When China Met Africa

Marc Francis, Nick Francis, France / England, 2010, color, HDcam, 74'

"There is no doubt we are a little bigger than them," says a Chinese businessmen to his colleagues on a visit to Zambia. The minister for commerce and industry of this poor southern African nation gives a warm welcome to the Chinese investors and their capital. The Chinese don't ask any tricky questions and get straight down to work. Unsurprising, considering China's growing prosperity is leading to increased demand for raw materials often obtained in Africa. This need is masked by, as another Chinese businessman describes it, "our duty to help Africa develop." When China Met Africa observes three men who represent different aspects of this budding relationship. The Chinese propensity for hard work impresses government minister Felix Mutati, and he leads his nation in the drive for globalization: China is to have every opportunity it needs to mine and build. Nervous farmer Liu Changming resembles a neo-colonialist landowner as he instructs his workers from behind a fence. Engineer Li Jianguo is a loyal servant of the Chinese state-owned company commissioned by the Zambian government to lay a road. What is very striking is the poor verbal communication between the Chinese and the Zambians. But on another level, they speak the same language: "Zambia wins, China wins."


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