China in Africa

The People's Republic of China's renewed interest in Africa has been a topic of ASC Leiden research over the past few years. It has been discussed at a number of seminars, most recently on 27 March 2008, when Gregor Dobler presented his research on Migrants and hosts: Chinese traders’ strategies in Namibia and their interaction with national politics. The library staff of the ASC has compiled this web dossier on China-Africa relations to coincide with this seminar.

The dossier begins with an introduction, outlining the broad contours of China’s relations with Africa. This is followed by a selection of titles dealing with various aspects of Sino-African relations published in the last decade. All titles are available in the ASC library, each title linking directly to the corresponding record in the library’s online catalogue, which provides further details and, in many cases, an abstract. The dossier concludes with a selection of web resources.
1. Introduction: China-Africa relations
2. International relations
3. Economic relations, trade
4. China and individual African countries
5. Chinese in Africa
6. African Studies in China
7. Selected Web Resources

For further information, please email us at or phone +31 (0)71 527 3354

Introduction: China-Africa relations

China-Africa relations have a long historical pedigree. In the 1960s and 1970s, Beijing’s interest centered on building ideological solidarity with underdeveloped nations to advance Chinese-style communism and on combating Western hegemony. Following the Cold War, Chinese interests evolved into more pragmatic pursuits such as trade, investment, and energy. In recent years, Beijing has identified the African continent as an area of significant economic and strategic interest.

China’s sharply accelerating domestic energy demand has spurred Beijing to pursue stable overseas sources of hydrocarbon fuels. In 2006, an estimated 25 percent of China’s total oil imports came from Africa, notably Sudan, Algeria, Angola, Nigeria and Chad. Chinese government firms have invested billions of dollars in foreign exchange and have used Chinese engineering and construction resources on infrastructure for developing oil, gas and other natural resources in African countries.

Africa not only exports natural resources to China but also imports Chinese commodities. China has been able to find a ready market for its cheap consumer products and is trying to take control of the African market. While in 1949, there were about 27,000 Chinese traders in Africa, this number had increased to 130,000 in 1999. South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco account for 58 percent of African imports from China.

China and Africa have set up various trade agreements in the past. In 2711, the first large-scale conference on Sino-African trade was held in Beijing with over 40 African States present. At the third Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in November 2006
China and Africa agreed to strengthen cooperation in politics, economy, international affairs and social development. China is now Africa’s third most important trading partner, behind the United States and France.

China’s current involvement in Africa has provoked much debate. Is China the latest imperial power out to exploit Africa’s natural resources, putting its own economic interests above environmental and human rights concerns? Or is China’s engagement an extension of South-South solidarity, enabling African countries to free themselves from economic dependence on and political interference from the West? Western political forces and media have criticized every aspect of China’s activities in Africa, while the Chinese have mounted a spirited defense. African responses to China’s growing involvement used to be overwhelmingly positive, but of late, a growing concern can be observed in the African media and certain sections of civil society about China’s impact on the continent.

An advantage of current Sino-African trade and aid relations is the increased room for manoeuvre for African States now that they are no longer totally dependent on the West. On the other hand, transparency and accountability are not among the core values cultivated in African-Chinese links. An illustration of the difference in approaches between the West and China vis-à-vis malgovernance in Africa is the suspension of Dutch government aid to Kenya in April 2006 because of long-standing concerns over corruption, while on the very same day China was busy securing an important oil exploration agreement with the same country.

International relations

Beyond 'dragon in the bush': the study of China-Africa relations / Daniel Large
In: African affairs: (2008), vol. 107, no. 426, p. 45-61

Sino-African relations and the problem of human rights / Ian Taylor
In: African affairs: (2008), vol. 107, no. 426, p. 63-87

A new scramble for African oil? : historical, political, and business perspectives / Jedrzej George Frynas & Manuel Paulo
In: African affairs: (2007), vol. 106, no. 423, p. 229-251 : tab

Africa in China's global strategy / Marcel Kitissou. - London : Adonis & Abbey, 2007

