From an interview with Niall Ferguson:
In the eyes of the Chinese, it is a place with a lot of commodities and very poor infrastructure, and the Chinese have figured out they can access the commodities if they provide the infrastructure. So, they have a pretty instrumental view of Africa. Given the West has a sentimental view of Africa, which is they want to [help with] water, give it aid, help Africans by giving them free malaria meds. And China, of course, thinks that’s absurd. They want to come in and buy stuff, give them highways in return. And right now that model is working better.