Less than two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Africa where he announced a $7 billion energy plan and welcomed development competition on the continent. “I want everybody playing in Africa,” he said.
And it didn't take long for China to show that it's playing, and winning. On Wednesday China announced an investment of $1.1 billion in Nigeria's infrastructure, in the form of low-interest loans. According to Al Jazeera, the loan will help pay for airport terminals in four cities, a light-rail line in the capital city of Abuja, roads, and energy infrastructure. And that's on top of the $1.7 billion in contracts that Chinese companies have won to build up the country's roads.
Why is China investing so heavily Nigeria? It's, of course, one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world and the largest in Africa. And with the world expected to consume oil in record numbers and China leading that growth, as IEA reported today, it can't be friends with enough oil-rich countries.
But that's not the only reason China is pouring billions of dollars into Nigeria. It's also the most populated country in Africa and China will be looking to Africa to help expand its consumer market.
And the amount of money China is investing to achieve its goals in Africa is absolutely staggering. According to the International Business Times, while total Chinese investment in Africa is difficult to track, it estimates that China has invested -- in foreign direct investment, development aid, and export credits -- more than $30 billion a year for the past five years.