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Into Africa - FDI with chinese characteristics

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China’s FDI to Africa has drawn much attention recently, partially because of the high profile China has given it, and partially because of the political and economic effects it is having on Africa. This paper begins by outlining the political context which is needed to understand Chinese outward FDI, namely the introduction of the "open door” policy and, more particularly, its policy towards Africa. The paper then goes on to give an overview of Chinese FDI in Africa. The paper then turns to ask the question: Is Chinese FDI developmental? To answer this question, it examines the notion of development and argues that much of the "western FDI” debate is severely limited in as far as it concentrates on income poverty and ignores other aspects of multidimensional poverty. After giving an overview of China’s involvement in Africa, the paper turns to four case studies of Chinese FDI, examining the developmental impacts on a variety of dimensions (as far as is possible) of different types of FDI in different regimes, namely resource seeking and manufacturing in Zambia, an infrastructure project in Botswana and construction/tourism in Sierra Leone. It warns against generalising from these cases, but suggests that the developmental effects so far have been limited.

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Andrew Crabtree

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