Chinese investment in Africa has grown massively over the past 15 years. Trade between China and Africa grew by 700 percent during the 1990s. It doubled from 2002 to 2003. Trade between the two again almost doubled during 2005. Increased Chinese imports of oil from African nations, in particular Sudan, accounted for most of this growth. All this activity has led to China becoming Africa’s third-most important trading partner, behind the United States and France and ahead of Britain.
China’s increasing investment in Africa has spurred into action other contenders for Africa’s raw materials wealth, not the least being the European Union’s leading nations, France and Germany. Each of these powers seeks to extend its individual hegemony within this greatly underdeveloped continent, in particular in the territory that each once ruled before decolonization took effect.
Indeed, in a race not unlike that of colonial days, Africa, it seems, is once again up for grabs.
EU states, intent on securing new sources of energy in order to lessen their dependence upon Russia, are increasingly looking toward North Africa. Market monitor RiskCenter.com reported, “The region has for many years been a significant contributor to European gas supplies, but recent deals and current market noises point to this contribution witnessing sizeable growth. … For the EU, North Africa will be a key component of its energy future” (August 15).
The Chinese have been buying favor with African nations by direct investment in infrastructure—roads, rail, electricity distribution, port development, etc.—to aid in their procurement and shipment of raw materials, especially much-needed oil and gas. By contrast, Germany’s heightened involvement is coming significantly from a different quarter: that of military involvement.
China certainly has the cash for capital investment, but the German-led EU has the regional proximity of its military forces to secure Africa’s raw materials and China’s African assets. It also has the benefit of lingering attachments and interests within much of Africa as a result of its colonial history.
Both the German-dominated EU and China have a huge thirst for energy-based resources. There may yet be a deal done between the two that will eventually block out the U.S. and Britain from access to Africa’s energy wealth.
Reporting on Germany’s involvement in the volatile, oil-rich region of Sudan, German-Foreign-Policy.com observed: “Following the UN’s decision to deploy troops to Sudan [where China has heavily invested], warmongers in Berlin are pushing for German participation. German foreign-policy specialists from the opposition, as well as from circles close to the ruling cdu party, are calling for Germany showing a presence in the western Sudanese province of Darfur, at least with military observers or high-ranking officers” (August 10).
Typically, Germany seeks first to penetrate Africa under the umbrella of its allies, in particular the U.S. “It is, above all, Washington and Berlin who are pushing for a UN-mandated intervention in Darfur and seeking to militarily roll back the influence of the Sudanese central government. Regional secession is not being ruled out” (ibid.).
This is classic German foreign policy. The same strategy worked brilliantly in the Balkan Peninsula, where Germany motivated an illegal war fought largely by its allies, the U.S. and Britain, and gained for the European Union (i.e. Germany) the land hinge between Eastern and Western Europe. Having then ensured the involvement of the German Navy running security for the EU in the Mediterranean, the German-led EU took over Malta, which Italian Prime Minister (then European Commission president) Romano Prodi described as the EU’s stepping stone to Africa.
Now the battle is joined for the further spread south by the EU behemoth.
But it is not only the U.S. that is being played for a patsy to secure German interests in Africa. Berlin is currying the favor of African allies in support of its plans to dominate the raw materials (in particular oil and gas) and cheap labor that are the continent’s greatest economic assets. “Ghana and Nigeria are playing decisive roles with their participation in the Sudan deployment and are receiving millions in German financial aid, for the maintenance of their troops. Further militarization of the African continent is a direct consequence” (ibid.; emphasis mine).
As we watch Germany push its influence south of the Mediterranean into Africa, having already, via the EU, virtually taken over Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, including the island nation of Cyprus (on the doorstep of the Middle East and a short distance from Jerusalem), we would do well to remember an ancient prophecy in the book of Daniel. Speaking of a religiously motivated great northern power to arise just prior to Jesus Christ’s return, the prophet declared, “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land” (Daniel 8:9).
Watch Africa. Watch Germany—and, above all, watch Jerusalem!