f_0019964_16974

f_0019964_16974 - Chinese Aid to Africa Filling the Gaps...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer2010 39 Chinese Aid to Africa: Filling the Gaps that Others Left Max Rebol * Abstract Western observers sometimes shockingly reduce Chinese Aid to Africa to a way of securing access to natural resources. A closer look does not only reveal that China’s disbursement of Aid to the continent is relatively unrelated to natural resources, but also that it fills exactly the areas that Western aid has increasingly neglected: Infrastructure, industrialization and manufacturing. Chinese and Western aid work but in many ways can be seen as complementing rather than competing. Western aid since the 1980s focuses almost exclusively on basic social needs, while China’s Aid to Africa is more based on industrial cooperation. The tools, such as preferential loans, that China uses hereby are often similar to what has been successful when China was in the role of the Aid recipient. Aid should therefore not be seen as a philanthropic one way transfer, but part of a mutually beneficial strategy that uses policy to channel investment into areas in which they are needed most. There is a fine line between aid and business, but in its relations with Africa today, China is well aware that at home it was not aid that lifted 200 million people out of poverty. Key words: Chinese Aid, industrial cooperation, basic social needs, structural adjustments, development sustainability.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer2010 40 The Tragic Shift from Economic Development to Basic Social Needs Modern history of Western aid begins with the end of colonialism and the transfer of sovereignty from the European colonial powers to the newly established countries of Asia, Africa and South America. Out of a mixture of guilt for colonial repression and interest to keep some influence in the former colonies, European countries started financial transfers to the former colonies. With the onset of the Cold War, foreign Aid was increasingly instrumentalized as a foreign policy tool in the battle with the Soviet Union. The established ways of using loans to promote economic development, were increasingly seen as ways to limit soviet influence in the newly independent countries. Before the cold war US President Kennedy once said a rising tide will lift all boats, meaning that loans for certain large scale infrastructure projects will trickle down and generate opportunities for the poor population. By the mid 1960 it became however clear that this approach was not going to win the cold war in Africa. The industrialization projects in the cities had little effect on the rural parts of the countries which became a vital ground for revolutionary insurgencies. From the soviet side, Marxist critics saw aid as deliberately creating a relation of dependency. Brazilian economist Theotonions dos Santos dismissed aid as “only filling the holes which the West itself created.” 1 In a response, and in an effort to contain Soviet influence, Western aid increasingly
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course COMM 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.

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f_0019964_16974 - Chinese Aid to Africa Filling the Gaps...

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