Assistance of Chinese Characteristics China’s Aid Program in Africa and its Consequences
Author：Yawei Liu, Linling Zhong and Tyler Thompson
Publish Date：2011-07-07 02:58:32
Times Read：12913 reads
Assistance of Chinese Characteristics
China’s Aid Program in Africa and its Consequences
10-11 March, 2011
China’s Role in Global and Regional Governance
Conference Hosted by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Nanyang Technological University
Yawei Liu, Linling Zhong and Tyler Thompson
The entire task for Africa is to oppose imperialism and those who follow imperialism. It is not to oppose capitalism and not to build socialism. …You oppose imperialism at home is rendering support to us. If the Soviet Union and China take care of themselves it is helping you. You may consider China as a friend of yours. We can divert and distract imperialists so that they can no longer focus their suppression on Africa.
Mao Zedong, February 21, 1959
Upon the accomplishment of the four modernizations and the development of the the people’s economy, we will make more contribution to the mankind, particularly to the third world.
Deng Xiaoping, May 7, 1978
How has Zimbabwe used our aid? How many white people have left? I want to offer some our lessons to him.
Deng Xiaoping, August 28, 1985
China will never attach any political conditions to her assistance to Africa because we believe the destiny of any nation is determined by the people of that nation.
Wen Jiabao, November 8, 2009.
With only five years remaining to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the target date of 2015, a large portion of Africa’s population still faces staggering challenges in poverty, hunger and disease. Developed nations in the world are providing assistance in all forms to Africa. China, a developing nation that is yet to eradicate its own poverty, is also playing a very important role in offering different kinds of aid to Africa. The Chinese government has been providing development assistance to Africa since the early 1960s, due to Beijing’s desire to create a worldwide revolt against imperialism, its need for diplomatic recognition and international support in its efforts to gain admission into the UN. In the 21st century, the scope of China’s aid to Africa is staggering. While Beijing is reluctant in defining and quantifying its aid programs within the OECD-DAC framework, Chinese assistance to Africa has exploded in recent years, comprised mainly of low interest loans, medical support and training, and highly visible infrastructure projects such as stadiums, dams and roads.
Although China’s aid programs have clearly benefited many African nations, whether these programs are sustainable is a question that requires further probing. The aid programs have raised many concerns both inside China and in the West on issues such as human rights, environmental impact, corruption, and transparency. This paper attempts to examine China’s past and current aid programs, assess its challenges and identify inherent problems in China’s aid strategy. It will also venture some preliminary policy recommendations on how to improve the quality as well as the sustainability of China’s aid programs.
I. China’s Past Aid to Africa
China’s initial contact with the African continent took place over 600 years ago in the Ming Dynasty. Muslim Admiral Zheng He sailed to the coast of East Africa several times between 1418 and 1433, returning to China with African herbs and local medicinal compounds. Unlike Western powers, the Chinese emperor had no intention to colonize. This insignificant early contact has been touted by Chinese historians and diplomats as the beginning of China’s unique approach to the continent: always gentler, kinder and more generous. The contact was renewed in a significant way after the Communists came to power in 1949 and began to integrate the African continent to its messianic global struggle against imperialism in the 1960s. This revolutionary kind of aid programs were reversed when China began to focus on improving the living conditions of her own people and reoriented her aid strategies in the late 1970s. More assistance did not begin to flow back to Africa until early 1990s and slowly gained momentum toward the end of the century. Into the first decade of the 21st century,
Anti-Colonial and Imperialist Revolution and Isolation of Taiwan (1949-1978)
In its infancy, China’s aid policy toward Africa was predominantly influenced by ideology. Since its founding in 1949, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) committed itself to the front line of the struggle against colonialism, imperialism and revisionism in the Third World. Indeed, China’s initial aid programs in Africa were guided by ideological principles and a revolutionary spirit. In support of a number of Africa’s revolutionary socialist movements during the 1960’s, China extended foreign aid to Guinea, Mali and Ghana. Paradoxically, the fact that China broke ties with Moscow in the early 1960s due to ideological differences forced China to forge new partnerships in support of Chinese diplomacy and to counteract the bipolar interests of Moscow and Washington.
