Throughout the 2000s, Chinese demand for primary goods like oil, iron, copper, and zinc helped Africa reduce poverty more than it had in decades. Even so, China’s total investment in the continent’s natural resources has been smaller than many imagine, and, with growth shifting away from manufacturing and toward consumption, China’s appetite for raw materials will continue to diminish. China’s shifting economic growth model aligns with sub-Saharan Africa’s imminent labor force boom, presenting a significant opportunity for both sides.
Maximizing mutual gain will depend on China and Africa cooperating to address a host of challenges: Can African countries limit the flow of Chinese migrants and foster domestic industries?
Will Chinese investors adopt global norms of social and environmental responsibility?
Where does the West fit in?