Chinese officials announced the latest infrastructure megaproject—a $12 billion contract to build a railway stretching more than 850 miles (1,400 kilometers) along the coast of Nigeria. It was China’s single-biggest overseas contract.
Economic expansion in the developing world is creating a huge demand for transportation and other infrastructure projects. One estimate forecasts the level of global infrastructure spending to hit $78 trillion by 2025, or slightly more than the world’s current total gross domestic product.
Much of the funding will come from private investment and existing public finance groups like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which have historically been dominated by the U.S and its Western allies.
China wants to use some of its nearly $4 trillion in reserves to finance big infrastructure.
The commercial relationship between China and Africa has nothing to do with colonization, and everything to do with economics and diplomacy.
China’s biggest global investments are energy projects and then transportation.
Over the past decade and a half, much of Africa has enjoyed uninterrupted growth. Even during the global economic crisis, Africa proved remarkably resilient, confounding the fears of African policymakers and the international donor community, alike. Chinese investors have been far quicker than their counterparts in developed nations to acknowledge — and benefit from — this economic outperformance.
Africa’s greater economic resilience has not come about by accident. In large part, it’s a result of hard-won economic reforms. Over the past two decades, African policymakers have built a much more solid economic foundation. Among other measures, they have liberalized trade policies, reduced entry barriers to new businesses, privatized many state-owned enterprises, and boosted the reliability of critical infrastructure such as electricity generation and distribution. The vast scale of investment now taking place in Africa would not have been possible without such policy advances
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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