The methods of extraction have changed, but the end goal remains the same - to gain access to Africa's coveted bounty of commodities.
Most notably, Chinese interests have swarmed Africa, constructing roads, rail lines, municipal buildings, schools, ports, and pipelines in exchange for access to natural resources.
Take such traditional "breakfast club" commodities as sugar, cocoa, coffee and orange juice. They all enjoyed a great year, despite bearish forecasts of doom and gloom. Sugar and cocoa even traded at multi-decade highs.
Similarly, cotton got a bad rap going into 2009, though it motored into the end of the year with a tidy profit, rising on the standard laws of supply and demand.