A new scramble for Africa is unfolding. But it’s no longer Western powers vying for land and the continent’s wealth as they had until the outbreak of World War I. The power struggle now is among Asian nations, most notably China and Japan.

This time around, the West is content to stand on the sidelines as Asia’s biggest powers duke it out to secure resources in the world’s final economic frontier. Unlike in the centuries past, however, there is no coercion or bloodshed. Instead, the race is on for Japan and China to woo Africa’s public opinion at large — not just the favors of investor and leadership class.

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