Accessibility links

Africa, China and the ‘new’ economic geography of development

This article discusses the economic geography of development in Africa and the role played by China in developments on the continent. It questions China’s intentions and motivations for engagement with Africa, including China’s need to fuel its burgeoning capitalist economy, as well as imperialist concerns. The oil industry in Africa and migration of Chinese workers into various African countries are also discussed. The paper argues that although China clearly matters for Africa, its significance is not as great as some have led us to believe. It points out that much of China’s commercial interests are not vastly different to other commercial interests in the continent, yet in contrast to some donor countries and agencies, the Chinese are thinking long-term and do not see Africa as a ‘basket case’ (viewed only through the prism of aid and development), but as a region of profitable economic possibilities.