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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: March 2012

9 - Trilateral Relations among Africa, China and Europe: A Chinese Perspective

from Part Two - Power Shifts, Regional Experiences and Global Challenges



Europe has long history of engagement with Africa after the Second World War and invested hugely politically and economically on the continent. China has also been engaging for decades with African countries, but the present Chinese approach to Africa shows its nuance, with more and more priorities in economic domain. The new Chinese engagement with Africa, especially its focus on resource extraction and non-interference principle that relates to the governance issue of Africa, has been raising serious concerns in European capitals.

This chapter is an attempt to analyse the trilateral relations among Africa, China and Europe, with Sino-European relations as a starting point. The chapter begins with an analysis on the dualities and thus also complexity of China, relevant to the trilateral relations. Secondly, I will describe the static and dynamic features of the trilateral relations. Thirdly, I will discuss the ideological background of the Chinese and European approaches to Africa. Fourthly, I focus on the Chinese engagement, with particular reference on the motivations and attractiveness of China in Africa. Fifthly, I will make a contrast between the Chinese and European approaches to Africa, in the dichotomy of good governance vs. effective governance. In conclusion, I argue that though on the surface the Chinese and European approaches to Africa show the contradiction between each other, they in fact can be complementary to a certain extent, and more coordination and cooperation are needed in this area.