Week 7: The Africa-China Relationship

This weeks readings all focused on the diverse relationship between Africa and China, in political, economical and social contexts. The first article The Africa-China relationship: challenges and opportunities by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza focuses on the economic relationships mainly. Zeleza also looks at the history of this relationship that stemmed from the Cold War where China and Africa separated themselves from the situation and independence for both was found. This is interesting as it suggests that the relationship is more garnered to African and China needs and may be more suitable than a western relationship. There is a large focus it seems in the ideas that there is one source and power in aid and development, and that is the Western world. Control over aid and development is shifted in this relationship as it is not the international communities goals that need to be met, but rather the collaboration of China and Africa for the betterment of their own economies. The cultural relationship is much stronger it seems here, as China and Africa came out of similar situations, there isn’t much similarity between the US and Africa. The article states that the relationship between China and Africa is more mutual as Africa wants the products China produces and China needs the resources from Africa. This changes the common idea from critics that China is controlling Africa and its resources. There seems to be more recent ideas in popular media as well that American development is greedy and exploiting natural resources, mainly oil. Does China create a better developmental Aid source, where the ideals are similar? With China as a different source of aid then the international community shouldn’t there be a central institution that controls all aid and development to work towards beneficial goals? Or do the circumstances and relationships behind aid create differed development and focus on a more specific cultural and social development?
History & Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy by Alden and Alves is much the same as the first article as it approaches the history of the China and Africa relationship. Though this article is more critical of China and its own identity. China which is seen as an economic superpower, may think of themselves as a third world county. China may be labeling themselves as developing and creating a solidarity with Africa as developing countries in the world. But is China using this language, and ideas to control Africa rather then teaming up with the continent. Development is seen often as a neo-colonialism medium and creates power control over countries. Is China is an economic superpower, or can they label themselves as developing? Are they truly creating aid to mutually benefit themselves and Africa or are they neocolonialists taking over the resource economy of Africa?
From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging facets of the African Diaspora in China by Bodomo and Ma is about a African Diaspora Community in China. The article talks about the acceptance of Africans in these communities and societies in China. Arguing that the more accepted these people are there are benefits for the society in China.Also what culturally is different in the diaspora communities, specifically community bonding, trading as an economic means and the cultural preservation. The idea the article presents is that these kind of communities are able to bring multiculturalism and trade into global views. The article is interesting because it talks a lot about the African presence in China, but who are the Africans? A diaspora community is one that is of another culture, but in Africa there are many countries and many cultures. African Diaspora would still be very different then many diaspora, such as a Puerto Rican Diaspora. Africa is we saw has a very different culture across the continent, it sounds more like a multicultural cultural hub.

Thomas Knoops


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