Week 7 China in Africa

In the article The Africa-China Relationship: Challenges and Opportunities, the author examines three fundamental aspects to this complex, and often critiqued relationship. The first section of the article focuses on a historical overview of how the two bodies have interacted over hundreds of years. What is of interest here is the fact that both went through a period of exploitation, poverty, and significant trouble within their economic system. This varies from country to country within Africa, but remains a strong commonality with China. Not surprisingly, this has been a strong factor into the two doing business together today. The second section focuses on the economic relations between both regions, primarily the transformation from aid to trade to investment throughout generations. Lastly, the author focuses on challenges and opportunities for this relationship in the future, mainly providing suggestions on how the two can corporate better to generate more positive results. It is interesting to note that both regions are given suggestions, but ultimately it is African countries that need to articulate what their interests are and how they reflect historic and humanistic nationalism. In response to this, some questions are: Is the fact that China and African countries have both experienced large development within their region the only reason Africa is not hesitant to work with them or are there other underlying factors? How does this upper hand affect China’s own relationship with the West and how does it affect the relationship between Africa and the West? Is it possible for these three regions to coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship? Or is that naïve, considering China and the West are consistently fighting to be the top economic power?

The second article History and Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy focuses heavily on the historical relationship between China and African countries and how this has shaped both regions’ identity. The authors demonstrate how this history has brought growth to both regions, and will continue to bring more development in the future. It is interesting to see that the authors articulate their own opinion into the article, stating that the relationship China has with Africa today is not one that intends to exploit African workers or their resources. This perspective is subjective and varies quite differently from the other articles because it takes such a strong, optimistic view of the current relationship. Understanding this analysis, do you think it is accurate to say that China is not exploiting African countries? Or is this an opinionated argument that can be claimed both ways? How would the answer differ between international political leaders and ground, local African resource workers?

In the last article From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging Facets of the African Diaspora in China, the authors take on a different approach to this relationship. They focus on African individuals moving to China for economic opportunities, rather than Chinese companies moving into Africa for natural resources. This is an interesting outlook, especially since there are plenty of positions available for African individuals, unlike migratory patterns to the West. This demonstrates that both regions can mutually benefit from a positive, effective, well-communicated relationship.

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