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China in Africa: The Real Story

China in Africa's Fragile States: Exploitative or Developmental

Deborah Brautigam


A new policy brief by China Africa researcher Jing Gu and R. McCluskey at IDS Sussex asks "Is China’s Role in African Fragile States Exploitative or Developmental?" 
The abstract notes:"China’s increasing engagement in Africa has generated heated debates over the extent to which its activities are exploitative or developmental. There is particular concern over China’s impact on governance in fragile states. However, these debates often make generalisations and leave out African agency.This Policy Briefing takes a closer look at Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and finds that there is a large gap between China’s policy and practice. It finds that the ways in which African actors promote, respond to and negotiate its engagement is crucial in shaping the extent to which China contributes to development."

Interesting points in the policy brief:
  • The $6 bn (originally $9 bn) Sicomines copper-secured infrastructure loan deal in the DRC has apparently "resulted in the closure of local civil engineering companies." I'd like to learn more about this, given that there has been relatively little infrastructure built yet under the deal.
  • "Rwanda has proactively facilitated investment and trade with China by including Rwandan business people in its official delegations to China and establishing a Rwanda Development Board office in Shenzhen."
  • "Rwanda has particularly targeted information and communication technology (ICT) as a sector where China can help it become a regional leader." 

A h/t to Winslow Robertson, via Twitter @Winslow_R