Besides its ideological interest, China was also interested in building an international presence. Following the establishment of the PRC, China sought prominence on the world stage and worked towards creating new ties and building new relationships by means of offering aid in Africa. The first step towards achieving that goal entailed replacing Taipei with Beijing in the minds of the international community and moving towards solidarity as one China. The next step would be contingent upon China’s accession into the United Nations and hopefully facilitated by African nations, ultimately circumventing Taiwan’s diplomatic presence internationally.
Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited 10 independent African countries in 1963. Zhou announced eight principles of Chinese foreign aid in Ghana, promised that the aid would be “based on equality, mutual benefit and respect for the sovereignty of the host.” Zhou also said that the loans would be non-conditional (despite a requirement to recognize Beijing’s one-China principle), interest-free or low-interest, and easily reapplied for. He promised nearly $120 million in aid to the Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania.
China’s aid strategy finally came to fruition in 1971 with the support of a number of African countries that helped China regain its seat from Taiwan in the United Nations. Mao Zedong, the leader of the PRC described Beijing’s return to the UN as being, “carried into the United Nations on the shoulder of African nations.” Following its re-admittance to the UN, China started aid programs in thirteen additional African countries.
For the PRC, a country still in its early years, gaining support from the international community was vital to assuring continuity especially during the turbulent years of Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap when tens of thousands of Chinese died in starvation. During this time, the Chinese government remained committed to aiding Africa, seeing great potential in the continent as a long-term regional ally. Despite a faltering domestic economy and internal unrest, China provided substantial aid to Africa, including an offer to build the longest railway in Africa – the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. China sent close to 16,000 technicians to assist the railway project. Construction of the railway began in 1970 and finished two years ahead of schedule in 1975.
By the end of 1978, 74 countries were receiving aid from China, the greatest number of them in Africa. However, in 1975, the financial burden of China’s foreign aid proved too much for China. The country decided to carry out the agreements it had already signed but controlled the amount of new agreement to a fix percentage of the national budget. (source?)
China’s aid programs to Africa during this period were clearly driven by two strategic goals, namely 1) to support African people in their quest to overthrow colonial powers and 2) to convince newly independent African nations to join the international crusade to crush the American imperialists’ effort to rule the world. The Chinese leadership only sought political dividends for the aid programs and they were offered at the expense of the Chinese people whose living conditions were dire and daily necessities rationed. African nations appreciated China’s political and economic support and returned favor in echoing China’s claim that there was this irresistible global conflagration which would eventually engulf and destroy the Western world, recognizing Beijing instead of Taiwan and helping China to be admitted into the UN.
Adjustment and Transformation (1979-1990)
In 1978, Deng Xiaoping became the leader of China and led China towards a market economy. He believed that “foreign aid is the right thing to do, and when China is developed, it will still be the right thing to do”.
However, China soon realized two major challenges with its aid policy. First, every turn-key aid project abroad was a sacrifice of China’s own modernization. Second, many aid projects failed after China handed them over to local African governments. This was a huge waste of China’s scarce resources and threatened to slow down China’s own development and modernization. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the State Council responded issuing a joint opinion on foreign aid claiming that foreign aid would remain a central part of China’s foreign policy but that foreign spending would be set to more realistic levels and structured to benefit China’s own modernization.
With such policy goals, China began exploring ways of structuring foreign aid that would benefit its domestic economy. In 1982, Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang visited eleven countries in Africa and sent a strong signal to the world that China wanted to remain engaged in Africa. Shortly after that, China refined its aid programs to rehabilitate former aid projects that had collapsed and develop new ways to achieve “mutual benefit.” China sent a team of professionals to survey former aid projects to assess renovation strategies. Chinese experts resurrected many of these projects while taking on the added task of training local people how to manage them. Soon, “being responsible to the end” became a new slogan for China’s foreign aid projects.
China’s new foreign aid strategy became intensively cost-benefit oriented so as to maximize benefits and diminish costs. China allowed African countries to use their goods or market share to repay their debt and reduced unpaid aid deficits – an unorthodox strategy developed and practiced almost exclusively by China. In addition, China passed new laws in 1979 allowing some companies to take their businesses oversees. Chinese companies were able to enter the African market and bid on construction deals.
