Libmonster ID: U.S.-1251
Author(s) of the publication: T. L. DEITCH

KeywordsChina and the United States in Africaoil exportstrade

T. L. DEITCH

Candidate of Historical Sciences

In recent years, there has been a surge of international interest in Africa, which until recently was called the "forgotten continent". The world's leading countries are re-evaluating this continent, which is a source of much-needed minerals and energy resources. Not the last factor that spurs interest in Africa is the unprecedented economic expansion of emerging powers, primarily China and India, into its countries.

In the 2000s, China became the main "player" in the African commodity markets, which entered into fierce competition with the United States and EU countries for African mineral resources.

"NEW PLAYERS" ARE CROWDING OUT THE "OLD ONES"

The growing dependence of the US economy on raw materials supplies has led to a surge in US interest in Africa. Instability in the Middle East increases the US interest in finding alternative sources of liquid hydrocarbons, including in the oil and gas-bearing areas of the Gulf of Guinea. Back in 2002, US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa W. Kansteiner stated: "West African oil has become our national interest"1. According to US plans, by 2015, one in four barrels of imported oil will be of African origin. In 2008, US imports of African oil increased by 31.9% compared to 2007, while oil accounted for 79.5% of all US imports from sub-Saharan Africa.

In an effort to expand and strengthen their position in the commodity markets of Africa, Americans are faced in the new millennium with the growing presence of China. The main object of Chinese interests is energy resources. China's domestic oil reserves and production have long been insufficient for rapid economic growth. China's crude oil imports increased from 3 million metric tons in 1990 to 123 million in 2005, a 40-fold increase.2 In 2008, it imported almost 180 million tons of oil, or 3.6 million barrels per day (b/d).3 In 2020, it is expected to import 7-8 million, and in 2030 - 11 million b/d4 (according to other forecasts - 13 million b/d).d 5).

China can meet its need for energy resources only by challenging the dominant position of the United States. In 2006, the United States received 22% of its oil imports from Africa, while China received 28%. At the same time, China accounted for 9% of African oil exports, while the United States accounted for about 32%. However, China has been increasing its oil imports at a faster pace than the United States6.

As noted in a World Bank (WB) report published in July 2008, oil determines the nature of African exports to China, and in the next 5-10 years, China will account for up to 40% of oil and gas imported from Africa.7

China's growing expansion into the African resource sector is prompting experts to speculate about the inevitability of its collision in the future with other consumers of African resources. The greatest concern in this regard is expressed, in particular, by the United States, which complains that China is pushing them out of the African oil sector.

CHINA IN NIGERIA, ANGOLA, AND SUDAN...

In terms of oil, the leading place in US trade with African countries is occupied by Nigeria. The United States accounts for 35% of Nigeria's oil and petroleum products exports (Spain-11%, Italy and France-6% each).

Nigeria's oil reserves totaled $ 36.2 billion in 2008. bbl (61% of sub-Saharan Africa's oil reserves)8. In 2008, Nigeria remained the largest oil producer in the region. Of the 10.3 million b/d produced here, it accounted for 2.4 million tons.

In recent years, China has been making strong efforts to gain a foothold in Nigeria's oil sector, which has long been exclusively owned by the largest Anglo-American companies Exxon-Mobile, Shell and Chevron. In 2005, Petrochina and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) signed an $800 million contract to supply China with 30,000 barrels of oil per day.

In 2006, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) obtained 4 oil production licenses in Nigeria. Another company is China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), which already operates in 11 countries in Africa.-

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rela for $2.27 billion. Nigeria's South Atlantic Petroleum has a 45% stake in the Akpo offshore oil field near the Niger Delta, which is capable of producing 175,000 b / d10. China Export-Import Bank (Exim-Bank) has issued a $1.6 billion loan to Nigeria. to develop new oil fields together with Chinese partners.

In 2008, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and a Canadian company announced their intention to invest $73.8 million in oil exploration in the joint exploitation zone of Nigeria (60% of the shares) and Sao Tome and Principe (40%).

