Since the Ming Dynasty around the years 1400-1420 the Chinese has had a vision to look outside East Asia for business and they saw at that time that East Africa was a very important area to trade. Since then the official China has been closed until now. As a keen reader of Chinese history I enjoyed reading Stevens book .
I do not agree with some of his assertions, however, he writes a very simple and important work. History is very important and he makes this point that African people should know their history.
It is precisely because I pay attention to history that I see in his book (although he does admit this himself) that the Chinese are still working with the same ideas they were 600 years ago. Indeed reading the book of Francis Stevens I am actually with several questions. Do the Chinese have a different agenda this time around? How much of the new Chinese business in Africa is private and how much are run by big companies owned by the State of China? Can we also expect the Chinese to have the same agenda for the rest of the world as they have in Africa? Are we witnessing the rise of the superpower for the next 1000 years or will the Chinese as in 1421 fall apart back home to leave the business in Africa take its own course.
Interesting times for the world and what is happening with the African Chinese story is worth nothing. The history of this story is very important to know. This is what I find excellent about Francis Stevens George’s book. He gives us a very good history that certainly puts the current debate in a different perspective.