Social Policy in the Context of New Global Actors: How Far Is China's Developmental Model in Africa Impacting Traditional Donors?

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Marian URBINA-FERRETJANS , United Nations University, Japan
Rebecca SURENDER , University of Oxford, United Kingdom
China’s role as an emerging donor and its conceptualization of social policy in Africa has generated polarized reactions in the West. Many argue its ‘productivist’ approach is driven less by notions of citizenship and social rights, and more in terms of accumulation functions. Social investment is justified for broader economic development goals in contrast to current safety-net or ‘welfarist’ models of western donors. While some international organisations perceive the Chinese approach as antithetical to Western goals and practice, others welcome it as an opportunity to develop new ideas about social development.

This qualitative research explores to what extent and in which direction Chinese aid to Africa is influencing Western ideas about welfare policy in developing countries. The study comprises a systematic review of Sino-African and Western policy documents and semi-structured interviews with senior Chinese, Western and African stakeholders. It investigates how social policy is conceptualized by those involved in Chinese aid to Africa, to what extent this differs from traditional Western approaches, and what it means for Western social development policy. The implications for understanding the drivers of global policy development and links between the economic and social dimensions of welfare will be explored.