On Wednesday, April 16, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings (AGI) and the Congressional African Staff Association (CASA) hosted a briefing for congressional staffers on China’s investment experience in Africa and what it means for U.S. business and the region. Panelists included David Dollar, senior fellow, at the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center and former economic and financial emissary to China for the U.S. Treasury and Amadou Sy, senior fellow at the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative. Yun Sun, fellow in the Henry L. Stimson Center’s East Asia Project and former AGI visiting fellow, commented on her recent paper on China’s evolving approach to Africa. Witney Schneidman, AGI nonresident fellow and senior advisor for Africa at Covington and Burling, LLP, moderated the discussion.
This event is part of the Africa Policy Dialogue on the Hill, a regular congressional briefing series hosted by AGI and CASA on topical issues relevant to Africa’s growth and security.
I would say that goes back to the essential question of China’s Africa engagement—does China have a strategy? And the criticism in China is, China does not.” -Yun Sun
China’s investment in Africa is very clearly correlated with natural resource wealth of the recipient countries. But the same thing is true of the United States investment and the same thing is true for foreign investment in general in Africa, and in fact, I can’t see any evidence that China is more attracted to natural resources than say, United States investors or global investors.” -David Dollar
In the infrastructure space, there’s no question that there’s a lot of competition going on and I think here again, Western firms, American firms ask, are the ground rules clear? Are they fair? Are they transparent? And I think increasingly the answer is no.” -Witney Schneidman
Last time we had a meeting at Congress, there were some private investors and they were saying the true competitive advantage of China is speed, when it comes to Africa.” -Amadou Sy