Role of China in Africa: Three Case Studies of Angola, Ethiopia and Zambia
The purpose of this paper is to explore the implications of the rapid expansion of Chinese engagement in the
African continent. This engagement is characterised by ‘trade, investment, foreign aid and government-sponsored bilateral
cooperation’ which is highly varied, politicised, and wrought with scrutiny.
It is important to stress that China’s role and its implications vary between countries due to differing socio-political,
economic and environmental contexts. Therefore, this paper will focus on three examples of China’s development
‘partnerships’: Angola, Ethiopia and Zambia. Angola will be used to analyse China’s oil-backed infrastructure projects.
Ethiopia will be explored to challenge allegations of China’s purely extractive agenda as it is a non-oil exporting
developmental state which uses Chinese ‘assistance’ to overcome problems of poverty and food insecurity. Zambia will be
used to discuss detriments of Chinese engagement.
This paper concludes Chinese engagement in Africa to be multifaceted in light of her varied ‘development partnerships’,
seen through the Angolan, Ethiopian and Zambian case studies. Sino-Ethiopian and Sino-Zambian relations particularly
highlight the varied implications of Chinese engagement. In light of domestic and international backlash particularly
regarding treatment of workers in Chinese owned factories in Zambia, the Chinese are working to sweeten perceptions with
public health investment and campaigns. This illustrates dynamism in Chinese engagement which, this paper concludes, will
sustain China’s role in Africa.
Keywords - China; Africa; Investment; Development; Assistance; Infrastructure; Resources; Trade; Agriculture;