According to the Development Assistance Committee, China was the 8th-largest bilateral donor in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1984. For example, the Chinese Red Cross raised nearly five million dollars for Africa during its famine period in 1985. In addition, China began extending humanitarian aid to other developing countries.
Aid Reform and Going Global (1991-2000)
China’s economy has experienced rapid growth in the thirty years following Deng’s implementation of reform and opening up. Subsequently, high level of growth has exacerbated China’s demand for energy and resources. Moreover, China wants to prove to the rest of the world that it is a responsible rising power whose rise would facilitate the development prospects of other developing countries as well. To correspond with China’s rapid economic ascendancy, China began a new round of aid reforms in 1995.
China’s aid reform in 1995 emphasized “market-oriented” principles by giving more decision-making power and freedom to China’s trading companies, allowing them to operate as independent companies responsible for their own profits and losses. These companies were allowed to pursue independent commercial opportunities, including merging with other companies in order to become more competitive. As a result, almost all small and medium-sized firms were privatized in the early 2000s. China created three “policy banks” to manage financial resources overseas: China Development Bank, China Export Import Bank, and China Agricultural Development bank. With substantial government backing, China Export Import Bank began offering new types of concessionary aid loans. In addition, these banks provided low-cost, no-interest loans to Chinese companies in order to help them operate overseas. For instance, China Development Bank provided a $10 billion line of credit to telecommunications firm Huawei for expansion overseas. Other companies, like China National Oil Company, received a soft loan of $1.6 billion for its operations in Nigeria.
Based on experiences in the 1980s, China configured its strategy to “combine aid to Africa with mutual cooperation and trade.” In 2000, following its aid reform, Chinese contractors won half or more of the construction contracts in a number of African countries such as Ethiopia and Rwanda. Indeed, the year 2000 has proven to be an important year for China-Africa relations. In that year, China launched the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Forty-four African countries sent their foreign ministers, high-ranking economic officials and experts to Beijing. The third FOCAC was held in Beijing in 2006. It was the largest international summit China has ever hosted. At this meeting China promised to establish training programs, coordinate debt relief programs and otherwise promote economic cooperation between China and African countries. Most recently, FOCAC took place in Egypt, in 2009. The next summit is scheduled for 2012 in Beijing. As can be seen, FOCAC has become an important avenue and mechanism for coordinating relations between China and Africa.
II. China’s Current Aid to Africa
Since the establishment of FOCAC, China has maintained a consistent long-term strategic policy towards Africa reaffirming the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” established in 1955. Slight deviations and qualified actions aside, China upholds its commitment to mutual non-aggression, respect for sovereignty, non-interference, and equality to promote peaceful coexistence. Other than FOCAC, China’s contemporary foreign policy initiatives in Africa are clearly defined in China’s white paper entitled China’s African Policy which was published in January 2006. According to this official document, the guiding principles of China’s Africa policy include: mutual respect, mutual benefit, mutual support, mutual exchange, and mutual cooperation. More specifically, China respects the independent sovereignty of African nations over development decisions, appreciates the benefits of equilateral trade benefits, seeks closer coordination with Africa in the UN and other international institutions, aims to increase capacity building in education, science, culture and health, and is committed to establishing a one-China policy in Africa.
Obviously, China’s official policy towards Africa is nothing but an archaic remnant of the policy established by Mao Zedong in 1949. What is unclear is why China’s Africa policy has remained unchanged for so many years. Understanding the motivations behind China’s aid to Africa will help better identify possible long-term outcomes in Africa’s development.
Motivations behind Chinese Aid to Africa
International interest in the African continent has fluctuated throughout history. From the time of the slave trade to the colonial period to the Cold War, foreign interest in Africa has had its peaks and valleys. During the Cold War when bipolar interests in global politics diverted national allegiances to either the United States or the Soviet Union, Africa was a continent whose countries were courted by powers for political and ideological alliances. With the end of the Cold War, Africa was very much neglected with the exception of human rights interventions. The spread of terrorism has put the continent back onto the global map of politics and development. In the past decade; however, new interests in Africa have emerged for reasons more diverse than in in the past. There is of course a consistent appeal for the continent’s raw materials and natural resources, as well as a replicated desire to forge strong political support in international forums, but African countries have never truly been considered prospective economic players on a global scale.
