The Sino-African encounter began in earnest in the late 1960s and early 1970s, centring on Tanzania, whose politics of Afro-rural socialism and commitment to the non-aligned movement made it a natural partner for Mao’s China. Alongside renovating the nation’s railway network, the Chinese government initiated ยูฟ่าเบท its programme of stadium diplomacy in Africa, building the national arena in Dar es Salaam in 1971.
Somalia acquired one in Mogadishu in 1978, and then through the 1980s and early 1990s the pace picked up, with gifts from the Chinese people popping up in the capital cities of Benin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger and Rwanda.
The Amahoro Stadium, completed just months before the outbreak of Rwanda’s genocidal civil war, would serve as the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force and a place of sanctuary for Tutsis fleeing their Hutu attackers. All these stadiums were small and offered very basic facilities, but the growing Chinese construction industry was soon able to build bigger and more architecturally brutal stadiums and associated multi-sports complexes for the dictatorships of Moi in Nairobi and Mobutu in Kinshasa.
Busy as the Chinese had been in the 1990s, the pace of their engagement quickened again. Since the turn of the century, they have paid for and built over thirty stadiums, with many more to come.
It is not simply the scale of Chinese construction that has shifted: stadium diplomacy has become entwined with a much bigger economic and political project. In the 1980s, China had been content to foster solidarity in Africa and leverage it to diplomatically ufabet exclude and isolate Taiwan. After assessing the post-Cold War landscape in the early 1990s, however, it became clear to the Chinese leadership that Africa offered rather more.
China’s burgeoning industrial economy and population would soon require new export markets, land for agricultural purposes and, above all, access to the full range of raw materials its factories consumed. Africa, particularly as its oil reserves grew, offered all of these in abundance and, given the United States’ rapid withdrawal from the continent after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the price of entry looked very low.
Since then, Sino-African trade, aid, investment and migration have all soared. China is now the continent’s biggest single trading partner, and exports have risen since 2000 twenty-fold, to more than $150 billion a year.
It is also Africa’s largest external direct investor, with interests in dozens of countries in mining and manufacturing. Its state banks are responsible for the lion’s share of infrastructure loans, and there is now a Chinese migrant population in Africa getting close to two million.