Wednesday, May 2, 2012

China-Africa Case Studies

As noted in the 30 April entry below, the South African Institute of International Affairs has produced in recent years a variety of excellent case studies concerning China's relations with individual African countries. Two of the most recent ones are titled China in Kenya: Addressing Counterfeit Goods and Construction Sector Imbalances by Hilary Patroba, a PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town, and Goodwill and Hard Bargains: The DRC, China and India by Gregory Mthembu-Salter, a researcher for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The study on Kenya argues that Chinese investments in Kenya have attracted praise and condemnation in equal proportion from various quarters. In particular, their efficiency in completing projects contrasts with the low quality of Chinese products sold in Kenya and unfair market practices adopted by Chinese firms. This paper seeks to assess the collateral effects of Chinese goods and construction firms on Kenyan consumers and businesses. Kenya exports unfinished products to China and imports value-added products from China, which include significant counterfeit products. There is also a discriminatory tendency to award construction tenders to Chinese firms. Click here to read the entire report.

The study on the Democratic Republic of the Congo explores historical, political and economic aspects of India and China's relationship with the DRC. It traces the historical development of China and India's political and trade relations with the DRC from the 1950s to the present day. It concludes that the Chinese government facilitates access by Chinese state-owned companies to large mining deposits in the DRC through loans from the state-owned Export-Import Bank. In the telecommunications sector, however, the most successful Chinese company, Huawei Technologies, receives no noticeable state assistance. Meanwhile, India's Bharti has become the DRC's biggest telecommunications investor and operator. Politically, China has positioned itself as a close ally of President Joseph Kabila while India, the main troop contributor to the UN mission in the DRC, has a more strained relationship. The study concludes that China and India's role in delivering infrastructural development to the DRC is welcome but that projects required continued and careful scrutiny by civil society and the country's democratic institutions. Click here to read the entire report.

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