In August 2009 Beijing has approved Sinopec's $7.5 billion purchase of Swiss-based Addax Petroleum. As a result of this deal, the Chinese gain control of half of the four blocks of the Sao Tome and Nigeria joint development zone in the Gulf of Guinea and become the "main player" in the Sao Tome oil sector 11. Note that China does not have diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe: the country remains one of the four in Africa recognizing Taiwan.

The pressure exerted on the Nigerian oil sector by Beijing in recent years is frightening the American companies that have been operating here for many years, and they are in a hurry to renew their oil production licenses. In December 2009, Exxon-Mobil was the first to renew its three licenses for 20 years with the possibility of renewal.12

China's efforts in Angola are more effective. Angolan oil reserves are estimated at $ 9 billion. 13 barrels By production volume (1.9 million b / d) Angola is not much inferior to Nigeria. Most of the Angolan oil is produced by American companies and exported to the United States. American companies Chevron, Texaco and Exxon-Mobile are active in Angola.

Despite serious competition in the Angolan oil sector, China has managed to gain a fairly strong position here. Angola is Africa's largest foreign oil supplier to Beijing. In 2009, CNOOC jointly acquired Sinopec for $1.3 billion. part of the Angolan oil field in Block 32 (located 150 km off the coast of Angola; its area is 5,090 square kilometers), which is owned (with a 30% stake) by the American company Marathon. Chinese companies receive 20% of production, while Marathon accounts for 10%. "We are pleased that CNOOC has been able to seize this rare opportunity to acquire a stake in the field," said CNOOC President Yang Hua 14.

China has gained the most significant role in the oil sector of Sudan. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Sudan in 2009 had proven oil reserves of $ 5 billion. According to this indicator, the bbl ranked 5th in Africa after Libya, Nigeria, Algeria and Angola, with oil production amounting to 480 thousand b/d in 200815.

China has successfully filled the vacuum created by the departure of Western companies from the country. In 1997, economic sanctions imposed by the United States outlawed American investment in Sudan. The United States has not given up hope of replacing Omar al-Bashir's regime with a pro-Western one, which would open up Sudan's vast oil reserves to American companies. In the meantime, oil and its profits go to US competitors, primarily China.

In 2008, China accounted for 55% of Sudan's oil exports (Japan accounted for 26%, Indonesia accounted for 11%, India accounted for 5%, and other countries accounted for 3%).16. The volume of trade between China and Sudan reached $8.2 billion in 2008, mainly due to oil importations17.

... AND IN OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES

China is also increasing its activity in other oil-producing countries. In 2006, China ranked third after the United States and Spain in terms of oil importation from Equatorial Guinea18 Oil is the main wealth of Gabon, accounting for 1/2 of the country's income. Proven reserves - 2.5 billion rubles. barrels, production - about 230 thousand b/d. The result of Chinese leader Hu Jintao's visit to Gabon in 2004 was a contract between the French-Gabonese company Total Gabon and China's Unipec (part of Sinopec) for the extraction, refining and export of Gabonese petroleum products to China.

Chinese oil companies have signed contracts for field exploitation and oil production with the Republic of CongoNamibia, and Ethiopia19. In October 2009, an agreement was signed with the National Petroleum Corporation of Ghana, under which CNOOC will provide financing and technical assistance to Ghana for oil exploration and production on the Ghanaian continental shelf 20.

The evolution of China's relations with Chad is a testament to the desire of Chinese companies to gain maximum access to African oil. Until 2006, Chad maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which held shares in its oil concessions. And in 2006, Beijing's attempts to win Chad over to its side ended in a diplomatic triumph. Currently, a joint venture operates in Chad, in which 50% of the shares are owned by the Canadian Ensana and the Chinese Sinopec.

