China in africa note


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China in africa note

  1. 1. Re: Analysis of China-Africa relations<br />Jim de Wilde <br />TWITTER @jimdewilde<br /> <br />September 2011<br />There are many perspectives on the emerging relationships between China and Africa in global geopolitics and they are well analyzed by excellent work including ALEKSANDRA GADZALA, DEBORAH BRAUTIGAM, HENRY HALL (See below) etc. <br />The general approaches are on significant topics: the question of whether China’s commercial relations replicate the earlier English, French, Portuguese and Spanish colonial relationships with Africa. Without the proselytizing religious characteristics of European imperialism, it is only on one dimension that the Chinese direct foreign investment can be assessed: its economic benefit to Africans.<br />Whether a London-listed mining company providing resource rents to a kleptocratic regime is any better than a Chinese state company doing the same remains a difficult question. Conversely, while Chinese decision-makers are conscious of their role in developing African infrastructure, the global economy is at an early stage in the development of the new economic models which will come about from the China-African collaboration.<br />The more interesting longer-term questions about China and Africa, about whom all optimistic projections of the global economy are focused are a different set of questions:<br /><ul><li>What kind of new business models will grow out of the China-Africa collaboration?
  2. 2. How will Africa affect China as China is forced to be more self-examining in its foreign policy and in the maintenance of its supply line?
  3. 3. How will Chinese business models affect Africa as Africans attempt to build scalable companies, which are capable of being so-called Second World multinationals?
  4. 4. How is the valuation of African assets, particularly non-mining resources like agricultural products and arable land affected by the Chinese pattern of investment
  5. 5. How can African democratic leadership use the Chinese presence to create different capital market structures that work to the advantage of African economic development as opposed to the short term orientation of the Globalization 1.0 and Globalization 2.0 models?</li></ul>Chinese foreign policy is evolving rapidly and remains a combination of many agendas: the agendas of western-educated entrepreneurs seeking global markets, the agendas of state-owned firms seeking security of commodity supply, the agendas of regional groups and their military mirrors concerned with either Uighur nationalism, the Russian role in east Asia, the Vietnamese role in the south China Sea or the potential for a China India rivalry over Burma and Sri Lanka. From this will come one of the most significant phenomena of the 21st Century, a statement of China’s vision of a new international system in which Chinese values and aspirations are of increasing significance.<br />The new Africa is developing at a rapid pace, with Ethiopian, Sudanese, Somali, Ghanaian, Senegalese entrepreneurs among the most innovative in the new global economy. Their relationships with Arabic-speaking Africa and the Middle East and with India and China become a part of their evolving foreign policy as a new form of economic pan-Africanism becomes possible in the emerging world of Nubian Cheetahs and Timbuktu Chronicles.<br />On China and Africa, see particularly:<br />(1) The work of ALEKSANDRA GADZALA<br />(2) Supal Desai, a recent grad of Miami University has a very helpful blog on China in Africa at Supal also works through the HUDSON INTSITUTE that puts out an annual update on global remittances and philanthropy that is very useful: <br />(3) DEBORAH BRAUTUGAM of American University keeps an excellent blog at <br /><br />(4) Henry Hall’s blog on the many faces of China in Africa is another excellent source: Henry is now at the boutique consulting firm CRITICAL RESOURCE:<br /><br />(5) JULIAN HEWITT, a South African living in Shanghai has a useful blog at <br />For collation of articles, see <br />