Publicly China’s engagement in Africa is based on “mutual benefit” or, as Chinese officials like to phrase it “win win.” Behind the scenes, though, it’s a little more complicated. Many of those multibillion dollar natural resource-for-infrastructure deals have been arranged by mysterious middlemen like Sam Pa and his Hong Kong-based Queensway Group. These go-betweens, according to reporting from the FT’s Tom Burgis, often do not live up to Beijing’s lofty ideals as common Africans see little from the fruits of these deals while politicians, brokers and other elites pocket millions in profits.
Some of the articles referenced in this show include:
- Financial Times Magazine: China in Africa: how Sam Pa became the middleman
- The Economist: The Queensway syndicate and the Africa trade
Tom Burgis has covered Africa for the Financial Times for six years, in particular the natural resource industries and the corruption and conflict that often accompany them. He was a correspondent in Johannesburg from 2008-2009 and west Africa correspondent, based in Lagos, from 2009-2011. He is currently based in London for the FT, working on breaking news and investigations, and writing a book about the companies, politicians and middlemen who conspire to loot African resources. Before joining the FT he worked in South America and as a London-based freelancer covering, among other things, the anti-globalisation movement.