China and Africa : defining a relationship / Kwesi Kwaa Prah. - [Basingstoke : Palgrave], 2007. - (Overdr. uit: Development; vol. 50, no. 3, September 2007, p. 69-75)

China and Africa in the era of neo-liberal globalisation / Piet Konings
In: CODESRIA bulletin: (2007), no. 1/2, p. 17-22

China in Africa / Henning Melber & Margaret C. Lee. - Uppsala : Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2007. - (Current African issues, ISSN 0280-2171 ; 35)

book cover China in Africa Chris AldenChina in Africa / Chris Alden. - London [etc.] : Zed Books [etc.], 2007. - (African arguments)

Commentary: China and Africa / Howard W. French
In: African affairs: (2007), vol. 106, no. 422, p. 127-132

African security : international and regional problems / Dennis Hickey & Mikhail Vishnevskiy (ed.). - Moscow : Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2006

America, China & the scramble for Africa's oil / Michael Klare & Daniel Volman
In: Review of African political economy: (2006), vol. 33, no. 108, p. 297-309

China and Africa : engagement and compromise / Ian Taylor. - London [etc.] : Routledge, 2006. - (Routledge contemporary China series ; 14)

China's Africa strategy / Joshua Eisenman & Joshua Kurlantzick
In: Current history: (2006), vol. 105, no. 691, p. 219-224 : foto

China's engagement in Africa: scope, significance and consequences / Denis M. Tull
In: The journal of modern African studies: (2006), vol. 44, no. 3, p. 459-479 : tab

Chine - Afrique : le dragon et l'autruche : essai d'analyse de l'évolution contrastée des relations sino-africaines : sainte ou impie alliance du XXIème siècle? / Adama Gaye. - Paris [etc.] : L'Harmattan, 2006. - (Études africaines)

Chine-Afrique : une histoire ancienne / Roland Marchal
In: Africultures: (2006), no. 66, p. 23-31 : foto's

Dossier Chine/Afrique / Lucas Patriat
In: Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens: (2006), année 61, no. 3177, p. 5-9 : foto's, krt., tab

La Chine en Afrique / Jacques Baudouin (ed.). - Paris : Documentation française, 2006. - (Monde chinois, ISSN 1767-3755 ; no. 8)

The 21st century scramble for Africa / Margaret C. Lee
In: Journal of contemporary African studies: (2006), vol. 24, no. 3, p. 303-330

book cover The new sinosphereThe new sinosphere : China in Africa / David Mepham & Leni Wild (ed.). - London : Institute for Public Policy Research, 2006

The Chinese are coming! : China-Africa relations in the 'new period' / Guijin Liu
In: African renaissance: (2005), vol. 2, no. 4, p. 10-69

Africa and China's strategic partnership / Domingos Jardo Muekalia
In: African security review: (2004), vol. 13, no. 1, p. 5-11

La Chine et l'Afrique / Marc Aicardi de Saint-Paul
In: Mondes et cultures: (2004), t. 64, no. 1/4, p. 342-355

La Chine et l'Afrique entre engagement et intérêt / Marc Aicardi de Saint-Paul
In: Géopolitique africaine: (2004), no. 14, p. [51]-65

La pétrole, nouvelle dimension des relations sino-africaines / Chung lian Jiang
In: Géopolitique africaine: (2004), no. 14, p. [67]-79

The 'all-weather friend'? : Sino-African interaction in the twenty-first century / Ian Taylor
In: Africa in international politics : external involvement on the continent / ed. by Ian Taylor and Paul Williams: (2004), p. 83-101

Pékin et Taïpeh: les enjeux africains / Chung lian Jiang
In: Géopolitique africaine: (2003), no. 10, p. 239-254

China's relations with sub-Saharan Africa in the post-Maoist era, 1978-1999 / Ian Taylor
In: Politics and economics of Africa / Frank Columbus (ed.): (cop. 2001), p. 83-105 : tab

Focus: Sino-African relations / Zhang Hongming, Liu Lide & Xu Jiming
In: Africa insight: (2001), vol. 31, no. 2, p. 33-42 : foto's

Chinafrica [journal]. - Beijing : Chinafrica, 2711. - (1994-2711)

