Historically, Africa has been a land of opportunities for warring superpowers attempting to secure their political influence and economic profit. Recently, however there seems to have been a shift in the dynamics of African economic development. For the last two decades, the G2 powers–the United States and China–have peacefully maintained their presence on the continent and kept a kind of competitive equilibrium. The launching of the Grand Inga Dam project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, however, has finally given the two powers an opportunity to actually converge their interests and cooperate.
Up until this point, China and the United States have tended to operate in different sectors within the African economy, avoiding direct competition. Yun Sun, a fellow with the East Asian program at the Stimson Center, mentioned that whereas the “American approach is more comprehensive, ranging from economic relations to capacity building, to democratization to peace and stabilization… China is more interested in economic engagements and has contributed relatively less in other issues in Africa.”
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