Remarks by David H. Shinn to the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.
I thank Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith and Ranking Member Karen Bass for inviting me to participate in this hearing. For the past six years, two of us have been researching a book on China-Africa relations that is being published by the University of Pennsylvania Press and will be available this June. My comments today reflect some of that research. Unless otherwise noted, the statistics and analysis in this testimony refer to all fifty-four countries in Africa. China tends not to make a distinction between Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa as the U.S. government often does.
U.S.-China Economic Competition in Africa
The Subcommittee asked that we focus on how China competes economically with the United States in Africa, how China serves as an undemocratic model of governance and issues concerning natural resources, land grabs and human rights. Let me take the economic competition question first. The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government.