In a recent article for the influential German news magazine, “Die Zeit,” IFPRI Senior Research Fellow Deborah Brautigam and coauthors Axel Berger and Philipp Baumgartner took issue with media criticism of China’s role in Africa.
While some problems do exist, the authors argue that the conventional wisdom about China’s engagement in Africa is largely wrong. China’s aid is neither as large as is generally believed, nor focused primarily on exploiting the continent’s natural resources. The widespread view that China undercuts Western economic leverage on human rights and governance in Africa is also overly simplistic, ignoring such policies as China’s support for sanctions against Libya and joint UN-AU peacekeeping in Darfur.
The article concludes that African governments should be the ones to determine what partnerships are most constructive to their development and our focus should be on strengthening their capacities to meet with old and new donor sources on equal ground.