The presence of China in Africa has increased rapidly, as measured by the number of Chinese living in Africa or the quantity of goods and services, aid, and investments coming from China. The consequences will be discussed in this article, focusing on the economic relations between China and Africa and looking at the political and social consequences. After presenting some general overviews and works of reference, the goals of China in Africa are reviewed. Next, Chinese aid, trade, and investments are discussed, dealing with the issue of whether these three instruments for cooperation are always separated clearly and how effective they are. Some of the issues concerning China’s presence in Africa are examined: (1) Is China pushing the so-called Beijing consensus, and will this be at the expense of the Washington consensus? (2) What is the role of public and private Chinese enterprises in Africa, and to what extent do the Chinese respect local environmental and labor regulations? (3) What is the role of Special Economic Zones created by China, which often specify the conditions for foreign investment in the country concerned? Several sources cited deal with different countries or different sectors in which Chinese or Chinese firms are particularly active and are summarized under Country Studies and Sectorial Experiences. The final sections are African Voices, on the different issues discussed, and Chinese Voices and International Fora (FOCAC), which provides reflections on the International Forum for co-operation between Africa and China where the collaboration takes shape.
Several general introductions to the topic in the category of info sheets or policy briefs are found in Konijn 2012 and the Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch. However, Brautigam 2009 and Halper 2012 also provide the broader picture, and Manji and Marks 2007 and Alden 2007 are also helpful. Van Dijk 2009 is an edited volume that focuses on a few specific issues. Dollar 2008 draws the lessons from China’s economic success for African countries.
Alden, C. China in Africa. London and New York: Zed, 2007.
Infrastructural improvements help African countries, and China secures loans and provides investments. The author points out that everyday life is changing for millions of Africans because of that. Cheap Chinese imports mean that, for the first time, poor people can afford new clothes, shoes, or radios.
Brautigam, D. The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Brautigam situates the current relationship between China and Africa within a historical framework that goes back to the 1960s. She emphasizes that Chinese motivations are not short-term commercial interests, but rather strategic, broader, and longer-term interests. Her argument is that China is genuinely interested in extending to Africa the lessons it learned from its own development and that what may appear to be commercial moves are the result of careful thinking about mutually beneficial activities.
Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch. Weekly News Briefing and China Monitor.
The Centre has a blog called Links We Like, which regularly introduces interesting sources of information on China–Africa relations. The focus of this series is on academic and news websites, but they also feature governmental, nongovernmental and private sector sources.
Dollar, D. Lessons from China for Africa. Policy Research Working Paper 4531. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2008.
This is one of the first publications in which the lessons learned from China’s successful development after 1978 are drawn for the African continent. The author emphasizes that the expansion of China’s infrastructure network was a major component of China’s development strategy.
Halper, S. The Beijing Consensus: How China’s Authoritarian Model Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century. New York: Basic Books, 2012.
Halper argues that the Chinese model of development, labeled as “market authoritarianism” is gaining adherence. He finds that the “Washington consensus” is being replaced by the “Beijing consensus.” The focus of the book is on the growing power of China in the developing world, arguing that China’s approach to Africa’s need is better adapted than the slow and patronizing post-colonial approach of European investors.
Konijn, P. China in Africa: A Profile of Political and Economic Relations. Leiden, The Netherlands: African Studies Centre, 2012.
The info sheet provides information on the role of trade, investments, and aid in China–Africa relations. Special attention is paid to migration and an example is given of “resources-for-infrastructure” loans, which China has signed with several countries. Available online by subscription.
Manji, F., and S. Marks. African Perspectives on China in Africa. Chicago: Pambazuka, 2007.
This is one of the few systematic overviews of China’s involvement in Africa. The authors ask whether China is the last in a series of exploiters of Africa’s raw materials, or whether China will really help the Africans “to free themselves from the tyranny of the neo-liberal policies.”
Van Dijk, M. P., ed. The New Presence of China in Africa. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009.
