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Debate amid kidnappings: Is Chinese investment good for Africa?

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In the past week, Chinese workers have been kidnapped in the Sudan and briefly detained in Egypt, an alarming trend that spotlights the growing involvement of China as an economic force in Africa.

The continent is still just a sliver of China’s worldwide trade. However, the commerce has grown markedly in the past decade as China has turned to Africa to help meet its booming demand for energy. China, in turn, has given African countries money and manpower for building projects.

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Not everyone has been thrilled about the trade-off. Michael Sata, the recently elected president of Zambia, has been highly critical of Chinese mining companies and their treatment of his nation’s workers. China has also come under scrutiny for cutting deals with repressive governments such as in Sudan.

Is Chinese investment good for Africa? A Ghanaian economist, a Portuguese politician and two professors of international studies took on that question in November at Intelligence Squared, a live forum for debate in London. Below is the introduction; to see the whole debate click here.

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— Emily Alpert in Los Angeles


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