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Thursday, September 07, 2006

China's Influence on the Rise

A couple of intersting articles in the FT today about China's growing global clout. Firstly in Egypt:

China becoming Egypt’s biggest trading partner

China will surpass the US as Egypt’s biggest individual trading partner within eight years, and Beijing is rapidly also becoming a key source of investment and technology, according to Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Egypt’s minister of trade and industry.

China was beginning to replace some US and Europe suppliers not just in consumer products but also capital goods ranging up to turn-key industrial projects, said Mr Rachid.

“We are getting capital goods at a lower cost and with the same or better technology,” he said, noting that the increase in trade with China would have a “large impact” on Egypt’s economic policies.

and then in Zimbabwe:

China intervenes in Zambian election

The Chinese government has intervened in Zambia’s upcoming presidential election in a forceful sign of the commodity-hungry country’s growing economic and political clout in Africa.

Li Baodong, China’s ambassador in Lusaka, said Beijing might cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if voters elected Michael Sata, an opposition candidate, as president, Zambian media reported on Tuesday.

His remarks are the first sign of overt political interference by China in African affairs in decades, reflecting Beijing’s rapidly expanding role as an investor on the continent and as a client for long-term supplies of raw materials. China is a leading investor in Zambian copper, the country’s biggest export product by value.

It will be interesting to watch how all this develops.

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