ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки


From the above, we come to the conclusion that the PRC is strengthening its positions in some Arab countries of North and East Africa (for most of which it has become an important trading part-ner) through trade and economic cooperation, in-vestment, humanitarian and economic assistance. The latter provide China with an uninterrupted supply of energy raw materials and minerals, in return for which Beijing invests in the construction of roads, ports, marine terminals, nuclear power plants, dams, schools, hospitals, housing and indus-trial facilities.

However, the political instability in the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa after the events of the 2011 Arab Spring posed new chal-lenges and opportunities for Beijing's geostrategic influence and geopolitical ambitions in the `region`. The construction of a military base in Djibouti can be seen as one of the results of China's changing military strategy and its growing ambition to bal-ance its military and economic power. The need to protect China's increasing investment in Africa has led to a departure from China's traditional non-interference policy in the internal affairs of other countries. This has fueled international concern about China's political, economic and military role in the African continent.

In fact, there are conflicting views in the Arab countries of North and Eastern Africa on whether to expand or limit China's role in their political and eco-nomic life. Investment from Chinese entrepre-neurial migration has led to positive (indirect jobs) and negative (crowding out local traders) effects in local African societies. As a rule, the cause of discontent and social tension is the so-called Chinese "neo-colonial policy" — the mass immigration of Chinese labor to countries in the region, restrictions imposed by Chinese entrepreneurs on labor law, lack of transparency and accoun-tability in transactions, the scarcity of projects in the interests of the locals, as well as the capture of domestic markets and the large-scale exploitation of natural resources. Criticism of Chi-na is growing from trade unions and civil society groups for "poor working conditions, unsustainable environmental practices and job displacement" caused by Chinese factories.

The criticism also includes the "debt traps",9 high interest rates on Chinese loans, environmental problems, low security standards, as well as loans for project revaluations, which are often accompanied by nepotism and kickbacks, with economic and political repercussions. There are fears that China is increasing its long-term influence over weak countries in the region through investment and non-repayable loans ("debt trap theory" or diplomacy), which often leads to the cancellation or delay of B&R projects. Despite this, official Beijing expresses its readiness to continue friendly consultations with some Arab countries of North and East Africa in order to find a solution or reduce their debts to China. Beijing intends to encourage the international community, in particular the developed countries, to take more substantial measures to reduce the debt and ease the debt burden of African countries.

Beijing's advance into Arab countries of North and East Africa, especially the deployment of military bases and the expansion of its naval forces, exacerbated both the Sino-US rivalry. In order to limit or curb China's expansion of influence, Wash-ington has been actively criticizing Beijing's coop-eration with countries with human rights issues, as well as the growing dissatisfaction with the Chinese neo-colonial policy by the countries of the `region`.

And although Beijing, emphasizing its "anti-imperialist" policy, declared its refusal to create its own military formations outside its national bor-ders, rapid economic growth and the development of the China's economic interests required a revi-sion of the established principles. Under these cir-cumstances, the “non-interference stance” is be-coming increasingly difficult to maintain, given the deepening trade ties between China and Africa in general and with the thousands of Chinese workers employed in various projects across the continent.

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении