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Journal Article

The Impact of Africa on China

Published on 2 January 2006

“If African countries are to maximise the benefit of engagement with China, it is important to ask the question “How can Africa — as a whole and as individual countries — change China’s policy stance to Africa so that more benefit accrues to Africa from the relationship?” Here, the critical issues relate to Chinese policy towards Africa and how African policy and African engagement with China might influence the policy decisions made in China that have direct impact on African countries. Given the continued strong role of the Chinese government (at both provincial and national levels) in its economy and in the behaviour of its companies and investors, the range of policy questions is broader than might be the case for other investors in Africa. This paper explores several issues by examining the motives of the Chinese government and Chinese companies for trading and investing in African countries. It identifies some of the areas where China’s existing policy has run into problems in Africa and where Africans and African governments may have the potential to change Chinese policy (and also those where changes are unlikely) so that the benefits of engagement with China are increased. It identifies the factors that might increase the likelihood of Chinese actors listening to and responding to the messages they receive from Africa.”

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