From Royal African Society website:
What passes for the conventional wisdom emanating from Western capitols these days portrays the emergence of China as a major economic and diplomatic force on the African continent that is having a detrimental impact on the prospects for good governance there. China’s ‘no conditions’ foreign policy has in short order won it friends of all political stripes across a region long weary of being preached to by earnest Westerners and, in so doing, threatened to dislodge a carefully crafted governance and transparency agenda. With easy credit seemingly available to all takers, there is a rush by African heads of state to attract the Chinese package of soft loans, investment capital and technical expertise to their countries and a concomitant reluctance to take up traditional Western-backed development finance with its ‘conditionalities’. The result, so they say, is that responsible African governments, alongside their more notorious confreres in pariah states, are being tempted away from introducing policies that embed accountability in everyday practice in favour of the ‘no strings attached’ loans from Beijing. [Full Text]
Chris Alden is a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of China in Africa (London: Zed 2007).