What are the Chinese up to in Africa?

Cross posted from The Spectator.

China's President Xi Jinping and Zambia's President Michael Sata

China’s President Xi Jinping and Zambia’s President Michael Sata

China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa Howard French

Alfred A. Knopf, pp.320, £22.50, ISBN: 9780307956989

Few subjects generate as much angst, or puzzlement, among Western policymakers in Africa as China’s presence on the continent. In his new book,China’s Second Continent, the American journalist Howard French recalls meeting US officials in Mali to sound them out on the matter. Instead, he finds himself barraged by questions. ‘It would really be useful for us to know what the Chinese are up to,’ one American official tells him. ‘So far we’ve been limited to speaking with them through translators. We’ve got very little idea about any of this.’

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