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

Jessica Slade- 110232060

For the purposes of this week’s blog post, I will be responding to the readings of Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, in “The Africa-China relationship: challenges and opportunities,” Chris Alden and Cristina Alves, in “History & Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy,” (2008), and Bodomo and Grace’s work “From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging facets of the African Diaspora in China.” (2010).

The first work read by Zeleza entitled “The Africa-China relationship: challenges and opportunities,” works to present us the ever changing and emerging relations between China and Africa as a whole. Over the last few years China has begun to see the value that can be found in the processing and extraction of cheap resource goods, and a center of investment where Chinese exports are concerned. Like every major shift in global political economy, there are two distinct sides emerging as a result of the ‘partnership’. Those in favor believe that China’s foreign direct investment has been working to promote localized development projects and eventually lead to power found in its collective ability to bargain. In contrast to this, critics believe that this relationship has the potential to limit Africa’s competitive emergence in the global economy. By providing us with historical background, and a brief trajectory of future relations, Zeleza has actively constructed both sides of the debate- leaving us with lots to think about. Is it possible for all African nation-states to work together through forms of collective bargaining? Is this feasible given the current state of differentiating civil affairs in each state? In theory the creation of a collective union could lead to he growing importance of the continent as a whole. Zeleza sums this up best in stating, “Most critically, African countries must articulate more clearly, coherently, and collectively what their fundamental interests are in this crucial relationship. These interests must be rooted in the historic and humanistic agendas of African nationalism for self-determination, sustainable development, democratization, and regional integration,” (Zeleza, 2014, pg. 166).

The second reading this week is written by Chris Alden and Cristina Alves, entitled “History & Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy.” Alden and Alves see the importance of history in the creation of polices and regulations pertaining to foreign global investment and development. In seeing the similarities in terms of colonization, historical trajectories and self-determination- the authors argue that China and Africa are not all that different. By using these commonalities in the creation of Africa based strategies, policies are being created that draw on the representation of self-identification. Doing this often leads to the creation a platform for ‘mutual’ partnership relations- while still opposing Western imperialism. Alden and Alves argue that China has ben marketing itself as an ‘alternative’ form of development, and this has emerged out of its lengthy historical relations. Do you believe that China sympathizes with Africa and does want to see it emergence in the global political economy? Or is the relationship more one-sided where there are many forms of underlying exploitation, i.e. taking advantage of their similarities etc.? (Alden & Alves, 2008)

Lastly, the reading from Bodomo and Grace called, “From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging facets of the African Diaspora in China.” In this article we learn about (2010). This work uses a sort of case study, that assesses the palce of Africans in China Yiwu is a central location for African people movement from various states in Africa to the east. Since 1997 their place in Yiwu has become more widely known and their presence has been better received. In this work we learn about the struggles in each major city- Guangzhou and Yiwu, and can see how their treatment is disproportionately better in one city over the other. In Guangzhou there is less understanding for the racial differences found in the city, and law-enforcement protocols often work to create a sense of favoritism towards locals, and against African settlers. Bodomo and Grace state that the importance of local relations in China can be used in contrast, use to counter understand the treatment of Chinese people in Africa. Here we learn that localized relations are just as important as the large-scale creation of development policies. In conclusion we see the need for China to create protectionist legislation that will work towards the fair treatment of Africans in China- thus improving all business relations as a whole.

This map shows Chinese investment offers in Africa since 2010. It is interesting to see the sectors of development in each country- based on the needs China.

This map shows Chinese investment offers in Africa since 2010. It is interesting to see the sectors of development in each country- based on the needs China.

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