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China in Africa: The Real Story

New $2 bn fund, China & Africa Development Bank

Deborah Brautigam

https://d13uygpm1enfng.cloudfront.net/article-imgs/en/2012/07/19/AJ201207190100/AJ201207190101M.jpgAccording to the Financial Times, the Chinese and the Africa Development Bank will soon announce a contribution of $2 bn to an Africa-wide investment vehicle, "Africa Growing Together Fund." Unlike most Chinese finance on the continent, this would be open to all companies to compete. If it's true (and it is still to be confirmed), this is a huge change and a very welcome one. While the multilateral banks are not immune from corruption and embezzlement challenges, they do have stakeholders that try to hold them accountable in a transparent process. That has not been the case with the Chinese policy banks. I suspect that Chinese firms will still win the majority of contracts but what an excellent tactic by a maturing Chinese leadership to make them compete internationally for their wins. This kind of competition is how companies become excellent, not by having deals handed to them, or by winning through collusion or non-competitive means. I can't wait to learn more.
A hat tip to John Briscoe. Photo credit: Asahi.com (hotel construction in Rwanda)