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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Learning by Doing: China–Africa Co-operation and State Learning

  Luke Simon Jordan
SAIIA Policy Insights No 29, November 2015

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Foreign Policy Programme

The view that ‘Africa should learn from China’s development’ has been expressed throughout Africa, from the chairperson of the AU through senior government officials to analysts, scholars and ordinary citizens. China’s 40-fold increase in GDP and its lifting of 500 million people out of poverty in the last 35 years are reason enough, but China has also established itself as a major presence in infrastructure development across Africa. This paper argues that for Africa to blindly adopt Chinese policies, like the development of special industrial zones, is the equivalent of importing finished goods, rather than developing the skills for production. It is not the static outcomes of Chinese policies that African countries should study, but the processes and institutions by which China devises, adapts and evolves those policies.

Author: Luke Simon Jordan