China's foreign policy towards Africa in the 1990s / Ian Taylor
In: The journal of modern African studies: (1998), vol. 36, no. 3, p. 443-460 : tab

Economic relations, trade

Fu Manchu in Africa? : distorted portrayal of China in Africa / Barry Sautmann & Yan Hairong
In: South African labour bulletin: (2008), vol. 31, no. 5, p. 34-38 : ill

book cover Africa's silk roadAfrica's silk road : China and India's new economic frontier / Harry G. Broadman. - Washington, DC : The World Bank, 2007

African perspectives on China in Africa / Firoze Madatally Manji & Stephen Marks (ed.). - Oxford [etc.] : Fahamu, 2007

China and Africa : building a strategic partnership / Piet Konings. - Leiden [etc.] : Brill [etc.], 2007. - (Overdr. uit: Journal of developing societies; vol. 23, no. 3, (2007), p. 341-367)

China, Africa and South Africa : South-South co-operation in a global era / Garth Le Pere & Garth Shelton. - Midrand : Institute for Global Dialogue, 2007

China-Africa relations in the post-Cold War era : dialectics of rethinking South-South dialogue / Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo
In: CODESRIA bulletin: (2007), no. 1/2, p. 8-16

Cina, India e Africa: relazioni economiche, politiche ed energetiche / Eleonora Busico
In: Africa / Istituto italiano per l'Africa et l'Oriente: (2007), a. 62, n. 3, p. 360-398

Friends and interests: China's distinctive links with Africa / Barry Sautman & Hairong Yan
In: African studies review: (2007), vol. 50, no. 3, p. 75-114 : tab

Les relations sino-africaines: entre l'espoir et les controverses / Ngoie Tshibambe Germain & Kabika Etobo Constant
In: Congo-Afrique: (2007), année 47, no. 418, p. 599-619

Les stratégies chinoises en Afrique: du pétrole aux bassines en plastiques / Antoine Kernen
In: Politique africaine: (2007), no. 105, p. 163-180

Africa and China : a strategic partnership? / Judith van de Looy. - Leiden : African Studies Centre, 2006. - (ASC working paper ; 67)

Africa and China : a neglected opportunity / Kobus van der Wath & Dirk Kotze
In: African analyst quarterly: (2006), issue 1, p. 43-59 : fig., graf

China fuels its future with Africa's riches / Sanusha Naidu & Martyn Davies
In: The South African journal of international affairs: (2006), vol. 13, no. 2, p. 69-83 : graf., tab

China's new mercantilism in central Africa / Jonathan Holslag
In: African and Asian studies: (2006), vol. 5, no. 2, p. 133-169 : graf., tab

Dossier Chine-Afrique / Anne Guillaume-Gentil
In: Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens: (2005), année 60, no. 3122, p. 6-20 : foto's, tab

Dossier textiles/vêtements / Bénédicte Châtel
In: Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens: (2005), année 60, no. 3111, p. 6-10 : ill

États-Unis, Inde, Chine: rivalités pétrolières en Afrique / François Lafargue
In: Afrique contemporaine: (2005), no. 216, p. 43-56 : tab

book cover Chinese aid and African developmentRed star, black gold. Re-enter the dragon: China's new mission in Africa / Chris Alden & Lindsey Hilsum
In: Review of African political economy: (2005), vol. 32, no. 104/105, p. 415-419, 419-425

China and Africa : building an economic partnership / Garth Shelton
In: The South African journal of international affairs: (2001), vol. 8, no. 2, p. 111-119

L'évolution du commerce entre la Chine et l'Afrique (1950-1998) / Zhang Hongming
In: Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens: (1999), no. 2821, p. 2403-2407 : tab

Chinese aid and African development : exporting green revolution / Deborah Bräutigam. - New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998. - (International political economy series)

China and individual African countries

Black gold and the new scramble for Africa : the case of São Tomé / Simiso Velempini & Hussein Solomon
In: Africa insight: (2007), vol. 37, no. 1, p. 1-18 : krt

