual benefits and to respect and trust each other. Their is power in being united through cooperation ,
    not exploration and domination. 🤔🤔🤔

  57. Europeans introduced slavery while China provide economic development and opportunities. In any respect, it is better than slavery and wars.

  58. Let's be more neutral here, Europe build Africa basically, not that I agree with way it was made but hey build it and Africa is a really dangerous and corrupt place right now without European colonialism, maybe China will help there's is alot of money in Africa and African doesn't how to use them maybe China will save Africa or conquer it who knows

  59. The West is responsible for dragging more African people out of poverty than anyone else, funny how people forget this!

  60. Always USA and Europe are jelous when china helps, but when USA invades Afghanistan ,Iraq,Syris its all ok , what a joke

  61. Ask an African, dont see many responding here just Asians being upset.. Labour is provided from Chinese "worker" ships that dont add anything to the economy in knock on trade. No local construction jobs. And end up with very poor quality construction. Look at Angola as one of the early adopters. I am not personally aligned either way. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Africa will find out but hey its better than doing nothing, other than their resources will be gone afterwards. Time will tell and lets watch.

  62. A YouTube comment section that is not full of ignorant right wing poison? Thank you

  63. Colonialism was built by Americans bring black african enslave in American soil and making black American dominant in any sport even in politics White Caucasians are most racist person on earth….

  64. full of HYPOCRISY western report, you're the REAL ONLY COLONIAL who stole your colonist gold, oil and wealth for your own profit without any attention to your colonists development and also put them in your DEADLY DEBT TRAP

    china built and develop real infrastructure in your ex colonists in the principle of "PROSPERITY TOGETHER"

    it will be suicide for china if they put your ex colonist in the debt trap, their long-term plan of their product market will be LOST

  65. Yeah all the bad things shes saying is pretty much saying they happily signed and received 132 Billion dollars contract. Money don't grow on trees lady

  66. So what would happen if Africa told China they ain’t getting their money back?

  67. If you build up their economy, you build up the military. You have a strong Ally. Great strategy, instead of attacking them and forcing them. If you show them love they will forever be loyal. Pay attention west.

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