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China and India Go to Africa

New Deals in the Developing World

Courtesy Reuters

Economic activity between Africa and Asia is booming like never before. Business between the two continents is not new: India's trade with Africa's eastern and southern regions dates back to at least the days of the Silk Road, and China has been involved on the continent since it started investing there, mostly in infrastructure, during the postcolonial era. But today, partly as a result of accelerating commerce between developing countries throughout the world, the scale and pace of trade and investment flows between Africa and India and China are exceptional. (Throughout, Africa is used as a shorthand for sub-Saharan Africa.) Africa's exports to China increased at an annual rate of 48 percent between 2000 and 2005, two and half times as fast as the rate of the region's exports to the United States and four times as fast as the rate of its exports to the European Union (EU) over the same period.

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