Chinese companies are also increasingly active in the African mineral markets, where they are also competing with the US and EU countries. For example, after years of French domination of Niger's uranium mining operations, Chinese companies are now moving in. In 2009 Exim Bank of China granted Niger a soft loan at 2% per annum in the amount of $95 million. A uranium ore mining operation, which is scheduled to start in 2010, will be led by the SOMINA joint venture, which is owned by China National Corporation (SINO-U) and is 33% owned by the Government of Niger.21

Experts discuss who will be the winner in the competition for resources. For example, at the 5th Resources Conference held in Botswana in 2009, the question of whether China and India have the potential to become leading diamond buyers was actively discussed. Although the speakers acknowledged that so far the financial contribution of these countries to the al-

page 16

The diamond industry is insignificant (in 2008, China's share in the diamond market was 3%, India's 4%, Japan's 11%, and the United States '44%), but" the markets in China and India are extremely positive in terms of long-term growth." At the same time, figures for diamond trading in the first quarter of 2009 were given, indicating that the decline in the US was 6%, in Japan-15%, in Germany - 4%, in the UK - 2%, while India and China achieved growth of 30% and 5%, respectively.22

TRADE RIVALRY

Prior to 2008, the US was ahead of China in terms of trade with Africa. In 2007, US trade was $99.5 billion, while China-Africa trade was $74 billion.23

According to Chinese data, the picture changed in 2008. The General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China reported that China's trade turnover with the continent increased by 45.1% compared to 2007 and reached $106.84 billion 24 (of which exports to Africa - $50.84 billion, and imports - $56 billion 25). In 2007, there were 14 countries in Africa with which China's trade turnover exceeded $ 1 billion; in 2008, there were already 20 such countries.

According to the US Efriken Trade Profile 2009 and Forbes, in 2008, the volume of US-African trade was estimated at $104.5 billion. ($18.5 billion - exports, $ 86.1 billion) - imports), which allowed China to surpass the United States in this indicator 26. However, the US Statistical Handbook for 2010 provides different figures : in 2008, the US trade turnover with African countries increased by more than $35 billion. Compared to 2007, it was $140.4 billion, 27 which gives reason to believe that in 2008 the United States retained its leading role in trade with Africa.

In 2009, in the context of the global crisis, the volume of trade between both the United States and China declined. China's exports to Africa fell by 6% and imports by 24%, which led to a 16% reduction in the volume of China-Africa trade, which eventually amounted to $90 billion.28

The global financial crisis further affected U.S. trade with Africa, which totaled $86.1 billion in 2009.29 Thus, in 2009, China still surpassed the United States, becoming the leading trading partner of the continent's countries.

The global financial crisis has affected trade flows, but Sino-African trade has continued to grow in part because it is focused on oil and mineral resources. This is confirmed by the list of China's leading trading partners in Africa. In 2009, 56% of China's trade with Africa came from 5 countries: Angola (19%), South Africa (17%), Nigeria (7%), Sudan (7%), Egypt (7%)30. Thus, China's import of Angolan oil was the main factor in the rapid growth of China-Angola trade turnover, which amounted to $25.3 billion in 2008, making Angola China's leading trading partner in Africa. At the same time, China is more than twice ahead of the United States in terms of trade with Angola (see the table).

Table

China-US trade with Angola (in $ million) in 2003-2008

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

China

745

4.910

6.954

11.827

22.000

25.300

USA

4.758

5.115

9.413

13.269

13.778

11.027



INVESTMENT POLICY OF COMPETITORS

The main inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa comes from Europe, South Africa and the United States. These countries account for more than half of all FDI directed to Africa.

As of 2008, U.S. investment in Africa totaled $27.7 billion. Most of them went to the oil and mining industries of the continent's countries. The largest recipients of US FDI were Egypt ($7.5 billion), South Africa ($4.84 billion), Equatorial Guinea ($2 billion), Angola ($876 million), Nigeria ($828 million), Liberia ($456 million) and Gabon ($420 million).31

According to UNCTAD data, China ranks 12th in terms of foreign investment. Well-known Chinese companies such as Nenovo and Huawei invest in many countries in Africa.32 However, in terms of investment in the continent, China is still noticeably inferior to the United States.

