f_0020487_17248 - 157 Book review Dane Erickson China in...

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157 B O O K R E V I E W Dane Erickson China in Africa Edited by Arthur Waldron Washington D.C.: The Jamestown Foundation, 2008. Dane Erickson is a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) Candidate at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. In the past decade, the People’s Republic of China has made dramatic inroads on the African continent. Many believe China’s recent activities in Africa to be the most significant dynamic in international affairs on the continent since the end of the Cold War. Although China has a centuries- long history of ties with Africa, in the decades immediately following the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 these ties were largely motivated by ideology as China moved to support African anti-colonial liberation movements and leaders. In contrast, today’s re-emergence of Chinese activities in Africa is driven by economic and political interests. Economically, the Chinese government has strategically targeted Africa as an emerging economic region that can diversify its portfolio of trade partners and help maintain the impressive annual GDP growth rate of nearly 10 percent China has achieved in recent years. In fact, trade between sub-Saharan Africa and China reached $107 billion in 2008, up from just $9 billion in 2001. Often attributed to China’s voracious appetite for oil and other raw materials, China has been pursuing partnerships with African resource-rich nations in particular. For example, Chinese investments and partnerships in Angola, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Sudan have boosted oil production and exports in those countries; today nearly one-third of Chinese oil imports come from African sources. Nearly as important is China’s desire to develop new markets to export its goods to African countries. A majority of African economies now have mounting trade deficits with China. Low-cost Chinese-made goods – ranging from plastic tubs to ubiquitous flip-flop sandals – can be
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158 found throughout the continent. Perhaps the most controversial example is in Southern Africa, where Chinese textile imports have overwhelmed African-owned manufacturers and played a devastating role in the demise of local industry. Politically, the Chinese government has extolled a natural alliance be- tween the continent with the most developing countries and the world’s most populous developing country. China has sought diplomatic allies in Africa for support of the “One China” policy as well as other issues within the international political arena. Many African countries have switched their allegiance back and forth between the mainland and Taiwan over the years, though recent efforts by the PRC in the form of enticing aid, loans, and preferential trade agreements have meant that today 49 of the 53 countries in Africa have diplomatic ties with China at the expense of Taiwan. Within Africa, many observers worry that stronger ties with China could have long-term negative implications for progress on human
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f_0020487_17248 - 157 Book review Dane Erickson China in...

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