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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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From Publishers Weekly
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The Chinese are building infrastructure that could help unify the continent; the roads, pipelines, ports and airports that they construct could be the basis for tying together currently disparate and often hostile African nations. A major advantage they have is that successful businesses run by Africans risk being looted or taken over by political elites while Chinese businesses are a much tougher target. The Chinese approach differs from banks in the U.S and western Europe in that they have no interest in the imprimatur of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund--they don't insist on democratic elections (usually just window dressing to qualify for loans) or progress on human rights for their citizens.
Michel and Beuret found that Chinese in Africa have the same prejudices and racist assumptions as the former colonial masters, that Africans are "naturally" lazy compared with their ambitious, hardworking countrymen. In China, they claim, if farmers don't plant rice in the spring they will starve in the autumn while in Sub-Sahara Africa "you can just pick fruit from the trees all around you.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a depressing book to read. The only people benefiting from the China-Africa relationship are the Chinese and African politicians. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mystic by the Lake
"China Safari" is one of the first books to look at the influence China is having on the great continent of Africa. Read morePublished 5 months ago by M.B.
very interesting and quite a good read. I found it was full of interesting facts and anecdotes. This is "modern Africa" as it were.Published 14 months ago by Sahan de Silva
This is a book written by French journalists who spent a year in a few African countries for personal interview with various China enterprises, private business, China... Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by David Ip
On the ground antidotes from "real people" were mixed, with some sharing insights but most were trivia. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Lisa Broughton
I was wondering why we just gave out aid rather than really helping African countries with their infrastructure. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by Zarathustra Goertzel
`China Safari - On the trail of Beijing's expansion in Africa' is no doubt an entertaining reading on an anecdotal level. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Tibor Kovacs
The research that these two have done on Chinese neo-colonialism is eye-opening to say the least. Every page makes you pause. Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by Raven Moore
By now the world must surely know that the People's Republic of China has over the past three decades at least achieved a remarkable level of industrialization and a concomitant... Read morePublished on June 3, 2012 by Amazon Customer