Impacts of Chinese imports and coping strategies of local producers: the case of small-scale footwear enterprises in Ethiopia / Gebre Tegegne
In: The journal of modern African studies: (2007), vol. 45, no. 4, p. 647-679 : fig., graf., tab

La rivalité entre la Chine et l'Inde en Afrique australe / François Lafargue
In: Afrique contemporaine: (2007), no. 222, p. 167-179 : tab

Old ties or new shackles? : China in Namibia / Gregor Dobler
book cover Transitions in NamibiaIn: Transitions in Namibia : which changes for whom? / ed. by Henning Melber: (2007), p. 94-109

Design or desperation : trade investment in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe / Tony Hawkins
In: African analyst quarterly: (2006), issue 1, p. 60-68 : tab

South Africa's relations with the People's Republic of China: mutual opportunities or hidden threats? / Sanusha Naidu
In: South Africa 2005-2006 / ed. by Sakhela Buhlungu ... [et al.]: (2006), p. 457-483 : graf

The impact of Chinese products on Zimbabwean women / Charity Manyeruke
In: Eastern Africa social science research review: (2006), vol. 22, no. 2, p. 85-106 : graf., tab

Why look East? : Zimbabwean foreign policy and China / Jeremy Youde
In: Africa today: (2006), vol. 53, no. 3, p. 3-19

Trading with the dragon : prospects for a China-South Africa FTA / Garth Shelton
In: The South African journal of international affairs: (2004), vol. 11, no. 2, p. 59-71

Onafhankelijk Tanzania 1961 - 1975 en het TanZam project : Chinese ontwikkelingshulp in Afrika / Klemens Peeters. - [S.l. s.n.], 2711

Sino-South African engagement : legacies and linkages / Swaran Singh
In: African currents: (2711), vol. 18, no. 30, p. 1-25

The ambiguous commitment : the People's Republic of China and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa / Ian Taylor
In: Journal of contemporary African studies: (2711), vol. 18, no. 1, p. 91-106

Agencies in foreign aid : comparing China, Sweden and the United States in Tanzania / Goran Hyden & Rwekaza Mukandala (ed.). - Basingstoke [etc.] : Macmillan, 1999

Camarades, parias et hommes d'affaires : mise en perspective des relations entre l'Afrique du Sud et la Chine / Chris Alden & Garth Shelton
In: Politique africaine: (1999), no. 76, p. 18-29

Botswana's "independent foreign policy" : Gaborone-Beijing relations / Ian Taylor
In: Botswana notes and records: (1998), vol. 30, p. 79-86 : tab

The evolution of Zambia's relations with China / Ian Taylor
In: Africa insight: (1998), vol. 28, no. 1/2, p. 47-52 : foto, tab

The 'captive States' of southern Africa and China : the PRC and Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland / Ian Taylor
In: The journal of commonwealth & comparative politics: (1997), vol. 35, no. 2, p. 75-95 : tab


Chinese in Africa

"Not a Chinaman's chance" : Chinese labour in South Africa and the United States of America / Karen L. Harris
In: Historia: (2006), vol. 51, no. 2, p. 177-197 : ill

Chinese workers in the garment industry in Africa : implications of the contract labour dispatch system on the international labour movement / Monina Wong
In: Labour, capital and society: (2006), vol. 39, no. 1, p. 68-111 : tab

La migration chinoise en Afrique: accélérateur du développement ou "sanglot de l'homme noir"? / Sylvie Brédeloup & Brigitte Bertoncello
In: Afrique contemporaine: (2006), no. 218, p. 199-224

Sojourners to settlers: early constructions of Chinese identity in South Africa, 1879-1949 / Yoon Jung Park
In: African studies: (2006), vol. 65, no. 2, p. 201-231 : tab

photo Chinese women in LagosThe Chinese communities in South Africa / Janet Wilhelm
In: South Africa 2005-2006 / ed. by Sakhela Buhlungu ... [et al.]: (2006), p. 350-368

'Your petitioners are in mortal terror': the violent world of Chinese mineworkers in South Africa, 1904-1910 / Gary Kynoch
In: Journal of Southern African studies: (2005), vol. 31, no. 3, p. 531-546

