China is the largest financier on the entire continent. Chinese corporations, financial institutions, and the government have invested billions of dollars in large new dams, for example.
Indeed, many African governments prefer China as an economic partner over Western countries for a number of reasons. First, China’s own development experience has instructive value. Second, China fulfills Africa’s need for critical infrastructure more cheaply, less bureaucratically, and more quickly. And finally, China portrays Africa more positively as a partner in “mutually beneficial cooperation” and “common prosperity”, rather than a “doomed continent” requiring aid.
Anglicans, of course, know that Africa–especially just north of the Equator–is “home base” for orthodox Anglicanism in the world today. There are many in the “First World” who would like to change that, and not only TEC but also, for example, the UK (and to a lesser extent the US) government, which has tied foreign aid to embrace of its idea of “equality”.
But the ability to act and think independently are intimately tied to economic independence, or at least the availability for options. In a world that is become more “multipolar” by the day, more and more places have options that transcend the colonial constructs of the past, and that works on more than one level.
Now if we could just get them to move Canterbury…