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China’s Foreign Aid and Investment Diplomacy to African Nations—I

  • John F. Copper

Abstract

Africa cannot be divided neatly or logically into regions as Asia can be. Furthermore, given the fact that China has extended foreign assistance to more countries in Africa than in any of the other geographic regions assessed in this book and that it nearly stopped its aid to countries on the continent in the late 1970s, plus the fact that its financial help to Africa differs so greatly between the two periods, this chapter will cover only China’s aid to African countries during phase one, or the early years. China’s foreign aid to African countries from 1980 to the present, or period two, will be the assessed in the next chapter.

Keywords

African Country Foreign Policy Chinese Leader African Nation Diplomatic Relation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
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    There has also been speculation that China and the Soviet Union divided Africa into spheres of influence at this time, with China taking East Africa and the Soviet Union West Africa, or at least some of the countries in each region. See John K. Cooley, East Wind over Africa (New York: Walker, 1955), p. 25.Google Scholar
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    See World Knowledge Handbook (Peking: World Knowledge Publishing Co., 1961), p. 408, and Peter Hann, “Africa: New Target for Peking,” China Factbook (Hong Kong: 1962), cited in John F. Copper, China’s Foreign Aid: An Instrument of Peking’s Foreign Policy (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1976), p. 88.Google Scholar
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    In fact, the Chinese Foreign Ministry was reorganized at this time in recognition of its new and broader interest in Africa. The West Asian and African Affairs Department was created to shift the responsibilities for Africa from the West European and African Department. See Joseph Camilleri, Chinese Foreign Policy: The Maoist Era and Its Aftermath (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980), p. 97.Google Scholar
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    Zhou, accompanied by Foreign Minister Chen Yi, visited the United Arab Republic, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. China sought support for the upcoming second Afro-Asian Conference, China’s nuclear test and its view on the test ban treaty, and its principles of foreign aid giving. See Alan Lawrance, China’s Foreign Relations since 1949 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975), p. 171.Google Scholar
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    It was later reported that China had sent military experts to Mali and provided training to Mali military personnel in China, though neither were very large. See Communist Aid Activities in Non-Communist Less Developed Countries 1978 (Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 1979), p. 4. The number of Chinese arms technicians was put at 15 and the number trained in China was 50. Another source reports that China provided Mali with military assistance worth around $1 million during the period up to 1976. See Joseph P. Smaldone, “Soviet and Chinese Military and Arms Transfers to Africa: A Contextual Analysis,” in Warren Weinstein and Thomas H. Hendrickson (eds.), Soviet and Chinese Aid to African Nations (New York: Praeger, 1980), p. 105.Google Scholar
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    See Helen Kitchen (ed.), A Handbook for Africa (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1963), p. 182, and Larkin, China and Africa, 1949–1970, p. 94, cited in Copper, China’s Foreign Aid, p. 97.Google Scholar
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    China had already provided training to 250 Tanzanian pilots to fly the planes and technicians to repair them. See Daily Telegraph, June 20, 1971, cited in Anne Gilks and Gerald Segal, China and the Arms Trade (London: Croom Helm, 1985), p. 54.Google Scholar
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    Copper, China’s Foreign Aid, p. 102; Taylor, China and Africa, pp. 164–65. Whether Zambia was actually adopting a socialist system, however, has been questioned. Some say it was state capitalism. China, on the other hand, did not seem to care about this point. See A. Callinicos and J. Rogers, Southern Africa after Soweto (London: Pluto, 1977), cited in Taylor, China and Africa, p. 168.Google Scholar
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    Xinhua, February 12, 1974, and Carol H. Fogarty, “China’s Economic Relations with the Third World,” in China: A Reassessment of the Economy (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975), both cited in Copper, China’s Foreign Aid, p. 103. Also see Bartke, China’s Economic Aid, p. 200.Google Scholar
  30. 135.
    The term Tan-Zam (from Tanzania and Zambia) is the official name of the project and the railroad. In East Africa it is more commonly known as the Uhuru (or freedom) Railroad. The term “freedom” was understood to mean that Zambia was freed from depending on export routes to the south while also referring to the drive against the white regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa. See Richard Hall and Hugh Peyman, The Great Uhuru Railway: China’s Showpiece in Africa (London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1976), p. 17.Google Scholar
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    See Copper, China’s Foreign Aid, pp. 103–5. There has been some disagreement about the cost, one writer putting it at $500 million. See Martyn J. Davies, “Special Economic Zones: China’s Developmental Model Comes to Africa,” in I. Rotberg (ed.), China into Africa: Trade, Aid, and Influence (Washington, DC: Brookings, 2008), p. 147. The discrepancy may have come from valuing the loan in 1976 dollars, when the project was commissioned. Alternatively, the latter figure may have included later costs for locomotive repairs and replacement engines. In any event, the cost in 2008 dollars was near $2 billion.Google Scholar
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    For details, see George T. Yu, “Chinese Aid to Africa: The Tanzania-Zambia Railway,” in Warren Weinstein (ed.), Chinese and Soviet Aid to Africa (New York: Praeger, 1975), pp. 30–33.Google Scholar
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    Sarah Raine, China’s African Challenges (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2009), p. 57.Google Scholar
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    Colin Legum and Tony Hodges, After Angola: The War over Southern Africa (London: Rex Collings, 1976), p. 50.Google Scholar
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  38. 278.
    It needs to be noted that not included in China’s efforts to promote liberation wars were efforts to overthrow foreign governments by clandestine means or by instigating coups, etc. For both practical (mainly that the United States and the Soviet Union were more capable in doing this and China could not compete) and ideological reasons, China, as a general rule, did not do this. See Peter VanNess, Revolution and Chinese Foreign Policy: Peking’s Support for Wars of National Liberation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), p. 7. It has to be pointed out also that China supported wars of national liberation anywhere in the Third World, not just in Africa. In terms of the money it spent, China gave much more to Vietnam. On the other hand, in terms of the number of such movements that China supported, the overwhelming majority was in Africa.Google Scholar
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  44. 324.
    Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: How Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), p. xix. Comparisons between China’s aid to Africa and elsewhere are provided in the concluding chapter of this volume.Google Scholar
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    Charles Neuhauser, Third World Politics: China and the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization, 1957–1967 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968). Also see Copper, China’s Foreign Aid, p. 16.Google Scholar

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© John F. Copper 2016

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