Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is the West losing Africa to China?

With Chinese yuan and Indian rupees increasingly finding their way into Africa's economies, Western powers are worried that they are losing influence in the resource-rich continent, according to analysts.

Driven by their appetite for natural resources, trade opportunities and political alliances, emerging powers such as China and India are moving from the sidelines to the center stage in Africa -- a region the West has long considered to be its own trading partner.

While Western countries are still important players in Africa's energy sector, the deepening engagement of China in Africa's infrastructure, mineral sector and telecommunications is creating "deep nervousness" in the West, says David Shinn, the former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

The competition in these areas, he explains, usually pits big Chinese enterprises that are financially backed by Beijing's deep pockets against Western companies that often have shareholders to consider and are by-and-large acting independently of their governments' desires. more