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Asian Investment in Africa: A Snapshot

Tanneke B. Heersche, Othelia Langner, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment (2013)

This article will offer a glance at what has been broadly entitled ‘Asian Investment in Africa’ - a glance only as the scope of the investments and opportunities, the identity of the actors on the continent as well as the breadth and diversity of the continent itself are immense. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the continent and much has been written on, among other things, increasing investment in the continent and the role of the continent's external trade and business relations with countries like China, India, Russia and Brazil. The subject matter inevitably gives rise to intense debate - whether geopolitical, economic or social in nature. Phrases and terminology used in the media and the many publications of interest serve to intensify the debate.2

Stating the obvious, “Africa” is a continent. There are fifty-five countries, over twenty four official languages (with over 1500 African languages also being considered official languages of the African Union), a wide range of traditional tribal governance structures and a diversity of legal systems that reflect either or both of common law and civil law principles. The geography is as diverse as its cultures.

Similarly, there is not a uniform “Asian” investor in Africa. Asian investment is represented by a wide range of actors from countries as diverse as India, China, Korea and Japan, amon