Indeed, other than international aid, investments and development in most African countries are hardly indicative of a new order in which African and foreign nations are forging mutually beneficial relationships. However, in the 21st century there are a surprising number of countries with their eye on Africa and their hands in their pockets. Other than the United States, China, India, Brazil, several Gulf States, Iran and most recently Turkey, have shown noticeable interest in Africa. Still, Africa’s primary benefactors remain China and the United States.
Specifically, China has four primary interests in Africa. First and foremost, China is interested in Africa’s wealth of natural resources including oil, minerals, and agricultural products that contribute to China’s security and relatively high GDP growth rate. Second, China maintains positive ties in Africa for assured political support in international forums such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. Third, it seeks to promote the one-China policy, effectively ending Taiwan’s diplomatic presence on the continent. To this end China offers this ultimatum: recognize Beijing and support China’s cause for reunification in return for aid, although it does not oppose Taipei’s commercial interests in Africa. Finally, China is interested in creating strong trade ties with African nations to promote exports and sustain its economic growth. “China obtained 33 percent of its imported oil from Africa in 2006 and even larger percentages of minerals such as cobalt and manganese.” Currently, China has no operating military bases in Africa and is relatively unconcerned with African security issues unlike its American counterpart; however, “increasing attacks on Chinese personnel in countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Nigeria may cause China to pay more attention to security concerns” in the future.
Components and Characteristics of China’s Aid
China’s aggressive and dynamic policy of engagement in Africa is a multifaceted attempt to establish a long term political and economic bi-lateral partnership. It relies on international aid in a number of forms and relies on high level of personal contact to keep dialogue fresh and relevant. However, unlike its Western counterparts, China’s aid is not dispensed exclusively by the government; rather, China’s aid in Africa derives from multifarious and diverse sources.（？）
China is organized according to a top-down authoritarian power structure in which there is a consolidation of decision-making authority prevalent at the axis of political hierarchy. At the executive level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Chinese leaders on matters of foreign policy and divides responsibility on Africa between a unit for sub-Saharan Africa and one for North Africa. The Department of Foreign Aid under the Ministry of Commerce has the central role in administering aid projects. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) shares equal responsibility in matters pertaining to China-Africa, encouraging State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) and private companies to expand their operations in Africa. Regionally, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the China-Africa Business Council was created in 2004 to support China’s private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
China’s Export-Import Bank is also heavily involved in Africa, it is the only state-owned entity facilitated by the government to distribute official economic assistance. China’s Export-Import Bank is the primary provider of low-interest loans to governments and promotes Chinese investment in Africa through export credits, loans for overseas projects, and international guarantees. These loans usually help to finance large infrastructure projects overseas. As a result of these artificial market incentives many of China’s state-controlled banks are increasing active in China. For example, in 2007 the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China “purchased a 20 percent share of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank for $5.5 billion.”
China-Africa relations are further supported by the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) International Department which encourages commercial and diplomatic cooperation and exchange visits to ensure that policies fall in line with CPC strategic objectives. Historically, links between China’s Central Military Commission and the People’s Liberation Army and their African counterparts has been an omnipresent aspect of China-Africa relations garnering financial support and military training programs for African liberation groups. The Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency is also instrumental in promoting ties between China and Africa, operating large regional bureaus in Cairo and Nairobi and over twenty smaller branch offices throughout Africa that report on China-Africa developments and contribute information to African news services.
These and other functionaries of Chinese aid in Africa constitute one of China’s largest endeavors abroad. To illustrate this point, no American administration with the possible exception of President Clinton during his second term, has ever sent so many high-level officials to Africa. Most Chinese assistance to Africa is in the form of low-interest loans dispersed primarily to finance large infrastructure projects, usually repaid with non-monetary compensation such as exporting oil or minerals to China. In this way, Chinese aid to Africa is best described as barter rather than aid. Examples abound - $13 billion to Angola, $9 billion to Democratic Republic of the Congo, and $5 billion to Niger within the last two years.
