China in Africa: South-South Camaraderie or Exploitation?

Elizabeth Kennedy


Many reports regarding Chinese activity in Africa allude to a new era of colonialism that is overburdening African states with debt, pillaging prized natural resources and violating human rights. Beijing, however, claims that its operations are mutually beneficial for Chinese and African development. The Chinese government offers African governments a business-oriented development model based on their own development experience. This model, void of references to human rights, good governance or democracy, challenges the traditional Western development model and appeals to many African leaders. Using analysis of Western, Chinese, and African sources, this study investigates Chinese activity in Africa, determining its nature and consequences. The findings indicate that Chinese activity is neither wholly positive nor negative. What is certain is that the Chinese have institutionalized their presence in Africa and will continue deepening operations there for the foreseeable future. Therefore, to obtain the most benefits from foreign actors, both Chinese and Western, African leaders must coordinate their goals and act in regional blocks or continentally. As a block, Africans can intensify pressure on foreign actors to follow regulations, provide timely aid, and support employment. Through this cooperation, the prospect of enduring African development appears attainable.


China; Africa; Development

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