China in Africa: Partner, Competitor or Hegemon? (African Arguments)
Nowhere in the world is China’s rapid rise to power more evident than in Africa. From multi-billion dollar investments in oil and minerals to the influx of thousands of merchants, laborers and cheap consumer goods, China’s economic and political reach is redefining Africa’s traditional ties with the international community. This book investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa to determine whether this engagement will be that of a development partner, economic competitor or new hegemony. Alden argues that in order to understand Chinese involvement on the continent, we need to recognize the range of economic, diplomatic and security rationales behind Beijing’s Africa policy as well as the response of African elites to China’s entreaties. Only then can the new challenges and opportunities for Africa and the West be accurately assessed.
exasperate foreigner and local drivers alike, to an unusually manageable pace. Africa’s leaders had brought gifts with them, honouring their Chinese hosts with precious stones and other emblematic cultural artefacts from the continent. The cavalcade of limousines halted outside the Great Hall of the People and African presidents and prime ministers spilled out, walked past the red lanterns swinging from lampposts, and mounted the stairs of the conference centre. One by one, under the glare of
shaping Chinese–African relations in ways that strain the credibility of China’s ofﬁcial doctrine of ‘non-interference’ and, whether Beijing likes it or not, draw China into African politics. 58 3 | Africa turns east The much-vaunted rise of China has fostered an overriding sense that Africans ought to tie their fortunes to a Chinese future rather than a Western past. This appeal has been based on China’s role as a countervailing force both to Western conditionalities and to the continent’s
trees for timber to be shipped all the way to some of China’s state-owned sawmills in faraway provinces such as Sichuan. And beyond to the copper mines, smelters and iron ore mines in Zambia and Gabon, which had stood idle for a generation but were now working again, this time under the direction of Chinese ownership, or to Ghana, Botswana, South Africa and Nigeria, where China’s insatiable demand for minerals had opened up new markets for their products. Led by Chinese petroleum companies ﬂush
fact it was consolidation of China–Africa relations which became the overriding concern for its hosts. A new three-year action plan was approved by the delegates which would enshrine ties between the two regions within the framework of a ‘new strategic partner120 ship’. It included a diplomatic component focused on regular consultation at the UN, the WTO and other multilateral settings; strengthening provincial government exchanges; and working together on areas of common concern such as UN
population out of poverty, as did China, it will need to move 126 beyond merely being a resource exporter to the outside world. So in this sense, key aspects of Chinese engagement are clearly competitive with established African businesses, be they South African MNCs, smaller African textile and manufacturing concerns or retail traders. Moreover, before it became a leading exporter of FDI to the continent, China could be said to be a serious competitor for foreign investment in Africa. Finally,