The visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) earlier this year was indicative of a shift in Beijing’s lending and investment focus for Africa, according to analysts, reported the South China Morning Post.
While China is still the world’s largest oil importer, the availability of crude from the Middle East – whose shipments would traditionally have gone to the US but no longer do because of sanctions – means it is no longer heavily reliant on African suppliers, analysts say.
But what Beijing does still need from Africa is copper, cobalt and other rare minerals, according to Mark Bohlund, a senior analyst at REDD Intelligence. “This is one reason to expect China’s engagement in Africa to shift towards the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said in a research report.
According to the China Africa Research Initiative, while the DRC received only $2.7 billion worth of Chinese loans between 2000 and 2019, the total value of Chinese foreign direct investments in the country was $5.6 billion as of 2019. “As a result of these transactions, a substantial part of the Congolese mining sector, which is mainly located in the east and southeast parts of the country, is now in Chinese hands,” the REDD report said.