AFRICANGLOBE – China’s largest English newspaper, China Daily, launched an African edition, continuing a trend of Chinese media expansion into Africa. The trend follows increasingly strong trade partnerships between China and Africa’s fast developing nations.
Weekly editions of China Daily will be published in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. The stat-run paper joins fellow Chinese news outlets China Central Television and Xinhua in the leap to Africa.
“The relationship between China and the African continent is one of the most significant relationships in the world today,” China Daily publisher and editor-in-chief, Zhu Ling told the BBC. “It is growing and complex and not always understood… We hope to set that straight.”
CCTV Africa also launched out of Kenya earlier this year, with Xinhua providing radio service alongside television and print coverage. Xinhua also launched a partnership with a Kenyan mobile firm Safaricom to provide news service by way of mobile devices.
China Daily Attempting to Influence Discourse in Africa
China has spent much of the year advocating its investments in Africa, promising to help aid in developing infrastructure and trade. The communist republic has become Africa’s largest trading partner, but some analysts believe that the rapidly growing relationship between the two could make Africa too dependent.
As China benefits from Africa’s plentiful natural resources, and exchanges manufactured goods and funding, the trade relationship begins to resemble a colonial system. South Africa, the country with the country’s largest economy, has been accused of turning away the Dalai Lama so as not to upset the Chinese trade partners it relies on.
Xinhua has defended the rapid expansion, describing it as a mutually beneficial situation. “Africa’s exports of crude oil, minerals, steel and agricultural products have played an active role in lifting the Chinese people’s livelihood. Meanwhile, the continent also serves as an indispensable market with great potential for Chinese products,” an opinion piece from the state-run agency said.
“What’s more, Beijing focused on helping build the continent’s productive capacity by improving its infrastructure and boosting the manufacturing sector, rather than involving the so-called “resource-grabbing practice,” the author added.
So far African officials have offered no opposition to trade with China, welcoming the influx of manufactured goods and investments. Developing nations like Ethiopia look to the east for funding to recover infrastructure that sits decades behind. However, while African governments and big businesses benefit from the relationship, individual African citizens may not see positive results if Chinese funding never trickles down from the top.
By; Kevin Webb