China-Africa relations: Making sense of the discourse

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China-Africa relations have come under scrutiny recently, with more articles and books having been written on it in the last 10 years than in the preceding 50 years all put together. Despite the generous attention, however, the nature and outcome of China-Africa relations are far from clear. It is, in fact, as though the more one reads about China in Africa, the less one knows about it. The empirical evidence seems to lend support to the twin claims that China is looting Africa and that it is developing the continent. The massive literature and seemingly contradictory perspectives about Africa-China relations thus cry out for a disciplinary framework, disciplinary in both senses of that term. What are the divergent perspectives about Afro-Chinese relations? How did they emerge? What are the driving forces behind them? Is the sustained discourse about Afro-Chinese relations justifiable on empirical grounds? And is it a good thing for Africa in any case? These questions are addressed in this essay from the perspective of social constructivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalContributions to Conflict Management, Peace Economics and Development
Issue numberPART2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Strategy and Management


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