Month: March 2013

CHINA AND AFRICA: WHAT’S THE DEAL? PART 3…THE WAY FORWARD

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So what should Africa do to take control of and manage this growing relationship in a manner that is favourable to Africa? At the core of these recommendation is the thought that, ‘Africa must not be too Westwards or Eastwards minded- but rather Inwards minded. It is within Africa that all the answers lie’.[1]  There are some specific steps Africa can take to ensure the engagement with China works to Africa’s advantage:[2],[3]

  • Identify needs before engaging with China

It is crucial that African governments better identify their individual and collective needs before engaging with China to ensure that projects are mutually beneficial.

  • Be proactive on development strategies

Africa needs to engage China with development strategies that have been proactively developed and thought through in order to ensure that the engagement with China is beneficial. There is a need to integrate a China strategy into national and regional economic and developmental bodies. The Sino-AU strategic dialogue provides an opportunity to mobilise Chinese support for specific development projects and initiatives.\

development

  • Develop appropriate policy and legal frameworks

Given the spread of sectors that China is engaging in, it is crucial that Africa develop the relevant policies and legal frameworks to ensure that all investments and activities are properly supervised and function in a structure that is of benefit to Africa. This is particularly the case for activities in the agriculture, industry and trade, natural resources and mineral extraction sectors.

  • Ensure technology transfer

Given China’s rapid economic development in the recent past, Africa is well placed to make use of the technology that catalysed this and engage in joint technology projects. This ought to be actively pursued since technologies developed, used or adapted by China may be a better fit for Africa given that they are being used and developed in an emerging country context.

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  • Integrate Chinese Development Aid into existing structures

It is important that Africa synthesizes Chinese official assistance programs into the activities of other donors in order to, ‘eliminate duplication and help to advance more productive and comprehensive development programs in Africa.’[4] China also needs to be integrated into the, ‘mechanisms of global aid accountability and corresponding processes in the recipient countries’.[5]

  • Analyse China’s engagement with Africa

There should be engagement between African researchers and policymakers specifically on China’s growing role on the continent. National research bodies should pioneer content development which is then shared through institutions such as the AU and Africa Development Bank.

  • Develop review mechanisms

The Forum of China- African Cooperation commitments ‘have not benefited from a focal point to oversee their implementation and monitoring’.[6] African countries can explore the introduction of a formal review mechanism that could be overseen by African bodies.

  • Engage with the private sector and civil society

Africa is well placed to use the private and civil society sectors to monitor Chinese engagements to, ‘inform policymaking and to ensure that the economic impacts of investments and trade are more broadly distributed.’ Civil society can be particularly engaged in this, especially in partnership with Euro-American donor organisations.

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Ultimately I leave you with this quote: Africa ought to know that it really doesn’t matter who your partners are or what plans they have for you in economic development; rather it matters what plans and strategies you have for them.[7]


[1] Obadias Ndaba (2012), ‘Why China Will Not Solve Africa’s Problems’, The African Executive, http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/articles.php?article=6753

[2] The Rockefeller Foundation (2009), ‘China’s Engagement with African Countries: Key findings and recommendations’, http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/uploads/files/9049b3b0-c0be-4485-8525-563a330d8160.pdf

[3] Asche, Helmut and Margot Schüller (2008), ‘China’s Engagement in Africa: Opportunities and Risks for Development’,  GTZ,

http://www.giga-hamburg.de/dl/download.php?d=/english/content/ias/pdf/studie_chinas_engagement_in_afrika_en.pdf

[4] The Rockefeller Foundation (2009), ‘China’s Engagement with African Countries: Key findings and recommendations’, http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/uploads/files/9049b3b0-c0be-4485-8525-563a330d8160.pdf

[5]Asche, Helmut and Margot Schüller (2008), ‘China’s Engagement in Africa: Opportunities and Risks for Development’,  GTZ,

http://www.giga-hamburg.de/dl/download.php?d=/english/content/ias/pdf/studie_chinas_engagement_in_afrika_en.pdf

[6] The Rockefeller Foundation (2009), ‘China’s Engagement with African Countries: Key findings and recommendations’, http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/uploads/files/9049b3b0-c0be-4485-8525-563a330d8160.pdf

[7] Obadias Ndaba

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