Compared to many other countries heavily involved in Africa, Chinese grant aid constitutes a very small proportion of total aid. Beijing has taken a page out of Washington’s book in terms of extending China’s reach in Africa. The Chinese have applied what has been a successful foreign investment strategy in China and applied similar programs in Africa. The adoption of Chinese Special economic zones (SEZs) in many African countries offer Chinese companies favorable incentives including tax breaks and dependable electrical power. China currently operates more than five SEZs in Africa including a hub in Zambia’s Copper Belt, two trade zones in Nigeria, an economic and trade zone in Egypt and an industrial park in Ethiopia.
Another largely successful Chinese aid initiative in Africa has been its medical program which has dispatched over 15,000 Chinese medical personnel to forty-seven African countries, treating approximately 170 million patients since 1963. The success of this program is easily quantified – 1,000 Chinese doctors in Tanzania alone, currently treating more that 60,000 out-patients and 17,000 in-patients annually. China has even started its own volunteer program in Africa to match Peace Corps efforts on the continent. The Chinese program sent twelve Chinese young adults to Ethiopia in 2005 and 300 young volunteers to Africa in 2009. China is also a major contributor and active participant in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and has been since 2000. As of 2008, there are more Chinese peacekeepers in Africa than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council with over 1,600 military and police personnel assigned to six of the seven UN peacekeeping operations in Africa.
As a comprehensive strategic policy, China’s aid in Africa is much more than dollars and cents; it is a qualifiable interest in developing strong economic and personal ties between China and African countries. To this end China has solicited a number of growing Chinese communities in Africa including many of which date back more than a century in Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and South Africa. South Africa has the largest Chinese community, which is estimated to be over 300,000 people. Newer communities can be found throughout Africa and consist mainly of small traders and business persons. These communities are important to Beijing’s strategic policy in Africa, serving as a natural link to the local business community and assisting trade and investment.
Consequences, Outcomes, and Problems of China’s Aid
Much has come as a result of China’s aid programs in Africa both economically and politically. In 2006, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China met with 48 out of Africa’s 53 rulers in Beijing for the third annual FOCAC summit. Since that meeting trade with Africa has doubled from $50 billion to more than $100 billion. Due to China’s clout and increasing popularity in Africa as well as their position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is well positioned to challenge western influence in Africa. For instance, in 2008 “China vetoed a British and American resolution at the UN that would have imposed a ban on arms sales on Zimbabwe and a travel ban on its rulers.” Furthermore, China’s ‘no-strings-attached’ lending strategy is an alternative funding option for many African countries which allows them to leverage the demands of Western donors such as the IMF and the World Bank.
Despite environmental concerns, China’s appetite for Africa’s raw materials has been good for Africa’s economy, increasing the “average annual growth rate to 5.4 per cent in the decade before the crash.” Similarly, although many local businesses were forced to shut down due to overbearing Chinese competition, including the devastation of South Africa’s textile industry; African consumers enjoy greater access to goods and commodities due to low cost Chinese products. Indeed, African amicability towards China is almost universally applied.
Whether in the public or private sphere, the majority of African’s have responded positively to Chinese interest and investment on the continent. African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Jean Ping regards China as “Africa’s key strategic partner.” Sudan and Zimbabwe, two countries historically uncooperative with the United States show particular affinity for China. Elsewhere in Africa there is a certifiable momentum shift in terms of political and economic allegiance away from the United States towards China. Countries like Angola, Algeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Niger, Zambia, Mauritania, Eritrea, Guionea-Bissau, the Comoro Islands, even traditionally close allies of the U.S. such as Ethiopia and Kenya, seem to be moving in the direction of China. According to a 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, it was concluded that out of twelve African countries examined, seven had a more favorable view of China than the United States.
However, there are a number of expressed concerns regarding China’s role in Africa. Another survey in mid-2008 found that both Egypt and South Africa were ambivalent towards China’s long-term presence. A number of labor unions, non-government organizations, opposition political parties, representatives of civil society, and other organizations “that promote democratic governance, economic policy reform and improved human rights practices tend to be the most negative towards China.” Furthermore, although African business people are generally happy with China’s growing trade and investment, a number of small African traders and owners of local industries have closed their businesses in the wake of Chinese competition. Similarly, many African consumers enjoy the lower prices of Chinese products, but some complain about low quality or counterfeit goods. There are also grievances expressed within the African academic community concerning a lack of Chinese interaction with Africa’s private sector, claiming the Chinese are too focused on maintaining the political status quo in Africa. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki classifies China’s relations with Africa as neo-colonialism. This is a view shared by many both in and outside Africa. Despite these concerns, Africa remains collectively positive towards Chinese involvement on the continent.
