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on November 20, 2009
American University Professor Deborah Brautigam writes that China is listening to Africa.
All good relationships involve communication. In the past. when South Africa complained about the "tsunami" of textiles from China, Beijing agreed to voluntary export restraints. When Zambian workers rioted at Chinese-owned mines, Chinese officials openly criticized the owners' labor practices. There are clearly rocky areas in this relationship, but on balance, Brautigam sees more on the positive side of the ledger that the Chinese are doing well by Africa.
Brautigam believes it is up to Africans to ensure that the net result for Africa is good. China's huge demand for Africa's commodities has created new opportunities for African governments to realize the hopes of their people for a better life. Countries that set their house in order, can position themselves to benefit, and those that do not will find their resources continue to be simply a "curse"--with or without China.
China has ratcheted up its manufacturing investment in Africa, where new industries were sorely needed to counter decades of deindustrialization. China has established investment funds to promote Chinese investment in Africa. Teams from China have visited Mauritius, South Africa, and elsewhere - scouting locations for enterprise zones and industrial districts, which would join Chinese industrial zones in Ethiopia, Zambia, and Nigeria, and Chinese factories making batteries in Mozambique, shoes in Nigeria, ethyl alcohol in Benin, and a host of other products across the continent.
Chinese factories offer not only jobs--they also use production technologies that African entrepreneurs can easily adopt. Chinese firms act as catalysts and models for the African Diaspora to invest their investment capital in Africa. Taiwanese and Hong Kong firms stimulated a rush of copy-cat local investment in Nigeria and were catalysts for the boom of local investment in the "Mauritius miracle" of the 1980s and 1990s. Brautigam says let's have more of this.
This well-timed book, by one of the world's leading experts, provides the first comprehensive account of China's aid and economic cooperation overseas. Deborah Brautigam tackles the myths and realities, explaining what the Chinese are investing, how they are contributing to African Industrialization and agribusiness, how they do it, how much aid they give, and how it all fits into their "going global" strategy. Drawing on three decades of experience in China and Africa, and hundreds of interviews in Africa, China, Europe and the U.S., Brautigam shines new light on a topic of great interest.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Changing Face of Chinese Engagement in Africa; 1. Missionaries and Maoists: How China Moved from "Red" to "Expert"; 2. Feeling the Stones: Deng Xiaoping's Aid Experiments; 3. Going Global: Foreign Aid in the Toolkit of a Rising China; 4. Eastern Promises: An Aid System with Chinese Characteristics; 5. Orient Express: How Does Chinese Aid and Engagement Work?; 6. Apples and Lychees: How Much Aid Does China Give?; 7. Flying Geese, Crouching Tiger: China's Changing Role in African Industrialization; 8. Asian Tsunami: How a Tidal Wave can also be a Catalyst; 9. Exporting Green Revolution: From Aid to Agribusiness; 10. Foreign Farmers: Chinese Settlers, African Plantations; 11. Rogue Donor? Myths and Realities of Chinese Aid and Engagement; Conclusion: Engaging China