DAKAR — Bans on imports of Chinese milk products by African states fearing contamination have highlighted the growing presence of Chinese goods in Africa’s markets and raised worries over depending on them too heavily.
From Ivory Coast in the west to Tanzania in the east, governments have joined the list of countries blocking Chinese milk imports over concerns they could be contaminated with deadly melamine.
Since the start of the decade, African leaders have been keen to strike often controversial deals with China which guarantee supply of oil or metals from Africa in return for billions of dollars in loans and infrastructure projects. These deals have opened the door to imports of cheap Chinese goods, including food, which African consumers have come to rely on as they struggle with high prices. Chinese exports to Africa rose 40 percent to US$23 billion year-on-year in the first half of 2008.