Week 7: Emerging Powers: China in Africa/Africa in China

This week’s reading discussed the relationship between China and Africa.  The first article The Africa-China Relationship: Challenges and Opportunities examines how African economies have changed with Chinese influence.  While many people criticize this method of interaction, this system seems to be mutually beneficial.  Instead of adopting a “Western” style approach of aid and development, the Chinese/African relationship has been able to help both sides.  This article is generally positive in nature, looking at the historical origins of this relationship and with a sense of hope that the Africa-China relationship will continue positively.

The second article, History and Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy, discusses the historical similarities between Africa and China, in that they were both colonized and developing.  This has shaped Chinese policy making towards Africa as they feel solidarity with them.  According to the authors, this allows China to be a more reliable form for development in Africa.

The last article, From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging Facets of the African Diaspora in China, changes the dialogue and looks at Africans who live and work in China.  Due to the growing economy and business opportunities, many Africans find it beneficial to migrate to China in order to improve their socio-economic status.  Yet there remains a need for improved laws and regulations between China and Africa in order to further improve these types of relations and migrations.

All of these articles describe the China-Africa relationship as being positive for both sides.  China has a bond with Africa through historical similarities, cyclical migration between both areas is mutually beneficial, and so on.  However, in many other examples of international cooperation or aid, one side generally has the upper-hand.  Last week, we looked at how the US helps African nations but only if those nations are willing to accept the terms and conditions that the United States requires.  Do you think that there might be a similar process happening between China and Africa? Or is this relationship really as mutually beneficial as it is said to be in these articles?

– Joshua

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