Welcome to the website of an ESRC funded research project on the political implications of China’s role in sub-saharan Africa. This 30 month project is based at the Open University’s Development Policy and Practice Group, with collaborators in the Geography Department of Durham University.
China’s enhanced role within the global economy has profound political implications across the world, but takes a particular form in Africa. Meeting China’s increased demand for resources from Africa and expanding her markets also means securing political influence in international organisations. Over the past few years China has pumped in much aid and technical support to Africa and for the first time since the end of the Cold War African leaders have genuine choices about which aid donors and investors to work with. Given the problems of governance across much of the continent these new economic and political choices will have major impacts on African leaders, political parties, civil society groups and other aid donors.
Our research seeks to understand China’s evolving political and economic role in Africa and assesses what impacts Chinese aid, trade and investment are having on the politics of specific African countries, and the extent to which it excites geopolitical competition. This will be examined through case studies of Angola and Ghana, which represent different examples of China’s development ‘partnerships’ in Africa. Angola possesses oil resources that China desperately needs, whereas Ghana lacks strategic resources, but is an important market and political ally.