Chinese investment in Africa is burgeoning, but choosing a project and making it work can be challenging. By Alfred Romann

The best way to understand Chinese investment in Africa is to examine it on a country-by-country basis, says Juan Pablo Cardenal, a Spanish journalist who spent a year travelling the world searching for China’s footprint. Cardenal’s book China’s Silent Conquest, which he co-authored with Heriberto Araújo, came out in Spanish in November and will be published in English in 2012.

In Africa, he says, Chinese investment generally falls into one of three categories.

The first is driven by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and is almost always linked to natural resources.

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