This week’s focus was China’s role in the development in Africa and the relationship between the two. I thought the readings complimented each other well and managed to give a well-rounded view of both the pros and cons of China’s involvement in Africa, while also touching on the African diaspora in parts of China.
I would like to begin with the Chris Alden and Ana Cristina Alves, History and Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy which I felt gave a great background to the development of China and Africa’s relationship. I had learned in a previous class about China’s investment in African countries but I had been under the impression it was something new, with this article I learned that their relationship has been developing for many years and that a unique characteristic that brings them together is how they had both fallen victim to Western colonization and imperialism.
The next article by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza titled The Africa-China relationship: Challenges and Opportunities, examines some of the pros and cons to the relationship. An interesting point that seemed to be repeated throughout the article is that China, identifying as a developing country (along with countries in Africa), has managed to be so successful in its reforms and climb towards becoming a “developed” nation through what some might consider alternative methods/reforms to what had previously been prescribed (Washington vs. Beijing Consensus) and because of this they may have advice or a better idea of what countries within Africa may want to adjust within their reforms. In the conclusion Zeleza included some prescriptions for African countries to keep in mind so that this relationship does not become one sided and I thought these were interesting and a nice addition.
And lastly, From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging facets of the African Diaspora in China by Adams B. Bodomo discusses the other aspect of the China-Africa relationship where there is a substantial population of African migrants moving to China. In this article he specifically talks about Yiwu and Guangzhou, where he explains how in two cities you have certain African backgrounds moving to either and how differently they are treated.
While it had been mentioned, I thought it was interesting how the relationship that is being examined is between one country and an entire continent. I have noticed that in a lot of literature Africa is generally reduced down to one big single entity, when in reality the diversity is incredibly vast. Also, it was discussed that China’s relationship with Africa is to be a well-rounded one (not purely economic), as to relieve any hesitations countries in Africa may have in being exploited once again as they had been (still are) by the West, I am curious to see how it evolves in the future on both ends and how the US responds to this.