An article published on 21 June 2013 in South Africa's Mail and Guardian titled "Africa Isn't a Big Bull in China's Shop" offers a useful commentary on China-Africa trade and investment. Written by Chantelle Benjamin, it notes that China's trade with Africa is a tiny percent of its global trade. On the positive side for Africa, China's imports from Africa are growing faster than its exports to Africa. On the negative side, China takes raw materials from Africa, manufactures something with them, and then sells the manufactured product to Africa and other countries.
Accurate Chinese foreign direct investment figures for Africa are elusive. The article estimates a total of about $20 billion cumulative Chinese investment in Africa, which probably understates the actual amount. It suggests that African countries, mainly South Africa, have invested about $10 billion in China.