Per-Anders Pettersson

ON ASSIGNMENT: CHINESE IN AFRICA

It’s estimated that about 750,000 Chinese entrepreneurs are working in infrastructure projects, factories and small businesses in Africa. Chinese companies are often the lowest bidders for contracts, pricing out the more expensive European companies. As a result, Western influence has dwindled.

Many African governments also see the Chinese as a more honest partner in business and aid. The Chinese, unlike America and European countries, usually give aid without any restrictions. They are also big donors and investors to countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, who are under economic sanctions, or who has questionable human right records.

Some accuse the Chinese of being just another colonizer who extract the mineral riches in countries such as Zambia and Democratic republic of Congo. China gets roughly a third of its oil and many other important natural resources from Africa. As a result, the Chinese have in a short time become a strong force in Africa.

The Chinese are known to work hard and for many hours. They usually don’t socialize with Africans outside work and they usually live in compounds close to the working environment. Within the compounds, they have their own chefs and many times grow their own Chinese vegetables in gardens.

I visited Zambia and Angola for this report. In Zambia they have bought a major Copper

mine, and several textile factories. Immediately after their purchase, the Chinese owners closed the factories down, and choose instead to import from China directly in hopes to floods the local markets with their goods. The local African factories couldn’t compete and many have been forced to shut down. Even in Africa, it doesn’t make sense for the Chinese to run a textile factory with African workers because it is still cheaper to import from China.

In Ndola, Zambia, the Eastern Union Limited is a China based company that buys Copper from Congo DRC, and delivers it to their Copper smelter by truck in Ndola. Their smelter was shipped from China and operates 24 hours a day in an Industrial area in Ndola.

The copper is eventually trucked to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and hen on ships to China. In Ndola there are many Chinese restaurants and a Casino that serves mainly Chinese customers. Chinese companies construct many infrastructure projects such as road construction, water pipes, and bridges. Within Angola, the Chinese community

has created a Chinese market in Luanda flooded with cheap Chinese goods.

The Chinese are currently working on two major railway renovation projects around the country. In many other countries they build sport stadiums, state houses, etc. This year, China pledged $20 billion to finance trade and infrastructure across the continent over the next three years.

Time will have to tell about China’s influence on the African continent.

A Chinese woman points and directs Zambian workers at a copper smelter plant, Ndola, Zambia, 2007. The ore is taken from mines in neighboring Lubumbashi, DRC. The copper is later transported by ship to China, fueling their demand for raw materials.
  
Chinese railways workers prepare to put tracks outside, Dondo, Angola, 2007.  Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
  
A Chinese businessman travels with a truck full of imported Chinese goods with his Angolan workers, Luanda, Angola, 2007
     
  
Chinese railways workers adjust tracks outside, Dondo, Angola, 2007.  Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
  
A Chinese supervisor gives instructions to Zambian workers who dig trenches for water pipes, Kabwe, Zambia, 2007
  
Angolan workers carry a mattress with a “Beijing 2008” sign in the Chinese market, Luanda, Angola, 2007
     
  
A Zambian worker operates a spinning machine still operating in Makuba Textiles, Ndola, Zambia, 2007. Dune to Chinese imports, most of the textile factories have collapsed in Zambia.
  
A sign welcomes Chinese Premier H.E Hu Jintao and Zambian President H.E Levy .P. Mwanawasa, Ndola, Zambia, 2007.  Mr. Jintao toured several African countries in early 2007 to strengthen ties, including Zambia.
  
Chinese railways workers interact with Angolan villagers in a rural area, Dondo, Angola, 2007. Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
     
  
Chinese railway workers dismantle a workers tent camp, Dondo, Angola, 2007. Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
  
A Chinese railway worker washes his laundry in a tent camp, Dondo, Angola, 2007. Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
  
Chinese railway workers flirt with a local Angolan woman during a lunch break, Dondo, Angola, 2007. Hundreds of workers live in rural camps along the tracks and all the equipment are imported from China. The Chinese are upgrading two railway lines in Angola.
     
  
Chinese road construction workers play ping-pong in their construction yard at their rural camp, Ndola, Zambia, 2007. They are contracted to build several roads in Zambia.
  
Pan-De, age 26, a Chinese supervisor, lights a cigarette in his small room next to a copper smelter, Ndola, Zambia, 2007. The ore is taken from mines in neighboring Lubumbashi, DRC. The copper is later transported by ship to China, fueling their demand for raw materials.
  
Mr. Chen Ting Hui (c)), age 48, drinks evening tea with his wife Liang Jin Jie, age 41, and a friend in Ndola, Zambia, 2007.  Mr. Hui is a General Manager for Eastern Union Limited, a China based company that buys Copper from Congo DRC, and brings it to Ndola to their Copper smelter. The copper is later transported by ship to China, fueling their demand for raw materials.
     
  
Children prepare to perform a traditional dance as they celebrate the Chinese New Year, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2007