Africa has a long and disturbing history with outside powers exploiting the continent for its natural and human resources in furtherance of their own economic and developmental objectives. In this essay, China's main objectives and the prospects and implications these have on Africa's development are examined. The authors argue that there are two very important perspectives—exploitation and opportunity—on China's role in Africa's development. The authors also argue that African countries must implement meaningful structural and policy changes that could enable them to leverage China's involvement to enhance their development. Whether Chinese interest and involvement brings the danger of renewed exploitation without accompanying sustainable development depends on the extent to which African countries are able to take advantage of the opportunities of this growing interest and transform themselves by circumventing the many economic, political, and social contradictions that are afflicting them.

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