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China's plan to build 'Africa's New York City'

Posting in Cities

China's continuing with major investments in Africa.

The latest: an ambitious, nearly $8 billion redevelopment project to turn a suburb in the South African capital of Johannesburg into Africa's New York City.

Chinese development company Shanghai Zendai Property (based in Hong Kong) said earlier this week that it's planning to turn Modderfontein, a manufacturing hub in eastern Johannesburg, into a major African hub over the next 15 years.

“It will become the future capital of the whole of Africa,” said Shanghai Zendai Chairman Dai Zhikang at a press conference, according to Bloomberg. “This will be on par with cities like New York in America or Hong Kong in the Far East.”

The nearly 4,000 acre project will consist of 35,000 houses, a sport stadium, and an educational center. The company claims the completed city could provide as many as 100,000 jobs and house 100,000 more people.

As Quartz points out, the project will be a shift from other Chinese investments in Africa which have generally revolved around gaining access to natural resources. Though the project will be a jumping off point for other ventures by the company throughout the African continent and those projects have not yet been announced.

To say that this project will be the equivalent of New York City is a stretch to say the least. $8 billion wouldn't buy much in New York. Still, it's just another example of Chinese companies investing big in Africa. Chinese companies are pouring more money into sub-Saharan African than any other region in the world, with South Africa gaining the third most investment of any other country in the region.

Read more: Bloomberg

Photo: Flickr/Evan Bench

— By on November 7, 2013, 2:08 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure