Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Rising China Counters US Clout in Africa

The Chinese economic juggernaut and its thirst for minerals and markets has increasingly brought it to Africa, including here to Zimbabwe. The fertile hills of this Southern African nation are rich with gold and the world's second-largest platinum reserves. In Sudan, Angola, and along the Gulf of Guinea, the Asian giant is guzzling the continent's vast oil supply.


Lately, Beijing has begun winning projects that have geopolitical relevance, such as Ethiopia's Takazee Dam -- a massive, $300 million hydro-power station that is rising on the headwaters of the Blue Nile River. Set deep in a mountainous region near the border with Sudan and Eritrea, the Takazee Dam has been on Ethiopia's drawing board for over a decade. But getting it off the ground hasn't been easy, thanks to Egypt. Cairo has long feared any project that could affect the flow of the Nile, viewing its own access to those waters as a matter of national security. Indeed, so great was its concern over Takazee that Egyptian officials have made clear that any attempt to divert Nile water could result in military action, according to senior Chinese and Egyptian officials. (More on Ruskiboss Rants)

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