“… US hegemony is the result of objective material conditions … the perpetuation of US primacy is a matter of policy …” (Layne 2006, p.12)
It is one of the most academically known conceptions about ‘Hegemony’ stipulated by Christopher Layne (1949- ), a neo-realist and the Chair in Intelligence and National Security at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
It is a fallacy to describe China’s activities in Africa as ‘colonization’ if one understands what ‘Primacy’ means in International Relations (IR). Primacy is the un-comparable or supremacy in hard power not just in military but also natural resources as well as raw materials.
China is a gigantic country but its natural endowment is far short of enabling this nation to claim for hegemony anywhere in the world. It lacks the strategic natural resources (except the rare earth minerals) as well as the basic materials for daily life such as timber, soybean, and pork. Without such a ‘primacy’, hegemony is an empty talk.
China has to source most of the raw materials to meet the needs for all types of necessities from abroad, and Africa is one of these places. However, unlike the European powers during the Colonial Period, China buys these items from the resources owners dollar by dollar.
Furthermore, to induce the developing countries to grow and dig up these materials from the earth sooner rather than later, China provides the irrigation technologies and fertilizers, drillers and cranes, help build roads and ports, install communication networks, and so on.
And, while doing all these, China is enabling these countries to grow with her.
‘Nature’, the globally leading and the most prestigious journal of science, published its part 5 essay on the ‘China’s Science Silk Road’ series on May 14, 2019, explaining that “Africa has emerged as a major partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and that is paying dividends for science…”
“… Researchers say that many African countries would not be able to achieve as much as they do in science and technology without help from China …”
“… ‘Africa is a rising star, but the Chinese have been a helping hand, and are helping us get to where we’d like to be, sooner,’ says Gituru…” Robert Gituru is the director of the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, a facility established with the help of Chin Academy of Science that opened last November in the grounds of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
In short, China relies on Africa and other developing countries for foods and materials, whereas Africa needs China’s assistance for economic as well as technological advancement. They are partners, as named by the scientists of ‘Nature’. The Chinese colonization of Africa is a fallacy, or in a fashion term, ‘fake news’.
Nature’s earlier essays are:
Part 1: How China is redrawing the map of world science
Part 2: Scientists in Pakistan and Sri Lanka bet their futures on China
Part 3: China charts a path into European science
Part 4: South America is embracing Beijing’s science silk road
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.