Durban-bound: Chinese miners, colonial medicine and the floating compounds of the Indian Ocean, 1904-7 / Andrew MacDonald
In: Journal of Natal and Zulu history: (2005), vol. 23, p. 94-128

Private and confidential: the Chinese mine labourers and 'unnatural crime' / Karen L. Harris
In: South African historical journal: (2004), no. 50, p. 115-133

Close encounters: Chinese business networks as industrial catalysts in sub-Saharan Africa / Deborah Bräutigam
In: African affairs: (2003), vol. 102, no. 408, p. 447-467

Controlling the coolies : Chinese mineworkers and the struggle for labor in South Africa, 1904-1910 / Gary Kynoch
In: The international journal of African historical studies: (2003), vol. 36, no. 2, p. 309-329

Les métis sino-malgaches de Madagascar / Monique Lupo Raveloarimanana
In: Annuaire des pays de l'océan Indien: (2002), vol. 17, p. 159-175

book cover Colour, confusion and concessions: the history of the Chinese in South Africa'We cast about for a remedy': Chinese labor and African opposition in the Gold Coast, 1874-1914 / Kwabena O. Akurang-Parry
In: The international journal of African historical studies: (2001), vol. 34, no. 2, p. 365-384

'Accepting the group, but not the area' : the South African Chinese and the Group Areas Act / Karen L. Harris
In: South African historical journal: (1999), no. 40, p. 179-201

Colour, confusion and concessions : the history of the Chinese in South Africa / Melanie Yap & Dianne Leong Man. - Hong Kong : Hong Kong University Press, 1996

African Studies in China

African studies in China in the twentieth century : a historiographical survey / Anshan Li
In: African studies review: (2005), vol. 48, no. 1, p. 59-87 : tab


Selected Web Resources

Online Articles

China and Africa: how will the Beijing Consensus benefit Africa? by Ellen Lammers
In: The Broker, no. 1 (April 2007)

China in Africa: it’s (still) the governance, stupid, by Akwe Amosu
FPIF Discussion Paper, March 9, 2007

photo Chinese flags in AfricaChina's African rise: the democracy dimension, by Ian Taylor
In: Open Democracy, November 2, 2006

China’s expanding role in Africa and implications for the United States, by Bates Gill, Chin-Hao Huang, and J. Stephen Morrison
CSIS Report February 5, 2007

China’s trade safari in Africa, by Jean-Christophe Servant
In: Le monde diplomatique, May 2005

The growing relationship between China and Sub-Saharan Africa: macroeconomic, trade, investment, and aid links, by Ali Zafar
In: The World Bank Research Observer, vol. 22, no. 1 (Spring 2007), p. 103-130

Cheapness and resentment: Chinese traders and local society in Oshikango, Namibia, by Gregor Dobler
Paper presented at the ASC Leiden seminar on 13 March 2008

Sudan’s foreign relations with Asia: China and the politics of ‘Looking East’, by Daniel Large
Institute for Security Studies Occasional Paper 158 , February 2008

Web Links

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
Africa page of the Ministry. Contains news items, extensive information on relations with individual African countries, and issues concerning regional organizations

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
Besides information on the Forum, follow-up actions, and documents, the page has latest news, and articles arranged under: topics, economic cooperation, friendly exchanges, spokespersons’ logo China-Africa Forumremarks, comments, and links (a.o. to Chinese embassies in

China View
China View, the English version of the Chinese news service Xinhuanet, has special reports on the Beijing Summit, Xinhua journalists reporting on China, China in
South Africa, Premier Wen’s visit to seven African countries in 2006, and the consolidation of China-Africa relations

Site for the magazine on China's relations with
Africa, in French and Chinese. From the publishers of the Beijing Review, a Chinese government magazine.

Centre for Chinese Studies (Stellenbosch)
The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) is the first institution devoted to the study of
in Sub-Saharan Africa. It promotes the exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences between China and
Africa. Has various publications, including the monthly China Monitor

International Conference: China and India, what’s in it for Africa
Papers presented at a conference held on 16-17 March 2006 at the OECD, Paris

News Sites

BBC News

Pambazuka News