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No Questions Asked? Development and the Paradox of China’s Africa Policy

This paper argues that China’s strategy of engaging African countries through its stated “no questions asked” foreign policy could ultimately be counter-productive for Chinese interests on the continent. Whereas the policy allows China to engage Africa’s authoritarian dictators and democrats alike as it invests in energy, infrastructure, mining, and other projects without many restraints or preconditions; opposition groups across the continent have seized upon its presumed support for unpopular incumbent regimes to stir opposition to China among Africa’s masses during recent elections. Unless China’s policymakers modify their Africa policy, China’s investments in Africa are ironically producing the conditions of development, such as the proliferation of cheap cellphone technology and an expanding African middle class, alongside increasingly dissenting voices over their strategy and presence in Africa.

No Questions Asked Development and the Paradox of China s
The first sub-Saharan light railway system, which started operating in 2015, was buit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with Chinese funding and expertise. ERIC LAFFORGUE / Corbis via Getty Images
 

 

 

Introduction

I s China preying on Africa's resources and undermining development and democracy, as well as several scholars and analysts have claimed? 1 This paper takes a contrary viewpoint and argues that China's investments in Africa, now totaling well in excess of $ 100 billion and growing, 2 could be ultimately counterproductive for China's interests in Africa Conduct business with Africa's authoritarian regimes under its ”no questions asked” foreign policy. According to the postulates of modernization theory, economic growth creates an educated middle class that aspires for democracy and a free society. 3Thus, if Chinese investments are, in fact, producing jobs in Africa and helping foster economic growth on the continent, then Chinese policymakers freer Although the projected relationships and expectations of the economy, the nucleus of such issues, within the framework of such a paper makes clear.

At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing, China on September 3-4, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China's-five-no approach ”(i) no interference in African countries' pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; (ii) no interference in African countries' internal affairs; (iii) no imposition of our will on African countries; (iv) no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; (v) Gains and no seeking of selfish political cooperation in the investment and financing with Africa. " 4Going further, President Xi said: hope We hope this “five-no” approach could apply to other countries. For China, we are always Africa's good friend, good partner and good brother. No one could undermine the great unity between the Chinese people and the African people. ” 5

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