In 1990, Chinese direct investment in Africa was only $49 million, compared to $600 million in 2003. In 2005, China's FDI in the continent reached $1.6 billion. of the total amount of $57 billion, which was estimated at all foreign direct investment directed to Africa 33. In 2008 - $2.8 billion. At the same time, investment in energy-related projects accounted for a third of China's total investment in Africa. 34 In the first 9 months of 2009, FDI in Africa was 77% higher than in the same period in 2008.38

BEIJING'S STRONG POINT

Although raw materials and related projects are at the top of the list of investment targets, China is by no means limited to the raw materials sector of the African economy. Beijing's strong point, which gives it serious advantages over Western investors, including the United States, is its interest in infrastructure projects. In particular, in recent years, he has widely used the slogan: "raw materials in exchange for infrastructure."

Theis Terblanche, head of the South African branch of Standard Bank, whose 20% stake is held by China's Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, said in February 2009 that Chinese state-owned companies plan to invest primarily in strategic investment projects.-

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key energy sectors and infrastructure 36.

For example, China is building schools, hospitals, dams, highways, and airfields in Angola. In 2006, it received a contract to restore the country's main railway line, the Benguela Railway. The Chinese company ZTE has invested $400 million in the modernization and development of television and telephone networks in the country and in the creation of research centers in this area.37 At the end of 2009, the reconstruction of Luena Airport, which began 9 years ago and cost $9 million, was almost completed. Now the airport can receive Boeing 38 aircraft.

In Nigeria, China has taken on the task of repairing a rail system that will link 36 states and major cities in the country. In 2008, Nigeria was promised a $2.5 billion loan. for infrastructure projects. According to former Oil Minister O. Ajumogobia, the purpose of the loan is to gain access to Nigeria's energy resources, since in parallel negotiations were underway for China to obtain rights to operate the oil field.39

In an effort to meet its own energy needs, China is also doing a lot of good for the Sudanese economy. The joint venture-Great Nile Petroleum Operating Company, in which CNPC owns a 40% stake, has invested in a number of projects in the oil industry, including a tanker terminal near Port Sudan, an oil pipeline to transport oil from the field to the terminal, and an oil refinery. With China's help, Sudan has evolved from an oil importer to an oil exporter, and has developed its own oil industry, including exploration, field exploitation,and oil sales. 40 In recent years, China has become the main trading partner of Sudan and the largest investor in the Sudanese economy. Of the 15 foreign companies operating in Sudan, 13 are Chinese. Among the projects implemented with China's help are the construction of dams, hydroelectric power stations, textile factories, assistance in agriculture, medicine, and education. China has invested $750 million to build a new airport in Khartoum. In 2009, the Meroe hydroelectric power hub, built with Chinese assistance, became operational - the largest structure on the Nile River after the Aswan dam. The construction cost was $2 billion. The hydroelectric power station should double the country's electricity generation.

Noting the positive impact of Chinese investment on infrastructure in Africa, the UN acknowledged that the arrival of the Chinese has led to an "infrastructure revolution" there. China's willingness to invest in infrastructure projects in Africa was also positively assessed in the World Bank's July 2008 report41

Although there is no doubt that China is interested in the continent's natural resources, objectively, Chinese investment benefits African countries. The interest of African countries in implementing infrastructure projects encourages them to readily pay with raw materials for new highways and railways, industrial and economic facilities that Western countries were in no hurry to build. Infrastructure investments not only attract the sympathy of local leaders, who favor China over competitors in the development, extraction and export of raw materials; they are also a source of new jobs for African countries. However, most of the qualified specialists are brought by companies from China. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Chinese professionals are ready to work on conditions that Europeans and Americans do not agree to. However, China is taking into account criticism of its desire to use its own labor force at facilities in Africa.