Western Perceptions of China in Africa
Western perceptions of China in Africa are accentuated and framed in the sphere of US-China relations – generally considered to be contentious on a number of fronts. Although the interests of both countries in Africa are somewhat aligned, there is a number of issues that may cause some tension. Democratization is one issue that the U.S. and China have never seen eye to eye on, and with continued U.S. interest in peace building and what some have termed “nation building”, there is a drastic possibility that we may see Africa again divided into two: nations committed to U.S. political development, and nations of the same purview as China, much less concerned with political reform. Another issue that plagues U.S.-China interaction in Africa may prove to be environmental. China is not inherently opposed to diversifying its energy sector; in fact, China is among the foremost proponents of clean energy technology implementation. However, free of hampering attempts to uphold domestic environmental facades, China may well look past issues of climate change in efforts to economize investment and development projects in Africa.
Furthermore, China’s maintenance of a steady economy and America’s failure to do so during the global economic crisis has shifted the power structure between the U.S. and China greatly. Interaction between the two powers is now done on a markedly equilateral basis. By all measurable accounts China enjoys a US$2 trillion supply of foreign reserves, a current account surplus, minimal links to foreign banks and a budget surplus. Towards the end of 2008, “China held $653 billion in U.S. treasury securities….constituting about 22 percent of all U.S. securities owned by foreigners. Consequently, China is in a position of advantage as it competes with the United States in other parts of the world. This may also be the reason why the U.S. is reluctant to bicker with China on African issues that are only marginally important to U.S. security. All this aside and despite mostly negative Western views of Chinese intervention in Africa, Africa is not a part of the world where Chinese and U.S. interests are fated to collide. For instance, even in Darfur where the establishment of a “no-fly” zone separates the different policy goals of Beijing and Washington, China has worked cooperatively with the Sudanese government to bring consensus on security issues in the region.
III. Future Projections and Policy Recommendations
Although China’s aid strategy in Africa has been reconfigured over time, it has remained fundamentally the same in terms of seeking instant returns. In the 20th century, the return was political and international in return. Although political support from Africa is always desired but China’s current aid programs in Africa largely revolve around commercial, agricultural and extractive goals in the21st century. Competing interests in Africa will shape both discussion and interaction in international forums and Africa’s unadorned political-economic landscape. As it is today, China’s aid programs in Africa face a host of problems. Among them, China’s aid in Africa is far too narrowly applied in trade and economics, too focused on government-to-government interaction, and much too linear in application. In order to secure a sustainable presence in Africa, China’s aid strategy is in need of a major overhaul. Today’s inefficiencies must be remedied and international criticism must be taken into consideration if China is to truly benefit from its Africa policy.
More Transparency, More Cooperation
The lack of transparency between China and African countries makes data collection and quantitative analysis of China’s aid programs very difficult. It also complicates issues between China and the West and has led to a number of misunderstandings. For example, many Western scholars and media conglomerates believe that China’s aid programs are exclusively constructed in oil-producing countries, while in fact, China issues different types of aid dispersed throughout Africa. Accounting for such uncertainty in the future, China would benefit greatly within international forums by opening access to information regarding its aid strategy in Africa. Moreover, greater information sharing and increased interaction with Western donors would improve coordination, efficiency, and reduce duplicating international efforts to the benefit of Africans. Potential areas for cooperation include joint assistance projects, energy development, collaboration in peace keeping, building stronger African export capacity, and expanding multi-lateral trade ties.
China can also improve its aid strategy in Africa by increasing collaboration with local communities in order to improve public image and facilitate long-term project sustainability. Rather than focusing primarily on building relationships with high level government officials, China should focus on expanding contact with local civil society, non-governmental organizations, and labor unions.  By doing so, China will be better equipped to respond to African concerns from varying groups and perspectives.
