Phi Beta Iota: For over a decade we’ve been tracking the Chinese as they “wage peace” across the Southern Hemisphere, and it is with growing frustration that we recognize that the U.S. Government is simply not paying attention to the real world. See also: Memorandum: Chinese Irregular Warfare; Journal: CINCPAC Slams IC on China; Review: Charm Offensive–How China’s Soft Power Is Transforming the World.
China’s Africa footprint:
a makeover for Algeria
While still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long Islamic insurgency, oil-rich yet impoverished Algeria is getting a makeover: a new airport, its first mall, its largest prison, 60,000 new homes, two luxury hotels and the longest continuous highway in Africa.
The power behind this runaway building spree is China.
Some 50 Chinese firms, largely state-controlled, have been awarded $20 billion in government construction contracts, or 10 percent of the massive investment plan promised by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a nation where jobs and housing are scarce and al-Qaida has struck roots.
Algiers, the tense and rundown capital, now has something relatively new to the Arab world: a Chinatown.
The Beijing government has been a supporter of Algeria since the 1960s, after it won independence from France, and today the 35,000 Chinese in the country are the biggest foreign population after the French.
Trade both ways soared to $4.5 billion last year, from just $200 million in 2001, according to Ling Jun, deputy head of the Chinese Embassy in Algiers. China, is now second only to France in exports to Algeria.
And so on….country after country.