At the Beijing summit "China-Africa" in 2006, it was decided to train 15 thousand African specialists of various profiles by 2009. At the same time, specialists are trained both in China and in African countries. And at the summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) in November 2009, a 3-year plan for "strategic partnership in science, technology and higher education" was adopted, according to which China pledged to train 3,000 doctors, nurses and administrative staff from African countries, to implement the Strategic Partnership program. 100 joint research projects in 3 years, invite 100 graduate students to China to conduct research, and provide appropriate instruments and equipment to researchers who will return to Africa after completing their research in China 42.

THE WINNER IS CHINA

A number of factors contribute to China's success in competing for resources with major US digs. To begin with, China has managed to gain ground in a number of African countries, both during the period of the national liberation movement, which it supported and supported, and, in particular, in recent years, thanks to the implementation of an extensive program of economic cooperation and active diplomacy on the continent. Western companies, including American ones, which have long been firmly established in Africa, were not ready for the rapid onslaught of China and are not able to resist it.

China's successful business in Africa's raw materials sector owes much to its key position, repeatedly voiced by Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders of the country: "China does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states." In practice, this means a willingness to cooperate with any regime, without being conditioned by the requirements of democratization, good governance or respect for human rights. It was this "key" that opened Beijing's doors to countries that Washington does not want to deal with (Sudan, Zimbabwe).

Beijing, unlike the United States, is also characterized by a willingness to take risks when operating in war-torn states such as the DRC or Liberia. In 2009, it was reported in the press that the company signed

page 18

CNOOC has a contract with the authorities of Puntland province in Somalia to search for oil fields and develop them. Beijing has agreed to this, even though Somalia is currently a mosaic of self-proclaimed States and territories. Moreover, Puntland is not allowed to enter into such agreements, and it is not clear whether there is oil in Somalia.

Beijing's assets include the ability to combine public and private initiative, comprehensive state assistance to Chinese companies, participation in the implementation of state programs of Chinese banks such as Exim Bank and China Development Bank, as well as entrepreneurial enthusiasm at both the private and state levels.

China's cooperation with African countries is carried out not only at the state level, but also at the non-governmental level, covering wide areas of the African economy. At the same time, private enterprises take into account market demands and make changes to their investment policies. For example, they develop the drinking water supply sector in countries where water purification technologies are weak, carry out fruit processing and natural juice production projects. During an investment workshop in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2009, 20 Chinese companies put forward 30 investment proposals. They talked about wood processing, construction, and the production of household air conditioners.

The strategy that China uses in the struggle for raw material wealth is noteworthy. It not only knows how to find free "niches", but also uses the tactic of acquiring first small shares in deposits or shares of large companies, and only then gradually expands its activities. China is more concerned with controlling the sources of raw materials rather than buying them from global markets. By investing in projects in areas where raw materials are extracted, it guarantees local businesses greater access to Chinese markets in selected industries, which also makes Chinese investments attractive for these countries.

Diplomacy also helps open China's access to Africa's natural resources. Chinese leaders are frequent visitors to the continent. It is an unwritten diplomatic tradition that the Chinese Foreign Minister begins every new year with a visit to Africa.

In 2009, Chinese visitors visited 10 countries of the continent. And in 2010, the Chinese Foreign Minister did not deviate from the tradition of visiting Africa during his first foreign visit of the year. Of the 7 countries he visited in January, 5 are African: Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. At the same time, in the speeches and statements of Chinese leaders, in conversations with the leaders of African countries, there is always a thesis about the common fate, goals and objectives of all developing countries (including China), assurances that Africans are equal partners, and under no circumstances will Beijing stop helping them, certainly, it appeals to African leaders.

China's impressive success on the African continent is prompting experts to speculate about the inevitability of its collision in the future with other consumers of African resources, primarily with the United States. In their forecasts-the aggravation of the "cold war" for African oil 43.

