Chinese engagement with Africa: Implications for Sinousa relations (1990 – 2010).
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The events following Tiananmen Square incident among other factors created the opportunity for China to establish a more prominent presence in Africa and in recent years, SINO-Africa relations have escalated. China seeks to rise as a global power in international arena thereby undermining the traditional USA influence, especially in Africa. The question that arises is what should the USA do, if anything, about the influence of China in Africa. The likely reaction by the USA in relation to Chinese engagement with Africa would be to compete for prominence in the same continent. Hence in terms of the resultant SINO-USA relations, it could be described as strategic competition. On the basis of that, this dissertation is based on the hypothesis that the potential strategic competition presented to the USA through Chinese engagement with Africa undermines traditional USA influence and creates an opportunity for mutual cooperation between China and the USA much to the benefit of African countries. The study was premised on the realist approach. It is acknowledged that principal actors in the international arena are states which always act in pursuit of their national interests. The approaches used by both China and the USA are different and the Chinese approach resonates with African countries. In a bid to counter China, the USA is poised to adopt strategies that are beneficial to African countries. . Research for this study involved the perspectives of key scholars in the Sino-Africa relations like Deborah Brautigam, David Shinn and Zhiqun Zhu. The study drew heavily from researches that provided a thorough background of China‟s past relations with Africa, current practices in the context of Chinese culture, and the effects of Chinese aid as a part of its larger goal to rise to global prominence. The researcher used documentary search and interviews to collect data. The research was conducted in Zimbabwe and key informants were from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Embassy and western embassies, academics, politicians, to state but a few. The researcher also requested permission to proceed with fieldwork from the responsible university authorities, and was granted. Documentary search was used in order to extract information on the foregoing topical issues. This contributed to a balanced view by the researcher. Thus, literature which includes books, paper and e-journal articles, media clips and reports, official public statements and policy documents were analysed. The facts, opinions and arguments in the literature were drawn together to form a coherent argument regarding the nature of China‟s involvement in sanctioned states. Historically, the USA had always considered Africa its area of political and economic influence. However, the entry of China has meant competition for them, and they are not exactly amused. In fact they are getting clearly out-competed by the Chinese. This has led to baseless and self-serving Western-inspired attacks on the Chinese in Africa. The charges include that the Chinese are: indifferent to governance issues, supporting dictators in Africa, plundering Africa‟s natural resources in a new colonialism, not adding value to African commodities, bringing labour from China, and are engaged in unfair and poor labour practices. However, in the contemporary, China is engaging Africa at a time when it has grown economically to be able to challenge the USA in response to its threatened interests. In a bid to avoid confrontation by both parties, there could be a possibility of both China and the USA expressing willingness to engage on collaborative projects in Africa, but it would take a stronger upfront investment of political will and attention to launch these efforts. It is presumed that there will almost certainly be long-term benefits for Africa to such collaboration.
Additional Citation InformationJanyure, S. (2013). Chinese engagement with Africa: Implications for Sinousa relations (1990 – 2010). [Unpublished masters thesis]. University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe
SubjectAsian Development Bank
United States Africa Command
African Growth and Opportunity Act
Centre for Strategic & International Studies
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation