South-South Cooperation: Actually, do the peoples of Africa think China-Africa cooperation is a win-win?

Authors: Colin Flint*, Utah State University, Madeleine Waddoups*, Utah State University
Topics: Development, China, Africa
Keywords: Development, China, Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Belt and Road Initiative
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Do countries in the global South, the apparent beneficiaries of Chinese development funds, believe that a new model of development is in the making, or do they believe China’s development practices are just the new expression of economic exploitation? The dramatic rise in China’s influence in the global economy has led to new questions about what is meant by the term “development.” Differentiating itself from Western economic development bodies and initiatives, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project is touted as a multi-faceted manifestation of a new “Chinese model of development.” One intriguing part of the rhetoric of China’s new model is the phrases “South-South cooperation” and “mutually beneficial development” that China claims to be a new form of economic relations that are counter to exploitive US-led development. But, how do leaders and opinion-makers in recipient countries view China’s development practices? We use Afrobarometer data to take a continent-wide look at African perceptions of Chinese and American development models. We then analyze data from Johns Hopkins China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) to examine Chinese loans in countries with a popular preference for either the US or Chinese model of development. Finally, the CARI data suggests focusing on two African countries: Zambia, which prefers Chinese loans, and Ghana, which prefers American loans, for a detailed qualitative analysis of the perspectives of politicians, civil society leaders, and opinion makers in these countries to extract a more precise understanding of the implications and opinions of Chinese loans in these countries.

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