FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2006


China’s economic and cultural relationship with Africa provokes serious questions in the West about international aid, human rights and energy security.  On the eve of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing this November 3-5, how should Western nations view China’s burgeoning relationship with Africa, and what does it suggest about China’s new approach to global diplomacy?  

In a new Carnegie Policy Outlook, Beijing’s Safari: China’s Move into Africa and its Implications for Aid, Development, and Governance, Carnegie Visiting Scholar Joshua Kurlantzick argues that Beijing has quickly become a major donor and investor across Africa, and has savvily used multilateral forums like FOCAC to cultivate African elites. As a result, China now rivals the United States, France, and international financial institutions for influence on the continent. Chinese loans and grants to African nations, which now reach nearly $3 billion, have become much more enticing than condition-laden aid from international institutions.  Beijing also has wooed African nations with aid for infrastructure, a ban on export tariffs for the poorest nations, and its status as a market for African goods and services.  Click here to read the full text of the Policy Outlook.

Chinese engagement in Africa could be a catalyst for positive change on the continent. But the China-Africa relationship also could be damaging to African politics, environments, and debt loads.  Kurlantzick argues that China should develop a broader strategy of influence in Africa – using soft power to build popularity among African publics, rather than reinforcing authoritarian regimes.  China should also create a permanent aid bureaucracy capable of working with other donors. 

Kurlantzick further argues that the United States, Europe, and international financial institutions should not only call for China to be a stakeholder in Africa but give China a stake. This includes considering expanding China’s role in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and helping China develop a permanent aid bureaucracy. Making China a stakeholder in Africa now will encourage positive Chinese leadership in mediating conflicts, promoting development, and tackling non-traditional security threats in the future. 

Direct link to pdf: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/kurlantzick_outlook_africa2.pdf

Joshua Kurlantzick is a visiting scholar in the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Kurlantzick is assessing China’s relationship with the developing world; his book on China’s soft power will be released in early 2007.

Kurlantzick is available to speak on the China-Africa partnership and the November 3-5 Beijing Summit. To request an interview, contact:
Trent Perrotto, (tel) 202/939-2372,
tperrotto@CarnegieEndowment.org

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910, its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results.

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