by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – WITH the United States (US) warning about the perils of Chinese debt-fuelled spending for economic stability and China set to continue broadening engagement across Africa early signs indicate the rivalry between the two economic powerhouses will intensify in the continent in 2019.
The rivalry is set to play itself out mostly in East Africa.
These are among the key findings of the RiskMap 2019, a publication forecasting political and security risk for business leaders and policy makers across the world.
Control Risks, the specialist global risk consultancy, produced the publication.
The current publication comes as the US-China rivalry that dominated global headlines in 2018 has played out less visibly in Africa than on other continents.
Daniel Heal, Control Risks Senior Partner for East Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya said support for China or the US had not emerged as a defining issue in African politics, with most countries keen to pursue closer ties and seek financing from both sides than on one camp.
“In 2019, we might see this changing,” he said.
Heal said while still the largest investor on the continent, the US had seen its engagement on the continent become more narrowly focused on security matters under the current administration of President Donald Trump.
In contrast, the Chinese government of President Xi Jinping has made formidable inroads in sub-Saharan Africa over the last decade.
Heal said the current year would show revived US interest in development finance and lending for infrastructure projects on the continent and a more concerted US commercial strategy towards Africa likely taking shape.
“The increased rivalry will therefore open up additional investment opportunities but will also present African countries with increasingly starker foreign policy and commercial choices.”
Overall, Control Risks projected, the US-China trade confrontation will define global geopolitics in 2019.
This is set to complicate business not only for those European businesses operating in both countries but also for those with connections several times removed.
– CAJ News