WHAT DOES THE UNITED STATES INTEND TO DO?

Under the George W. Bush administration, the idea of "containing" China prevailed. China has been accused of aiding reactionary and corrupt regimes that violate human rights by failing to listen to the voice of civil society. 44 Even its aid to African countries has been negatively interpreted as contributing to the growth of debt in already debt-ridden countries.

China's policies in Sudan and Zimbabwe were particularly sharply criticized. China has been accused of turning a blind eye to the genocide in Darfur because of its interest in oil resources. The African media in some cases supported the ideas promoted by Washington, but the reaction of African elites was clearly not what Washington strategists expected. The leaders of African countries did not express their willingness to spoil relations with Beijing; moreover, at every opportunity, China expressed gratitude for its help and support.

In this regard, an important question for the Obama administration is what strategy to choose in relation to the problem of African resources, primarily oil, and the Chinese competitor that is so successful in the oil sector. Neoconservatives are proposing to resolve this issue not through commercial competition with China, but through military force. In their view, the United States should deploy its military forces, in this case AFRICOM*, in such a way as to protect the oil resources that the next generation of Americans needs.45 So, the adviser to the US Department of State and the US Department of Defense, Dr. J. Peter Pham openly described one of the goals of AFRICOM as "protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources", which implies "ensuring that no other interested party, for example, China, India, Japan or Russia, receives monopoly rights or preferential treatment here" .46

However, in recent years, supporters of a different point of view have gained more and more influence in the American political establishment. In 2008, the United States published the book "The United States and the Chinese Invasion of Africa: Prospects for US - China - Africa Cooperation", which provides an overview of the results of the conference on American and Chinese policy in Africa held in Washington in December 2007.


* The United States Military's Joint Command in the Africa Zone (United States Africa Command, US AFRICOM, AFRICOM).

page 19

The conference was attended by leaders of a number of countries and experts-analysts from the United States, China and African countries. Reports on Chinese policy in Africa, based on interviews with Africans, analyzed opportunities for the United States, China,and Africa to cooperate in the areas of energy, health, social issues, and building an African security system. 47

Speaking at a symposium on China's policy in Africa at Indiana University in March 2009, University of Washington Professor David Shinn drew a parallel between the goals that China and the United States pursue in Africa. He came to the conclusion that they largely coincide 48. At the same time, Shinn noted that China interacts more successfully with African countries, in particular, the level of personal contacts between Beijing and African leaders is much higher than the American one.

China has established diplomatic relations with 49 African countries, and the United States with 53, but they have the same number of embassies in Africa - 48. With the exception of Somalia, where neither the United States nor China is present for security reasons, the latter is represented at the level of ambassadors in all countries with which it has diplomatic relations, while the United States has closed embassies in Guinea-Bissau, the Seychelles and the Comors for economic or security reasons, and has never opened embassies in Sao Paulo.Tohme and Príncipe. The United States has 6 consulates in Africa, while China has 9 consulates.

Among the advantages of China, D. Shinn called attention to the infrastructure of the continent's countries, low-interest and long-term loans and credits, special economic zones that have been created or are being created in African countries, more active participation in peacekeeping operations on the continent, in providing medical care to Africans. According to the scientist, China has achieved more success than the United States.

The result of the last decade: China was able to realize its interests in Africa to a greater extent than the United States. The US has more resources than China, but China is in better financial shape than the US. If this trend continues, China will soon have a significant advantage over the United States.


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2 International Energy Agency. Oil Information. 2005. OECD/ IEA. Paris. 2006. Table 8.

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16 Ibidem.

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49 Ibidem.


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T. L. DEITCH, THE BIG GAME: CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES IN THE AFRICAN COMMODITY MARKETS // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 01.08.2023. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/THE-BIG-GAME-CHINA-AND-THE-UNITED-STATES-IN-THE-AFRICAN-COMMODITY-MARKETS (date of access: 13.07.2024).

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01.08.2023 (346 days ago)
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