Critical Documents: China in Africa

Question of the Week: China in Africa
Development Channel Staff, Council on Foreign Relations

Chinese aid in Africa replaces the perception that developing countries require assistance from the global North with a “South-South” philosophy. Criticism that China is benefitting more from their economic intervention than Africa has surfaced. However, China insists their aid has been helpful, emphasizing improvements and denouncing “Afropessimism.”

Question of the Week: China in Africa Part II
Development Channel Staff, Council on Foreign Relations

Building off the previous selection, this article analyzes the legitimacy of China’s claim that their aid has been beneficial to Africa. Their “no strings attached” policy is disputed, as it often keeps questionable governments in power. In addition, the quality of the physical infrastructure being built is arguably poor. The overall benefit of Chinese aid is weighed and evaluated.

The Chinese in Africa: Trying to Pull Together
The Economist

Although China was initially welcomed into Africa graciously, attitudes are beginning to shift. Business practices are being questioned, and the poor quality of Chinese construction is criticized. Food prices are declining, but at the price of small, local food producers. In addition, China is suspected of hoarding Africa’s natural resources.

Chinese Aid to Africa Can Be Force for Good
Steve Davis and Jonathan Woetzel, The National

Given that China is already so involved in African economic development programs, this article discusses how this aid may be improved. China assumes African countries have public sectors in place that can effectively distribute aid, and this is not always true. In order to actualize the potential benefits, China must ensure their assistance is successfully utilized.

What Does China Want for its $20 billion to Africa?
Ty McCormick, Foreign Policy

China recently promised $20 billion in loans to Africa, which includes allowances for social programs. Critics claim trade relationships between China and African countries are “unsustainable” and should be entered into with caution. However, the recent addition of humanitarian concerns to the trade agreement shows China may be moving away from its previous imperial approach towards a more responsible one.