Paramount to sustaining an effective aid program and continued prosperity in existing African economic markets has to be stability. Thus China should take a more proactive stance towards regional and international security issues, perhaps partnering with the U.S. and other Western countries in training Africans to take part in peacekeeping operations on the continent. Although non-interference has been fundamental to Chinese foreign policy since Zhou Enlai articulated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, many Westerners criticize China for engaging African countries without due prudence to domestic corruption and instances of human rights abuses. It is believed that China’s advocacy for non-interference has only served China’s interest in Africa’s market and resources.  China’s policy of non-interference and proclaimed neglect for issues of democracy and human rights in Africa will likely prove problematic in terms of stability and consistency of Africa’s fragile states. To this end, China has a lot to learn from the British and Americans, and while China may not adopt these virtues at home, they may learn that in Africa they are essential.
Accordingly, China needs to become a proponent and advocate of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Africa in order to diversify what is now a narrowly refined economic and resource driven stake in Africa’s future. As a practical matter China has full discretion in Africa to be hypocritical in its stance on human rights and the promotion of civil society. Given China’s excellent propaganda and censorship capabilities, promoting and funding human rights in Africa would both mollify Western criticism and better facilitate capacity building in Africa without damaging China’s domestic political structure. Of course such hypocrisy would be blaring obvious to the rest of the world, but in the end, promoting human rights at any level or in any country could not hurt China’s reputation, especially considering the potential benefit to African countries and the African people. 
From an economic perspective, China should focus more on the quality of its aid instead of quantity. Recent figures by China’s State Council Information Office concluded that total bilateral trade in 2010 between China and 45 African countries reached $114.8 billion, surpassing record levels in 2008 by over six billion dollars. China has also provided billions of dollars in unconditional aid and low-interest loans to African governments, which could potentially resituate many African nations back into the debt cycle. Although some countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are able to repay Chinese lending institutions via oil reserves and natural resources, reimbursing a $2.5 billion loan for countries like Ethiopia that can offer only sesame seeds and goat skins as collateral will take an indefinite amount of time even without associated high interest costs.
In order to prevent African countries from falling back into debt, the Chinese government can do at least two things. For one, it can focus more on the quality of aid provided. For instance, placing emphasis on its training programs in project management at the local level ensures that China’s aid projects and loans are less likely to be misappropriated and misspent. In terms of short-term and long-term interests, this strategy presents the greatest opportunity for developing a win-win relationship between China and Africa. By doing so, China’s short-term involvement in aid projects can be sustained and carried out in the long-term by African countries, following Chinese departure. Two, China can diversify its aid programs by providing more humanitarian aid such as food, water, and bed nets. Furthermore, China can also provide more training for local teachers and government officials in order to foster stronger institutions within the civil society.
Looking to the Future
Looking to the future, China has a tremendous opportunity to expand and refine its aid programs in what will be in July2011 the newest independent nation in the world – South Sudan. In contrast to its soon-to-be northern neighbor, South Sudan is largely underdeveloped, lacking basic infrastructure, institutional support in education and health, and has yet to establish a functioning government. Without drastic external support, it is likely South Sudan will be unable to establish itself as a functioning sovereign state. Relying on oil reserves alone is not a sustainable revenue strategy and will not translate into long-term economic gains. Accordingly, South Sudan is in need of substantial and immediate monetary and institutional injections that will finance capacity building and lay the necessary foundation in education and health.
Answering South Sudan’s call will be a host of international donor groups and NGO’s ready and willing to support the new government in development projects. However, there is no lending institution today that can match China’s breadth and speed in funding. Due to China’s authoritarian structure and extensive economy, China is best poised to provide immediate and systemic aid to South Sudan in its infancy. U.S.-AID, the IMF, and the World Bank will likely match or exceed China’s investment there, but none of these organizations can inject the necessary capital to sustain South Sudan within the same time frame as China, nor will these institutions be willing to provide discretionary loans. Similarly, whereas many NGO’s are already providing assistance or will be able to provide assistance quickly, these organizations lack funding and will not play a large role in development outside health and humanitarian issues. Accordingly, China has the unique opportunity to spearhead an international effort in support of a new nation.
