Many Africans wonder why a particular country will have a significant effect on a whole continent. Even with knowing they have some similarities, the difference still sets them apart. In this article, I explore the similarities and differences between Africa and China to understand how China continues its heavy influence and connection with Africa.
Africa, the second largest continent after Asia, covering about one-fifth of the total land surface of Earth. The continent is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Red Sea, and on the south by the mingling waters of the Atlantic and Indian ocean
Africa’s total land area is approximately 11,724,000 square miles (30,365,000 square km), and the continent measures about 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from north to south and about 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from east to west. Its northern extremity is Al-Ghīrān Point, near Al-Abyaḍ Point, Tunisia; its southern extremity is Cape Agulhas, South Africa; its farthest point east is Xaafuun (Hafun) Point, near Cape Gwardafuy , Somalia; and its western extremity is Almadi Point , on Cape Verde ,Senegal.
The continent is cut almost equally in two by the equator, so that most of Africa lies within the tropical region, bounded on the north by the Tropic of cancer and on the south by the Tropic of Capricon. Because of the bulge formed by western Africa, the greater part of Africa’s territory lies north of the Equator. Africa is crossed from north to south by the prime meridian (0° longitude), which passes a short distance to the east of Accra, Ghana.
China has the second largest population in the World , and have a history dated back to 1500AD. They went through colonialism, and fought had through difficult policies until they reach a peak and soar high.
Beauty and History
Africa contains an enormous wealth of mineral resources, including some of the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels, metallic ores, and gems, and precious metals. This richness is matched by a great diversity of biological resources that includes the intensely lush equatorial rainforests of Central Africa and the world-famous populations of the wildlife of the eastern and southern portions of the continent. Although agriculture (primarily subsistence) still dominates the economies of many African countries, the exploitation of these resources became the most significant economic activity in Africa in the 20th century.
Climatic and other factors have exerted considerable influence on the patterns of human settlement in Africa. While some areas appear to have been inhabited more or less continuously since the dawn of humanity, enormous regions—notably the desert areas of northern and southwestern Africa—have been largely unoccupied for prolonged periods of time. Thus, although Africa is the second largest continent, it can be said to be under-populated.
The population size in Africa 2021 is over 1.3 billion, representing 16.72% of the world population. The employment to population ratio (EPR) measures the ability of the economy to create employment by showing the proportion of working-age youth that is employed irrespective of the quality of employment. Around 2 in every 5 young people of working age are in some form of employment in Africa with a slight decline of 0.7% between 2012 and 2018 and is projected to decline by 0.1% between 2020 and 2021. The EPR in Africa has been stable with a slight decline. This can backed by the fact that many young people stay longer in school. High population and labour force growth means more people are entering the labour market.
The NEET (not in employment, education, or training) rate in Africa is mainly driven by high rates in Northern Africa where it is above 26%, compared to below 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cultural norms, barriers, and differences in economic mechanisms explain the wide disparities.
China has a population size of over 1.4 billion in 2021, representing 18.47% of the world population.
Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) is a primary economic indicator. It measures the total value of all goods and services produced in an economy within a period of 1 year. A decline in GDP for two economic quarters leads to a recession. The GDP in Africa represents 3% of the world’s GDP.
African economies have grown at least 5% in the last 15 years. Economic growth is easing infrastructural constraints. It is also increasing trade and investment ties with emerging and advanced economics by taking advantage of recent natural resource discoveries and boosting financial inflow – remittances, sovereign bonds, and foreign direct investment. Part of this growth was made possible by lowering indebtedness (external debt).
As of 2019, China has the second-largest economy in the world with a GDP of $14.3 trillion, behind the United States GDP of $21.4 trillion. If the economy were represented in purchasing power parity (PPP), China edges out as the largest economy with a purchasing power of $23.5 trillion.
How did China go from a poor society, devastated by World War II and its own civil war by the mid-20th century, to the number two economy today? After decades of economic stagnation and setbacks under Communist rule, China began to open itself to international trade and liberalize the economy when it established diplomatic and trade relations.
As China’s subsequent export growth fueled the growth of manufacturing and urbanization, China rose to be a major global economic power over the next four decades. They actively engage their labour force, although it is at a declining rate since 2015.
China’s mining industry extracts coal, iron ore, salt, oil, gas, and gold. To reduce China’s dependence on coal, the country is moving towards more renewable resources and plans to increase its natural gas use in the coming years. China also has multiple oil reserves, as well as natural gas deposits that have yet to be fully explored.
The country is also a good candidate for hydroelectricity production. In 2012, the Three Gorges Dam was completed and is now a major producer of electricity for the southern cities of China (including Shangai).
A New Formation
Many areas can sustain Africa’s growth, such as natural resources, domestic resource mobilization (through savings and tax revenue), and emerging and strengthened trading and investment partnerships. The continent has abundant natural resources. There is a huge market potential as income rises and the middle-class keeps growing. Youth and women are a huge resource for labour-intensive development initiatives and foreign investment projects.
China is advanced in areas that Africa lags behind. Their partnership should be seen as an opportunity and not otherwise. As I have always emphasized China is into Africa’s business to achieve its soft & hard goals. It is left for Africa to leverage on major Africa-China projects, like the maritime project.
What do you think?
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Orire Agbaje, studies Economics at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She love crunching digits. She is very cheerful, assertive and hard-working.