The presence of China in Africa has increased rapidly, as measured by the number of Chinese living in Africa and by the quantity of trade, aid, and investments. Van Dijk concludes that the Chinese government helps Chinese entrepreneurs by providing market information and visas, facilitating access to loans, and helping with money transfers. Preference is given to Chinese investments in strategically important industries, such as oil and minerals.
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- Achebe, Chinua
- Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
- African Socialism
- Africans in the Atlantic World
- Aid and Economic Development
- Arabic Language and Literature
- Archaeology and the Study of Africa
- Archaeology of Central Africa
- Archaeology of Eastern Africa
- Archaeology of Southern Africa
- Art, Art History, and the Study of Africa
- Arts of Central Africa
- Arts of Western Africa
- Asante and the Akan and Mossi States
- Bantu Expansion
- Benin (Dahomey)
- Botswana (Bechuanaland)
- Brink, André
- British Colonial Rule in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Burkina Faso (Upper Volta)
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Children and Childhood
- China in Africa
- Christianity, African
- Coetzee, J.M.
- Colonial Rule, Belgian
- Colonial Rule, French
- Colonial Rule, German
- Colonial Rule, Italian
- Colonial Rule, Portuguese
- Communism, Marxist-Leninism, and Socialism in Africa
- Comoro Islands
- Congo, Republic of (Congo Brazzaville)
- Congo River Basin States
- Conservation and Wildlife
- Crime and the Law in Colonial Africa
- Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)
- Development of Early Farming and Pastoralism
- Diaspora, Kongo Atlantic
- Disease and African Society
- Early States And State Formation In Africa
- Early States of the Western Sudan
- Economy, Informal
- Education and the Study of Africa
- Egypt, Ancient
- Environmental History
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ethnicity and Politics
- Europe and Africa, Medieval
- Family Planning
- Farah, Nuruddin
- Food and Food Production
- Fugard, Athol
- Genocide in Rwanda
- Geography and the Study of Africa
- Gikuyu (Kikuyu) People of Kenya
- Gordimer, Nadine
- Great Lakes States of Eastern Africa, The
- Hausa Language and Literature
- Health, Medicine, and the Study of Africa
- Historiography and Methods of African History
- History and the Study of Africa
- Ijo/Niger Delta
- Image of Africa, The
- Indian Ocean and Middle Eastern Slave Trades
- Indian Ocean Trade
- Invention of Tradition
- Iron Working and the Iron Age in Africa
- Islam in Africa
- Islamic Politics
- Kongo and the Coastal States of West Central Africa
- Language and the Study of Africa
- Literature and the Study of Africa
- Lord's Resistance Army
- Maasai and Maa-Speaking Peoples of East Africa, The
- Mau Mau
- Media and Journalism
- Military History
- Modern African Literature in European Languages
- Music, Dance, and the Study of Africa
- Music, Traditional
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- North Africa from 600 to 1800
- North Africa to 600
- Northeastern African States, c. 1000 BCE-1800 CE
- Obama and Kenya
- Oman, the Gulf, and East Africa
- Oral and Written Traditions, African
- Police and Policing
- Political Science and the Study of Africa
- Political Systems, Precolonial
- Popular Culture and the Study of Africa
- Popular Music
- Population and Demography
- Postcolonial Sub-Saharan African Politics
- Seychelles, The
- Slave Trade, Atlantic
- Slavery in Africa
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Study of Africa
- South Africa Post c. 1850
- Southern Africa to c. 1850
- Spanish Colonial Rule
- States of the Zimbabwe Plateau and Zambezi Valley
- Sudan and South Sudan
- Swahili City States of the East African Coast
- Swahili Language and Literature
- Tanzania (Tanganyika and Zanzibar)
- Traditional Religion, African
- Trans-Saharan Trade
- Urbanism and Urbanization
- Wars and Warlords
- Western Sahara
- Women and African History
- Women and Colonialism
- Women and Politics
- Women and Slavery
- Women, Gender and the Study of Africa
- Women in 19th-Century West Africa
- Yoruba Language and Literature
- Yoruba States, Benin, and Dahomey