There exists a cold war between America and China—one that has lasted for a long time. The perceived competition between America and the Asian giants was heightened as a result of trade.
In recent times, China has posed the biggest threat to America's trade dominance across the globe. The United States of America is approximately 9,833,517 sq km, while China is approximately 9,596,960 sq km in landmass, making China 97.59% the United States size.
Meanwhile, the United States population, which is approximately 332.6 million, is 1.1 billion less than the population of China.
The Asian country was, however, able to turn what should have been a disadvantage into an advantage by converting the population into a viable workforce. Coupled with a healthy business for investors, China offered an alternative of affordable labour to industries across the globe – much to the detriment of America.
Today, it is not news that the majority of the world's manufacturing industries, including American giants like Apple, Intel, Boeing, Dell, to mention a few, all have production and assembly plants in China. As if this is not enough headache for the western powerhouse, America has found itself in unfamiliar territory, as it now has China to battle in its quest to acquire more foreign territories—and markets.
Western colonization of Africa changed world dominance drastically. After European superpowers witnessed firsthand the immeasurable wealth King Leopold II of Belgium made after his conquest in Africa, they trooped to different parts of the continent to get a piece of the plunder.
According to history, the Scramble for Africa took place between 1881 and 1914. Due to worldwide insufficiency of records and proper documentation of the events that characterized this era—something many critics argue was a deliberate attempt to bury the facts—no records fully account for the activities that transpired during that period.
However, it is not debatable that the wealth from Africa saved Europe and continues to sustain them to date. The knowledge of this fact is the reason world superpowers are bent on maintaining their ties with the African continent at all costs.
The United States is sweating over the competition it receives from China and is losing influence in Africa. The U.S. assistant secretary of state for African Affairs under the last administration, Tibor Nagy, did not mix words when he admitted in an interview that China had stood at the door, preventing America from accessing African markets.
"For too long when investors have knocked on the door, and the Africans opened the door, the only person standing there was the Chinese," he told the BBC.
China has increased its presence in the African continent, and this threatens America's quest. Both countries have locked horns over what they perceive as their most priced asset. Africa possesses numerous untapped potentials, and these superpowers know that the sustainability of their nations depends on their presence in Africa.
Gone are the days when low-ranking diplomats were appointed as ambassadors to African countries; today, only the best hands are picked to represent foreign interests in Africa.
Former American president Donald Trump appointed Mr. Nagy as the United States Department's permanent African representative in July 2018. Interestingly, the role had been empty for a long time and only filled by a temporary appointment.
America and other Western countries were caught unawares by China's dominance in Africa because they didn't pay much attention to the credentials of the diplomats they shipped to African nations.
On its part, China sent senior foreign officials to African countries as diplomats.
"In South Africa, China has a highly-ranked diplomat - that shows it matters to Beijing," says Lina Benabdallah, an expert in China-Africa relations at Wake Forest University.
China has toppled Europe and America as the biggest investor in Africa, which has helped increase their dominance in the continent. Still, America is willing to regain its dominance at all costs.
According to a World Investment Report, China invested a total of $45.1 billion in Greenfield projects for the 2016-2017 periods, up close to $40 billion from the 2013-2014 periods.
That's well above the $34.57 billion and$7.54 billion invested by the E.U. and the U.S., respectively, over that period. Each year's figures continue to increase, and the yearly African-China summit has given China direct access to African leaders over a round table.
That's according to NJ Ayuk, J.D., MBA, author of Billions at Play. "The Chinese cooperation model is so attractive because it comes with no conditionality and no conditional actors like the World Bank and the IMF," he says.
"Chinese investors and companies mean business. They inject capital and technology without conditions linked to the political or economic system in place within a given country. The idea of 'foreign interference,' which Europe or the U.S. are often criticized for, does not apply to China."
The battle line has been drawn, and the scramble is on for African dominance. What remains most significant, however, is Africa's position in the scheme of things. Can we continue to position ourselves as a continent ready for the taking?
What are your thoughts?