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China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing's Expansion in Africa Paperback – International Edition, August 24, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568586140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568586144
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. With trade between Africa and China estimated to reach $100 billion by 2010, China recently over-took Great Britain as the continent's third largest business partner. Journalists Michel and Beuret offer an intrepid and intelligent analysis of how Chinese economic investment is changing every-day African life-and the implications for China's role in the international community. From a nation that historically discouraged emigration, China has made a radical volte face-president Hu Jintao actually encourages citizens to seek their fortune in Africa-and this shift has resulted in investment in such areas as hydroelectric dams, textiles and tourism. The authors bring back stories from the rain forests in Congo, the uranium mines of the Sahara and the oil fields of Nigeria-frisking every statistic and detailing the human and environmental impact of China and Africa's relationship-and how it is perceived by the Western political, economic, and humanitarian institutions that have long dictated Africa's parameters of economic growth. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

USA Today
“Through a witty narrative that at times becomes a first-person travelogue, the authors entertain while educating, revealing in the process the absurdities that come with reporting on the ground in Africa...[A]n admirable contribution to a story with broad geopolitical implications.”

Library Journal
“A significant book that insightfully examines China’s role in Africa, China Safari reveals not only the complexities of Chinese immigration to Africa, but also the political rivalries that result from it…Recommended for all interested readers.”

New York Times
China Safari is a fascinating, provocative work of firsthand reporting that illuminates an important global economic story.”

Washington Times
China Safari tackles an important and largely underreported topic with an engaging and lively verve…Mr. Michel and Mr. Beuret make an important contribution, without passing judgment, toward our understanding of China’s intentions in Africa.”

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Customer Reviews

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This was a very enjoyable and informative read.
Mark Tee
Sixteen full pages of color photos in the middle of the book were unexpected and a complete delight.
Robert David STEELE Vivas
China's people and its companies are out for whatever is best for China, consequences be damned.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of the modest number of books focused on China in Africa, this is one of the two best, and both are unique--if you buy only one, at least read my summary of the other, China into Africa: Trade, Aid, and Influence Whereas this book is direct journalism with wonderful color photos and direct ground-truth stories, China Into Africa is a best in class collection of academic essays.

Sixteen full pages of color photos in the middle of the book were unexpected and a complete delight.

On balance between the two books, this one taught me more and provided insights I could not get elsewhere to include the clear understanding, documented across multiple encounters by the authors, that the Chinese consider any Chinese business area or housing area of, by, and for their Chinese workers, to be sovereign territory of China immune to indigenous inspection or intervention.

Highpoints for me:

+ Africa is undergoing a huge transformation, and in combination, the infusion of Chinese infrastructure with the discovery of new energy fields and the growing need of all for what Africa has, is creating a perfect environment for a wealth explosion, and the US is missing it.

+ US has given up in Africa, in large part because the US Government other than the military does not have the resources, the human capital, the area knowledge, or the innate interest to actually do something strategic.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"China Safari" summarizes the meanderings of three French reporters through Africa and to a conference on Africa in Beijing. The bad news is that they lacked high-level contacts or access to good statistical sources, and their account rambles; despite these limitations, however, the book provides some useful information, summarized in the following.

China has taken France's place as Africa's second largest business partner, and is closing in on the number one position - held by the U.S. In late 2006, an estimated 750,000 Chinese were resident across the entire African continent. One of China's main attractions to African nations is that it has not gotten involved in local politics like the U.S. and the Word Bank have; on the other hand, the authors claim that China is gradually realizing that its visible support of certain dictators may backfire and is now pressuring Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Another reason the Chinese are popular with local governments is that they don't just export raw materials, as American companies have been prone to do. For example, instead of just exporting bauxite like Alcoa, the Chinese are also funding a hydroelectric dam, a railroad, and a refinery - creating many more jobs as well as valuable infrastructure.

Chinese bidders are generally successful thanks to their low labor costs and low overheads - eg. managers stay with workers in work camps, not at the Hilton Hotel. In addition, Chinese machines cost about one-fourth that of European ones, and Chinese workers toil seven days/week, plus overtime as needed to keep on schedule.

Typical Chinese workers in Africa sign an eight-page contract to work 18 months, followed by one month of home leave.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-read for anyone trying to understand China or Africa, or both as is the case for me. I put on both my "analyst hat" and my "Africa-lover/environmentalist" hat while reading this book and found it fascinating.

The book shifts gracefully between observations on how China's government and people are ambitiously pushing for economic growth and a route out of poverty, and how Africa's different governments are capitalizing on China's need for resources. China's people and its companies are out for whatever is best for China, consequences be damned. In my work role as analyst looking at the impact of China's growth on western companies, I see this again and again. Environmental consequences of growth are of little concern. At the same time, China's workers are willing to make sacrifices in order to provide for their families that wouldn't be acceptable to workers in the more prosperous West.

The bottom line: China needs resources: minerals, timber, food commodities. And in order to gain secure long-term access to these resources, government policy supports companies as they build roads, train lines and ports in order to extract the resources they need. The local governments see cash coming in-- and infrastructure being built-- and the Chinese see access to the resources it needs. Corruption naturally follows, and from the book's commentary there doesn't seem to be much long-term sustainable benefit to Africans from the resources trade. No sustainable manufacturing-based employment is created, no skills are learned or improvement in quality of life despite billions in cash coming in.

The side effects can be severe. Chinese government policy is focused on "what's good for China.
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