China is Colonizing Africa, What will the West do About it?

"Chinese flag" by Philip Jägenstedt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For those living on the African continent, the reach of the Chinese is becoming terrifyingly clear; their expansion into the continent has accelerated vastly over the past several years with little to no notice of the west.

“20 Years of Cooperation with the Chinese Navy” by Israel Defense Forces is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

China has been slowly taking over Africa. They do this not with tanks and bombs, but with money. For two decades now, the Chinese have been gradually buying up the continent.

How are they Colonizing in the Modern Age?

China is extremely clever about it; they start by offering massive bailout loans to a struggling African state. However, the consequences for defaulting on nonpayment are harsh; they involve the seizing of land assets such as mines, airports, police stations, and the like. It is important to note that the loans are so large that they are impossible to pay, yet the only way out for these struggling African countries.

Apart from loans, the Chinese government has been building massive infrastructure developments for African governments. Up to this point, they have built 186 government buildings across most African countries.

A report by A French newspaper called Le Monde said that the Chinese had been spying on the African Union through a headquarters it had built for them.  The building that cost $200 million, located in Addis Ababa, was completely financed by the Chinese government.

It was discovered that computers installed in the building had “backdoors” installed on them that sent classified information to Chinese servers every night. This first came to light on January 26 when anonymous sources in the AU leaked the information.

Reportedly, a staff member noted that between a certain time frame each night, data usage would spike despite the building being empty. It is assumed that all sensitive information on the computers has been shared with the Chinese government.

Since the discovery, the building’s IT systems have been changed and the staff began using encrypted communication. A team from Algeria was also sent in where it discovered microphones under almost every desk in every wall.

Both sides deny the report. 

How can the West Respond?

It is only a matter of time now before Chinese aggression needs to be checked. The question stands, how?

At the recent G7 meeting, the western powers agreed to begin greater cooperation between themselves and the African nations. However, it is unlikely this will sway African states to accept these massive Chinese bailouts as most states are struggling for cash. Those who are not hard-pressed for cash like South Africa simply accept political bribes for the same outcome. 

In Southern Africa, the Chinese have even developed naval, military bases, and even police stations in the states, securing their positions for years to come. It will reach a point where entire countries are taken as collateral, but that is still years off unless there is massive western intervention now.