Week 7

The readings for this week regard Africa and China and emerging powers in both these countries. The readings are interesting as they all interrelate, and I found all of them in some way focused on aid which China has granted Africa. The first reading, by Alden and Alves, looks at China’s relationship with Africa, as in one section of the text it states that China is often still seen as a ‘third world’ country, however China views Africa as the ‘largest developing country with the continent with the largest number of developing countries’ (page 45). I found this quote to be somewhat demeaning to Africa, as China is giving aid to Africa and trying to help them, however they also seem to be putting them down as well because China does not want to seem like the least developed country. When reading this article, I thought: is this the reason as to why China provides Africa with aid? To make themselves not look like the least developed country? The next article by Bodomo and Ma looked at the Yiwu commodity market, and how this market was helping China’s economy boom and also bringing African citizens to China. The one interview that I found interesting was the interview with Wufei, a Ghanian who came to China in 2007 to learn the language. He knew if he learnt the language well, he could profit from a business in China and could even export it back to Ghana. He marketed his language skills and offered translation skills for fellow Africans in China, and made a good business out of this. He also ships different items back home to Ghana, and makes a large profit from his business in China now. I find this story of interest because it illustrates how even with Chinas financial help to Africa, it is still more rewarding to move to China and give up a life in Africa in order to have a thriving business in China. I think in this case, China should stop financially helping Africa and should model an economy similar to China’s in Africa, as I think this would be of more help in the long run to Africa than throwing money at them will do. This article also however talks about China’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics, and how since then Africans have been complaining of difficulties in securing a Chinese visa. I think this is another issue China needs to resolve, as this would greatly help out African citizens, maybe even more than giving the African governments aid. This would be beneficial because it directly helps the citizens of Africa, instead of giving the government money and hoping they use it for the right purpose, as we can see from the past, the African government does not always use aid for the right purposes. In the third article by Zeleza, the author again looks at the development of economic relations and discourses between China and Africa. Here, he analyzes the connotation that China provides foreign aid or assistance to Africa, but that this aid is often considered charity. He then states that ‘Chinese economic cooperation practices reflect China’s own development experience and realities as a developing country’ (page 150-1). I think is an accurate point to bring up because each country that develops will certainly develop differently, and Africa may not develop the way that China developed. This is an important point to bring up, as it is often not brought up because once one country has developed it is assumed others will go through similar processes in order to reach development. However this is often not the case, and if China continues to provide assistance and aid to Africa in order to help them develop, it is important that China recognizes this difference and focuses on Africa’s development goals, not their own.

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