There has been much discourse over China’s growing presence in Africa, to the point where it has been called colonial and imperialist, with critics accusing China of “exploiting Africa’s natural resources to feed its need for industrial output” (Esposito, 2015).

However, it is argued by many that “while China’s economic footprint in Africa is growing, it represents only a fraction of China’s economic activity around the world” (Albert, 2017) …

China has stretched its economic ties across the globe and initiated economic movements that have posed itself as an equal competitor against the US, with it’s Yuan currency beginning to sell oil and with the establishment of the AIIB posing a real threat to the dollar and the US-led World Bank.

What makes China a real threat to the US and a unique trading partner, especially to non-Western countries, is its favourable principles on foreign policy of noninterference and respect for sovereignty which allows contentious governments in countries like Sudan and Iran to “simply choose to sell its oil to China, and receive Yuan in return, and use that currency to trade for the necessary resources it needs to sustain its economy” (Schortgen Jr, 2012) causing the sanctions made by the U.S. to have very little effect.

Since “crude oil is the standard currency of the world” (Schortgen Jr, 2012) the US dollar and its economic position is bound to fall promptly with the amount of backing China has received in trade and support for the use of its currency from natural oil producing states, with Russia even stating that it would “sell oil to China in any and all amounts they desired” (Schortgen Jr, 2012). Even “European countries, including Germany and Italy” (Wolf, 2015) and Britain decided to apply as shareholders for China’s AIIB and support China’s economic move which subsequently “irritated the US” (Wolf, 2015).

Undoubtedly, China is on its way to becoming a first world power with it’s investments and economic ties already reaping much economic growth and advancement of China and the Yuan currency but questions still lie on what effect will this have on the global political economy and how will China’s rising position will effect the future of developing countries and current first world powers.

Grace Ashenafi


Eleanor Albert (July 2017), China in Africa, Council on Foreign Relations. Available at: (Accessed: 12th December 2017)

Mark Esposito and Terence Tse (November 2015), China Is Expanding Its Economic Influence in Africa. What Is Africa Getting Out of It?, Slate. Available at: (Accessed: 12th December 2017)

Kenneth Schortgen Jr. (September 2012), Dollar no longer primary oil currency – China begins to sell oil using Yuan, Signs of the Times. Available at: (Accessed: 14th December 2017)

Martin Wolf (March 2015), A rebuff of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is folly (AIIB), Financial Times. Available at: (Accessed: 14th December 2017)

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