La Chine est-elle l’amie de l’Afrique?

YAOUNDÉ – Pour un grand nombre des pays en développement, l’investissement direct étranger est considéré comme quelque chose de très positif. Les sociétés étrangères peuvent ainsi amener des liquidités, des compétences, des technologies et des normes d’éthique supérieures au pays d’accueil. Mais certains d’entre eux ne voient pas d’un bon œil de tels investisseurs, car beaucoup se font accuser d’ingérence politique, de pollution de l’environnement, de violations des droits du travail et d’autres pratiques douteuses. Le débat est particulièrement animé lorsqu’est abordé le sujet des investissements chinois en Afrique – un continent qui a subi un long passé d’exploitation politique, économique et commerciale par des puissances étrangères.

L’école dite « néocolonialiste », dont l’optique est répandue dans les cercles des observateurs sceptiques de la Chine, considère les relations économiques de la Chine avec l’Afrique comme essentiellement impériales. Selon eux, elles n’auraient pour seul but que d’extraire le maximum de bénéfices à court terme, sans égard ou presque pour les normes de gouvernance, et encore moins pour les objectifs de développement à plus long terme des pays hôtes.

D’autres considèrent cette relation moins comme une question d’exploitation qu’une simple fonction du principe de libre marché du capitalisme, selon lequel ceux qui ont peu de pouvoir de négociation se voient forcés d’accepter des conditions défavorables. D’autres expriment une opinion encore plus nuancée : les relations sino-africaines constituent un partenariat, en accord avec le Nouveau partenariat pour le développement de l’Afrique, un organisme panafricain qui a pour mission d’accroître l’influence des États africains dans leurs relations internationales.

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