China’s economic statecraft and African mineral resources : changing modes of engagement
Alves, Ana Cristina
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
China’s impressive inroads into Africa’s resources sectors over the past decade are largely due to thetimely match between cash-loaded China in search for raw materials and a continent with a vast pool ofunderdeveloped mineral deposits, whose exploration has been hindered for decades by underinvestmentand infrastructure bottlenecks. Chinese ‘infrastructure-for-resources’ loans are ultimately a product ofthe convergence of Chinese and African interests at the dawn of the 21st century. This loan formula,swapping infrastructure for resources, came into being largely as a default strategy, inspired by China’sown domestic experience, its competitive advantages and the African receptiveness to these kinds ofbarter deals. The paper explores how China has consistently used this approach over the past decade as apositive economic statecraft tool to pursue mineral resources security goals in Africa; and how the needto adjust its approach to challenges and new opportunities on the ground has led to noticeable shiftsin recent years. It argues that, although infrastructure for resources remains an important tool to meetBeijing’s supply concerns, China’s strategies to access resource assets have become more diversified andmarket oriented, with its state-owned enterprises taking the lead and increasingly engaging in mergersand acquisitions.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Economic development::China
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