Responding to China in Africa
By David Shinn and Joshua Eisenman
June 30, 2008
American and Chinese interests in Africa are different, but not substantially so. There are more areas where the two countries can cooperate for the benefit of Africans than there are issues of disagreement and potential competition. During his visit to Africa early in 2008, President George Bush acknowledged that the United States and China could pursue opportunities in Africa without increasing rivalry. He commented that he does “not view Africa as zero-sum for China and the United States” and believes both countries “can pursue agendas without creating a great sense of competition.” A few months later during a conference at Howard University in Washington on China-Africa relations, Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong said that China appreciated President Bush’s statement, adding that China and the United States need not pursue in Africa a “confrontational, or harmful rivalry, or a zero-sum game.” This paper explores the development of China’s strategy in Africa with particular attention to Beijing’s objectives and methods, while highlighting the implications of China’s approach for United States’ relations with African countries.
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