China-Middle East and Africa: A New World Economic Order

The Chinese influence, in the form of its people, investment and business, is    sweeping across the African continent like a wild fire.   The West is feeling its heat in competing the battle of economy across world, especially African countries. But the tides don’t seem to lose its momentum, which could be proved very challenging in the coming decades in the economic manifestation of world history. China has its business relationship with African nations since the colonial era and supported them as a staunch opponent of colonialism. But, it cannot be ruled out that the present order of economy has same dynamics of colonial economic subjugation by some economic powers. The developing countries are the nests, wherein, the developed words are laying their eggs for their prosperity, which is based on negation of social and economic of sovereignty of those crawling nations. It is not far enough to see that world is experience two economic orders – The West and China with its manifested players. The main battle of economy is being fought in African countries, which have geographical disadvantage for the West. Other hand, China is a unique geopolitical advantage getting its roadways of Afghanistan, which connects African nations going through the Middle East.   Naturally, it shows the reason of affinity of China with Pakistan of being the gateway of Afghanistan, which is very essential to justify China’s economic aspiration.

Seeing the economic algebra, it reflects the dynamics of the geo-political position of the whole Middle East zone, which could play the role in realization of new economic order of China-Afghanistan-Middle East and African countries.  The West is putting its best effort to break the China’s economic aspiration, but China has its own civilization dynamics which could not be pierced by Western high monumental miscalculation of turning the tide economic resurgence. On the one hand, the Middle East should not live in some sort of ivory tower that it would be realized in phase of time. This new order of economy may face many facets of troubled water of ages in absence of the leadership in the Middle East zone. On the other hand, it cannot be ignored the fact of civilization affinity with two other imminent players –Pakistan and Afghanistan– with Saudi Arabian hemisphere of impact.

China-African nations were driven by common experience and ideology: shared subjugation by the West; a resolve to achieve social and economic sovereignty from the shackle of past. In 1956, Egypt became the first African country to establish diplomatic relations. The Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai’s historic visit to Africa in 1963 and 1964 created the lasting impact, which both ideologues are harvesting the crops. A new milestone has been achieved by institutionalizing of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). It has further gone to cement the destination by three ministerial conference(held in 2000, 2003 and 2009) and the climax in 2006 –“China’s Africa Year”, which was followed by the first summit in Beijing, attended by leaders of 48 African countries.  In finding new apogee, “The Sharm-el-Sheikh Declaration(of November 2009) has stressed a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.

Economic cooperation assumed greater importance. It is making countries friends and enemies; splitting world in different blocks in the name European Union and China-Russia alliance,West Asia and war on terror so on. World has gone past the phase of ‘war and revolution’ into ‘peace and development’. Still there is streak of past, which is looming over the sky of unfortunate ones.

Afghanistan is the key player in realization of new economic world order on two accounts. First, recently, the US geologists found that Afghanistan is the Saudi Arabia of future as it has huge minerals beneath its land.  Economic freedom is the key of liberty from every shackles of suzerainty. Coming decades could be golden era of Afghanistan, if peace is sustained in the troubled state.  Second is that the Afghanistan has unique geo-political dynamics connecting China to African countries and the Middle East. Eyes cannot be kept closed  from the fact that if the militant group of Afghanistan survived for 25 years, the geographical political dimension of Afghanistan and Pakistan could be changed that have potential of new challenges for India and America.

But, all the hope may be in vain in the absence of leadership in the Middle East, which is essential to make the  social and economic dimension change so that in the emerging new world order, the place of the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, is restored in the same of fashion prior to World War-I .  If this order is materialised in the true sense, past glory of Arabian Peninsula could be realised, justifying the interest of natural partner and history could touch to its renaissance.

Dr. Mohammad Naquib,
The author is a assistant professor in college of Business Umm Al- Qura University, Makkah Al- Mukkaramah, under the ministry of higher education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.