Little dragons, big hype
THIS IS EXACTLY THE IMAGE THAT the Chinese government and private sector want to shake off. Beijing is lending to well-respected institutions like the Nigeria-based Africa Finance Corporation, which announced a $300m deal in October. ‘Chinese dragons – firms of all sizes and sectors – are bringing capital investment, management know-how and entrepreneurial energy to every corner of the continent’, said the consultants at Mckinsey in a 2017 report that pointed to the estimated 10,000 Chinese-owned firms active far beyond the traditional oil-for-stadium trope of yesteryear. Some 12% of Africa’s manufacturing is believed to be done by Chinese companies. Companies like Transsion, a large Chinese smartphone maker, are outselling Apple and Samsung in Africa with their popular, under-$100 Tecno brand.