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Amid Rising Instability in a Growing Number of African Countries, the Question of Whether China Will Remain Engaged Looms

A man carries a banner during a demonstration at Ojota in Lagos on June 12, 2021, as Nigerian activists called for nationwide protests over what they criticize as bad governance and insecurity. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

One of the original China in Africa memes that still endures today among many people on the continent is that the “Chinese want to colonize Africa” and want to “invade” the continent using a mix of debt traps, trade dependency, and immigration.

I fully understand where that anxiety comes from given the continent’s violent, painful past dealings with foreign powers. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when actual colonialism was a reality, and then even after liberation, the great powers stuck around for decades to further pillage Africa’s resources.

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