China's Involvement in Africa: New Approaches of Solidarity in Economic and Development Policies or Just South-South Rhetoric?

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Nina ULBRICH , Social Sciences: Graduate School Global Social Policies and Governance, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
The increasing Chinese activities in African countries are often stated as different or competing against Western approaches of development aid and economic relations. Not only regarding quantity but also quality, the Chinese involvement seems to develop specific patterns of a development model, for example the principle of non-interference. This paper analyses Chinese conceptions of economic and development policies towards African states. By putting these policies and their implications in the context of historical structures and social relations of forces, the asymmetrical power relations, the counter-hegemonic potentials as well as the interests and strategies of the stakeholders involved within this "third way" between (Post)Washington Consensus and South-South-Cooperation can be identified.

However, there has not been much research on African perspectives on characteristics and patterns of Chinese involvement. Therefore, in its second part, the paper focuses on the perception of Chinese activities in Ghana and the impact on local developing role models. Being the "darling" of Western donors and simultaneously experiencing a rapidly increasing Chinese involvement on different levels of its society, Ghana presents a crucial case study with conflicting constellations of interests. According to (neo)gramscian concepts of hegemony, a sustainable impact on the local development model, manifested in reciprocally combined elements of institutions, ideas and material capabilities, must include aspects of consent (considering the specific background of the Ghanaian society by including theoretical perspectives of peripheral statehood and postcolonial approaches). Do Chinese stakeholders accomplish a broadly-based consent on their activities and therefore establish patterns of a „different“ development model in Ghana? Does the Ghanaian civil society perceive them as an alternative to the dominant (Post)Washington Consensus? Following a qualitative mixed-methods design, combining expert interviews, media analysis, and secondary analysis, the findings of three core areas of the Chinese economic and social activities will be presented and compared: construction, mining and trade.