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China in Africa: myths and realities

Posted by Maureen Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Labels: , , , , ,

During my graduate work, I focused a lot of my research on China's role in Africa in regards to foreign aid and development.  A lot of the research came with a negative perception--that China's presence in Africa is only making things worse (under the facade of foreign assistance), for reasons you can see in the article below if interested.  However, while in Nuba Mountains last year, I learned that China was building roads. Good ones. Between places that really need them.  Now there is even controversy among culturalists over this issue, as roads lead to an influx of Western and/or metropolitan influence than can often lead to the destruction of cultural traditions.  But there is little to no controversy among economists--roads bring development. Period.  This realization led me to reconsider China's role in Africa.

Even so, say China is only building said roads so they can extract natural resources and export them more easily. Possible, likely even (per the image above!).  And yet.  Will these same roads not benefit the African people anyway?  What do you think?

So here's the article I just read on Aid Watch that led to this blog post.

These two books by Chris Alden are a few of my favorites on the topic. Also, if you have further interest, then the Christian Science Monitor is usually a good source on this issue.

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