Chinese Investment in Africa: Myths and Realities
Luncheon panel discussion with:
Buddy Buruku, African Center for Economic Cooperation
Howard French, former New York Times correspondent in China and Africa
Hamadou Tidiane Sy, Senegalese journalist
Increasing Chinese engagement in Africa is one of the biggest international stories today. In less than a decade, China has gone from being a peripheral player in Africa to one of the most influential economic and political actors on the continent. China's search for resources has led it to invest heavily in a number of African countries. In 2009, China surpassed the U.S. to become Africa's largest trading partner; in 2010, trade between China and the 54 countries on the continent reached $126.9 billion dollars. This explosion of cross-continental trade has been justly lauded for bringing much needed investment to African economies.
Yet some have questioned whether Chinese investment does more harm than good. Many deals between Chinese companies and African governments lack transparency. Chinese companies often prefer to import Chinese workers, meaning fewer jobs for Africans. Beijing has also been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights by repressive regimes, including Sudan and Zimbabwe. This panel will bring an African perspective on these questions, and also look to the future of what may be one of the most important relationships — economic, political and social — of the 21st century.
Buddy Buruku is Policy Advisor at the African Center for Economic Transformation, an economic policy institute supporting the long-term growth of African economies. The Ugandan national previously worked in China with IT Power, and in New York with Opera Solutions, a consultancy where she served financial services clients on issues relating to operational optimization and governance enhancement.
Howard French is Associate Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism School. He was a New York Times correspondent between 1990 and 2008, reporting from China and Africa. His work was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. French is a fellow of the Open Society Foundations and recently completed a forthcoming book about Chinese migration to Africa.
Hamadou Tidiane Sy is a Senegalese journalist, and has covered Africa for international news organizations, including the BBC, the AFP, and SABC's Channel Africa. Passionate about the African continent and Africa's relations to the rest of the world, he is a strong advocate of free, independent and high quality journalism. He now runs E-jicom, a journalism and digital media school he recently launched in Dakar.