China's baby steps in Africa: A historical reckoning of Chinese relations with mozambique and Sudan until 2011

Document Type

Journal Article


African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific


School of Arts and Humanities




Originally published as:

Robinson, D., & Hale, B. (2017). China's baby steps in Africa: A Historical reckoning of Chinese relations with Mozambique and Sudan until 2011. Australasian Review of African Studies, 38(2), 34-60. doi:10.22160/22035184/ARAS-2017-38-2/34-60

Original article available here.


China's presence in Africa has grown rapidly over the past two decades, as Africa's oil and minerals have become increasingly important for China's resource-hungry economy. China's network of relations with developing states began its expansion during the 1990s, and by the early Twenty First Century had become an increasing cause for concern amongst Western commentators. Critics of Chinese influence in Africa argue that China's economic relations are self-serving, and that their actions might detrimentally affect progress for democratisation, human rights, and sustainable development in Africa. Others argue that, in fact, Chinese policies aim to create long-term stability and development in African nations, on a mutually beneficial basis. This article will assess Chinese policies as implemented in the period up to 2011, in the two African nations of Sudan and Mozambique. Criticisms of Chinese relations with Africa will be considered, which commonly include that those relationships will hurt African economies, encourage corruption and authoritarianism, and threaten the security of African civilians. This article concludes that there is some truth to each of these criticisms, but that the reality is more complex, varies substantially from case to case, and does not preclude positive outcomes from these growing relations. © 2017 African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific.



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