More Chinese came to Africa in the past decade than Europeans in the past 400 years, say Mark Klaver and Michael Trebilcock in their chapter. What does it mean in the context of trade relations and economy?

The famous quote of German writer Thomas Mann “everything is politics” is especially relevant in the Chinese context. The all-encompassing vision of Chinese future presented by the Xi Jinping on the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China made clear that China will actively pursue worldwide leadership in all relevant domains, ranging from the topics such as climate change and environmental protection to international trade and export of its political model. For this reason, it might be reasonable to ask what the world might look like with China as the dominant country. Some argue that when you wonder what the future of internet and digitalization might look like, you should take a look at China. Similarly, it might be said that when you wonder what the future of trade relations with China as dominant and primary business partner might look like, you should take a look at Africa. Mark Klaver and Michael Trebilcock draw in their chapter “Chinese Investment in Africa: Strengthening the Balance Sheet” in the book “China´s Influence on Non-Trade Concerns in International Economic Law” a comprehensive account of the pros and cons of the Chinese investment in Africa. At first glance, the reality of Chinese investment in Africa might look like a win-win situation: on the one hand, China gains access to natural resources hidden under African soil as well as access to markets in African countries and indirectly also in Western countries; on the other hand, thanks to the activities of Chinese investors, the economies of African countries are able to grow at unprecedented rates. As the authors mention, the intensity of Chinese presence in Africa might be illustrated on the example that more Chinese came to Africa in the past decade than Europeans in the past 400 years. From the perspective of a broader context and wider consequences, it is beneficial to mention that Chinese business leaders, as well as the banks backing investments in Africa, operate under the wings of the Communist Party. The rationale of China´s investment policy is rather pragmatic. Hence, even though the African economies might be booming at the moment, to achieve a long-term benefit profiting all sectors of the society, African countries should adopt a similarly pragmatic approach and pay attention to their own interests. Among the measures which the African countries might adopt are for instance measures focusing on gaining tax revenues for providing access to natural resources or measures facilitating technology transfer and transfer of skills between technologically superior Chinese companies and African workforce. For this purpose, for instance, Special Economic Zones might be created. To learn more about this topic, Mark Klaver and Michael Trebilcock invite interested readers to check out their chapter.