For the better part of a century, Britain brought roads, bridges, railroads, and infrastructure development to Africa—but it also took from the land and the people. In the early 1960s, Britain granted multiple African nations independence and pulled out. However, within a decade, China began to take its place (The Telegraph, May 31, 2023). With their Belt and Road initiative, China has built roads, ports, factories, jobs, and infrastructure in many African nations. Yet, China is following in the footsteps of Britain and the other colonial powers in other ways, as well.
Over the last twenty years, China has invested nearly $160 billion USD in Africa—often in the form of loans. Since the 1970s, China has invested almost $3 billion USD in Sierra Leone alone. Chinese money opens doors for the exploitation of nationally and internationally protected lands. By some accounts, armed guards protect Chinese workers encroaching into disputed or protected territory while national governments look the other way. China is effectively leveraging Africa’s internal political corruption and conflicts for its own gain—not unlike colonial powers in times past. African communities with few sources of meaningful employment and lacking electricity and running water are willing to jump at any opportunity to improve conditions today—in spite of long-term consequences.
China is not the only nation to behave this way. This cycle has been repeated around the world and throughout time. When more powerful nations enter other nations, they seldom care about the peoples or the soil they occupy—their motive is profit and improving their own situation. Sadly, this cycle will not change until Jesus Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God, where the focus will be on giving instead of getting, and nations will be taught to wisely manage the earth instead of draining resources while ignoring the consequences or harm caused. Until then, nations will continue to be greedy for gain. To learn more about both the history of this cycle of greed and what lies ahead, read or listen to “A World of Greed!”