Saturday, May 1, 2010

Interview with website of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

I interviewed with China Knowledge @ Wharton, part of the Wharton School's website on China-Africa relations. You can view the interview here. Here's a selection:
China Knowledge@Wharton: With China's Fortune 500 companies leading the way investing in Africa, are they prepared to succeed there or do they have a learning curve?

Shinn: They have a learning curve. In terms of total foreign investment in Africa, it was said that about 90% was still from the West (non-Chinese) up until a couple of years ago. The Chinese have been going in to Africa in a major way in recent years and that 90% figure may not be valid at the moment. It’s probably less than that. The point is that the new investment going into Africa in recent years has been much greater from China than it has collectively from Europe and North America. But Europe and North America have a big head start on China particularly in the oil sector.

But if you look at the new deals being signed in Africa, they are overwhelmingly Chinese and China has made some good deals and it’s done some that it’s probably going to regret. Just because it is new to the scene and has a lot of money to slosh around, it really is trying to sew up some resources and is making some mistakes. It is a learning curve and they don’t know Africa that well. But the Chinese are fast learners and they’re making an overwhelming effort...

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