East of Africa (and West of China): Chinese Business in Africa

Case Solution

Marcus Schuetz, Carola Ramon-Berjano
University of Hong Kong ()

China-Africa trade is estimated to have quadrupled between 2000 and 2008, making China Africa’s third-largest trading partner and second-largest export destination. China-Africa trade relations have mainly focused on three areas: primary resources from Africa to China; cheap manufactured goods and FDI from China to Africa, including new investment opportunities such as land acquisitions; and outsourcing of agricultural production, especially staple foods and biofuels. There were an estimated 1 million Chinese farmers working in Africa in 2009. Africa had vast tracts of fertile land, although a lack of infrastructure (not only for agriculture itself, but also for transportation) and political factors such as ownership of land, corruption and governance posed serious problems. In this case, China’s growing business with Africa and associated risks are discussed, especially for Chinese state-owned companies.

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