It is not a secret that China has been exercising its soft power over Africa for more than 500 years through aid. Although the Chinese Government ensures that detailed information about the projects ongoing is kept secret, thanks to some US researchers the largest public database of Chinese development finance in Africa is now available. This shows that China’s engagement in the African continent has been particularly intense over the last decade. Between 2000 and 2011, in fact, there have been about 1,700 projects spread out in 50 countries.
Although the main claim is that China’s intention is to get access to Africa’s resources, many of the projects have actually been aimed to development of African countries themselves, including areas such as health, education and infrastructures. Certainly this does not take the suspicion away that there is an ulterior motive in China’s intervention, however the whole can be seen as a strategy for China to intensify diplomatic relations and improve its reputation, hence enhance trade with African countries.