With such an opportunity presenting itself, it is unclear whether China will take the initiative to restructure its lending practices in Africa and diversify its aid strategy away from resource extraction and trade, and move towards collaboration and capacity building. What is clear is that China’s mantra of mutual benefit-mutual reward is hardly an accurate assessment of China’s involvement in Africa. Although many African countries enjoy a number of benefits from Chinese investment and loans, these benefits are dwarfed in relation to Chinese gains. Perhaps China will change its ways, perhaps not. Most likely China will continue to respond to its own needs, slowly developing along its own course, as is China’s way. Luckily, Chinese interests are dynamically intertwined with the rest of the worlds, suggesting that ultimately what is good for Africa is what is good for China, is what is good for the world.
 Li Anshan, China and Africa: Policy and Challenges (China Security, 2007), 70.
 Brautigam, Deborah. The Dragon’s gift (Oxford University press, 2009), 32.
 Ministry of commerce, China Commerce Yearbook, 2009 (Beijing: China Commerce and Trade Press, 2009), 187.
 A turn-key aid project refers to a project that is constructed by the Chinese and turned over to the Africans in a ready-to-use condition.
 “Africa: China’s Great Leap into the continent,” (UN Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian affairs, Humanitarian News and Analysis, March 23, 2006).
 Takehera, Mike. Why Chinese Oil Majors rush to Africa (Oil and Gas Review, 2006).
 See Heather Marquette, The Greeping Politicisation of the World Bank: The Case of Corruption (Political Studies, 2004), 413-30.
 Yun Jianjun, Cong Guoju Yuanzhu de Fazhan Kan Zhangong dui Fei de Yuanzhu (West Asia and Africa, 2000), 17-23.
 King, Kenneth. “Aid within the Wider China-Africa Partnership: A view from the Beijing Summit” (University of Hong Kong and University of Edinburgh, 2006).
 “In 1953, Zhou Enlai proposed “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” as the preamble for the Indian-Chinese Trading Treaty in Tibet. China then incorporated these five principles into the “Ten Principles of Bandung” enunciated at the 1955 Asian-African conference in Indonesia.” Shinn, David H. “Africa: The United States and China Court the Continent”. Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2009, Volume 62, Number 2, Pg. 41.
 Shinn, David H. “Africa: The United States and China Court the Continent”. Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2009, Volume 62, Number 2, Pg. 37.
 “Independent African countries were instrumental in supporting Beijing’s admission into the United Nations in 1971.” Shinn, 39.
 With Ma Yingjiou becoming the president in Taiwan, ROC and PRC have reached a diplomatic truce in Africa and elsewhere.
 “Chinese exports to Africa constitute less than 3 percent of total exports and consist primarily of manufactured products, machinery and transport equipment.” Shinn, 39.
 Large infrastructure projects include building roads, dams, government buildings, telecommunication networks, etc. Shinn, 46.
 “The largest Chinese contingents [are] in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Sudan and Darfur.” Shinn, 46.
 “Chinatowns have sprouted in cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Dakar.” Shinn, 47.
 There are numerous signs that China is making small but important adjustment in this fully engaging Africa politically on the side of the international community. China monitored the referendum in South Sudan early this year. It also supports the winners of the presidential elections in Guinea and Ivory Coast and calls the incumbents to accept defeat. Most significantly, China voted with other members of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Qaddafi and Libya and refer him to the International Criminal Court on war crimes. The haloed principle of non-interference of China is severely eroded by developments in on other part of the world but Africa where China has long been championing this principle.
 By Harriet Barovick, Frances Romero, Alexandra Silver, Ishann Tharoor, and Kayla Webley. "China Hails African Ties,” Time. (January, 2011), http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2040178-2,00.html. (accessed February 9, 2011). 2008 levels estimated at $108 billion: Xinhua, "China-Africa trade up 45% in 2008 to $107 billion” China Daily. (2009), http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-02/11/content_7467460.htm. (accessed February 9, 2011).
 Shinn, David H. “International Perspective: Involvement of Non-Western States” (paper presented at the seminar hosted by the Africa Center for strategic studies National Defense University, September 30, 2010).