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Africa–China economic relations

Economic relations between China and Africa, one part of more general Africa–China relations, began centuries ago and continues through the present day. This includes the ongoing move by the People's Republic of China to secure highly needed natural resources through Chinese-African trade and diplomatic relations. The quest for key resources in Africa targets areas rich in oil, minerals, timber, and cotton, such as Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa. Many African countries are viewed as fast-growing markets and profitable outlets for the immediate export of cheap manufactured goods, and the future export of high-end products and services. Large-scale structural projects, often accompanied by a soft loan, are proposed to African countries rich in natural resources. China commonly funds the construction of infrastructure such as roads and rail roads, dams, ports, and airports.

These amenities aid the movement of natural resources back to China, and provide China with leverage to obtain exploration and drilling rights. While relations are mainly conducted through diplomacy and trade, military support via the provision of arms and other equipment is also a major component. In the diplomatic and economic rush into Africa, Taiwan, the United States, France, and the UK are China's main competitors. France and the UK were once the primary commercial partners in Africa, but China recently became the largest trading partner, with trade of US$90 billion in 2009. The United States ranked 2nd, with $86 billion.[1] Although Africa has seen economic growth through commodity exports to China, critics argue that Chinese exports to Africa—as well as Chinese business practices—have impeded aspects of African development, but much better than little to no growth coming from the US or Europe.[2] China continues to expand its influence in the region on diplomatic, cultural, and commercial fronts, while working to secure and stabilize the region for long term gains.