When China Met Africa – watch the film here

Our new film on demand is the revealing documentary about China’s commercial involvement in Africa

Reading this on mobile? See the film here

Tying in with the Guardian’s revealing China in Africa series, here’s an opportunity to watch an eye-opening documentary about just what it means. When China Met Africa, directed by Marc and Nick Francis, follows various Chinese enterprises underway in Zambia – from large-scale roadbuilding to small-scale crop-growing – and underscores the uneasy relationship between the two.

It’s a genuinely fascinating film that shines a light on the issues involved; here’s what we wrote when the film came out in the UK:

[When China Met Africa] puts into concrete images that truism of the geo-political commentariat: that China is a new economic superpower. Specifically, it illustrates a new type of colonialist exploitation in present-day Zambia, enthusiastically aided and abetted by the national government. On a micro level, it involves individual Chinese emigres buying large plots of scrub, and hiring locals to clear and farm the land. On the macro, giant Chinese corporations are handed contracts to improve infrastructure: we follow one such, building a highway more than 300km across the country. On the face of it, there’s an anti-western, post-imperial rhetoric fuelling the relationship, but fairly evidently it’s a grossly lopsided one, with considerable benefits to China in the form of plentiful and cheap natural resources. If this documentary is anything to go by, the Chinese incomers are just as suspicious and disrespectful to the Africans as their European forebears; you have to wonder how long it will take the Zambians to become aware of what they’ve let themselves in for.

And for the full series, including articles about arms manufacturers in Ghana and shoe factories in Ethiopia, head over to the Giuardian’s Global Development site.

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