China-Africa relations in 2012 – Harmony is quite a task in the auspicious Year of the Dragon

Matthew McDonald


As many parts of the world put the recent festive season to rest and clamber into
2012, the world’s most populous country and the second largest economy is busily
preparing to welcome the Year of the Dragon. For China, last year, the Year of the
Rabbit, was one of careful consolidation and reinforcement of its international stature,
from attention to the trembling Eurozone economies, to intermittent face offs with the
Federal Reserve in Washington over the value of the Yuan Renminbi, to manoeuvres
within dynamic new global alliances such as the BRICS. Sino-African relations
similarly reflected this careful atmosphere of consolidation - some feat given the deep
political and economic penetration of China in many African states on one hand, and
the bitter tumult experienced in a handful of African countries that witnessed violent
protests against governments, and even overthrow of those regimes.

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