The most significant factor that has changed perceptions about Africa’s place in the world has been the flurry of activities surrounding the increasing engagement of emerging powers in the continent. South Africa, China, India, Brazil and Russia are today formidable actors in Africa, competing and co-operating with and sometimes superseding relations with traditional regional and international partners, across almost every sphere of external engagement.
The Global Powers and Africa (GPA) programme focuses on emerging global players as well as the advanced industrial powers such as the EU, Japan and the US, and assesses their engagement with African countries. Since 2006, our flagship research on China and Africa continues to be supported under this program; with the objective of understanding the motives and institutional structures guiding China’s Africa policy. Framing these within the broader needs of African development and the changing African policy, economic and social landscapes form a key focus of our original research.
In this context we are undertaking and supporting research on other emerging countries, as well as South-South and North-South dialogue, to assist policymaking that will deliver good, transparent governance and sustainable development on the continent.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 134, January 2013
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 131, January 2013
(Portuguese) China’s rising position in African affairs, from that of quiescence to open activism at the centre stage of events, is changing the dynamics of the international system. Since the onset of the domestic reform process starting in 1978, Maoist faith and revolutionary altruism have given way to the consciously self-interested commercial entrepreneurs and advocates of forms of market capitalism. The emergence of China as Africa’s top trading partner and leading source of foreign direct investment in 2009, surpassing the United States and key European Union states still struggling in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, has sharpened the focus on Chinese aspiration and conduct in Africa. Two-way trade is surging, from just over $1 billion in 2000 to US$155 billion in 2010. African leaders have recognized, perhaps belatedly in some cases, the necessity of closer ties with the rising economic giant, calling for a concerted effort to better understand and utilize the opportunities presented by China.