You might be surprised to learn that contrary to what is generally believed, China is not the largest foreign investor in Africa. China only ranks third, after the United States, and after the United Kingdom. In the ten years between 2005 and 2014, the total accumulated Chinese direct investment (FDI) in Africa was below $40 billion, while that of the U.S. above $60 billion, and that of the U.K. over $50 billion. However, China is both the number one trade partner of Africa and leads in the rate of growth of direct investments in the recent years; this means it will soon surpass the United States and the UK. On the other hand, U.S. investments in Africa have been collapsing at a rapid rate starting in 2009.
The statistics reveal that it is not China, but rather the United States and the UK which are primarily interested in the raw materials and financial wealth of Africa. While China’s investments are spread over several economic sectors in Africa, with infrastructure and construction being the primary one. U.S. and British investments are concentrated in raw materials and finance.
The Chinese Exim Bank is increasingly becoming the leading source of foreign loans for Africa in projects related to infrastructure. China Exim lent more than $50 billion over the period from 2005 to 2014; during the same time, the U.S. Exim Bank had invested less than one-tenth of that amount in Africa, and 70% of those investments were directed to the mining sector.
Below is the link to the full report with tables, charts and statistics from the China Africa Research Institute -CARI, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies-SAIS. Read: US and China in Africa; What Does the Data Say?