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The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Deborah Brautigam

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20. Juni 2011
Is China a rogue donor, as some media pundits suggest? Or is China helping the developing world pave a pathway out of poverty, as the Chinese claim? In the last few years, China's aid program has leapt out of the shadows. Media reports about huge aid packages, support for pariah regimes, regiments of Chinese labor, and the ruthless exploitation of workers and natural resources in some of the poorest countries in the world sparked fierce debates. These debates, however, took place with very few hard facts. China's tradition of secrecy about its aid fueled rumors and speculation, making it difficult to gauge the risks and opportunities provided by China's growing embrace. This well-timed book, by one of the world's leading experts, provides the first comprehensive account of China's aid and economic cooperation overseas. Deborah Brautigam tackles the myths and realities, explaining what the Chinese are doing, how they do it, how much aid they give, and how it all fits into their "going global" strategy. Drawing on three decades of experience in China and Africa, and hundreds of interviews in Africa, China, Europe and the US, Brautigam shines new light on a topic of great interest. China has ended poverty for hundreds of millions of its own citizens. Will Chinese engagement benefit Africa? Using hard data and a series of vivid stories ranging across agriculture, industry, natural resources, and governance, Brautigam's fascinating book provides an answer. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with China's rise, and what it might mean for the challenge of ending poverty in Africa.

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The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa + China Into Africa: Trade, Aid, and Influence + China's New Role in Africa
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Deborah Brautigam has produced a superbly written and exquisitely researched book on a hotly debated topic ... The book is particularly strong on addressing the question of what the Chinese are doing in their new wave of aid and economic cooperation across Africa. Jane Golley, The Economic Record

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Deborah Brautigam is the author of Chinese Aid and African Development (1998), Aid Dependence and Governance (2000), and co-editor of Taxation and State-Building in Developing Countries (2008). A long-time observer of Asia and Africa, she has lived in China, West Africa, and Southern Africa, and travelled extensively across both regions as a Fulbright researcher and consultant for the World Bank, the UN, and other development agencies. She is a professor in the International Development Program at American University's School of International Service in Washington, DC.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  19 Rezensionen
29 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A useful analysis of China's aid and investment in Africa. 7. Mai 2010
Von Graham - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
China is often taciturn about the real size and scope of its projects in Africa, so this topic has suffered from much confusion and often from inflated (or guessed) numbers. Prof. Brautigam aims to describe and analyze the real Chinese aid picture, using both anecdotal data obtained from many personal visits to Chinese development projects in Africa and also statistical data obtained through carefully digging into the real numbers behind the headlines.

Although she notes some concerns, Brautigam is on balance fairly positive on China's role, especially in its emphasis on practicalities. I learned many things, including:

* China explicitly declares that its programs are aiming for "mutual benefits" and "win-win" rather than simply dispensing charity. For example, projects may be directly profitable, or they may foster Chinese trade. Interestingly, this peer-peer style is often popular with recipients.

* The main Chinese focus is on fostering economic development (in infrastructure, agriculture, or industry) as the path to a better future, rather than on relieving today's symptoms.

* China is consciously reusing strategies that seemed to work in developing China itself. For example, in the 1950s Japan provided China with development loans and technology tied to specific projects, and was repaid with the products of the resulting Chinese factory or mine. China perceives this as a key "win-win" strategy for development.

* China emphasizes "no strings" and non-interference in countries internal affairs. However a key goal, especially in earlier years, was building up support for the PRC against Taiwan. Aid would only be given to those countries that recognized Beijing as the sole government of China. While China's "no strings" policies might appear to tolerate dictatorships and corruption, Brautigam observes that in practice the West's actions are not so very different: despite all the hopeful talk of "conditionality", much Western aid, investment and military hardware still flows to extremely unpleasant regimes.

* China provides some humanitarian aid, notably medical teams and post-disaster assistance. But this is relatively modest. Brautigam believes Chinese non-commercial aid to Africa is still only a small fraction of Western aid.

* Chinese workers (including technical experts) work relatively cheaply and typically live at close to local living standards. This is perceived as very different from the highly paid and expensively supplied Western experts.

* China's engagements are often weak on environmental issues, and on social and human rights issues. This is improving, but slowly. China tends to assume that its own internal strategy of putting development first is still the right one.

* There has been a great deal of misreporting of Chinese aid figures in Western media. This is partly because China is taciturn and partly because it uses different measurement criteria. For example, if China makes a below-market-rate loan, it only treats the reduction in interest payments as "aid", whereas a Western government treats the whole loan amount as "aid". (I think I prefer the Chinese methodology here.) But there is also enormous media confusion between (a) true non-commercial "aid" (b) subsidized "aid" loans for commercial projects (c) business loans on normal commercial terms, and (d) commercial business China does in Africa, sometimes paid for by another donor country. For all these categories, Brautigam tries to extract and compare true apples-to-apples Chinese and Western numbers.

* China is consciously trying to move its mature industries offshore. For example, the Chinese government is providing financial incentives for moving textile manufacturing out of China. (Fascinating!)

These brief notes only touch the tip of the iceberg: there is much more of interest in the book.

In general, I'd recommend this as very useful reading for anyone interested in either African development or China's foreign policy. My one caution would be that it is not light reading: Brautigam provides reams of detail and many carefully analyzed statistics. This is all useful, but can occasionally be slow going.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A view of China in Africa by an expert in both 1. Dezember 2011
Von Edward Waffle - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
The People's Republic of China do a lot right in their dealing with the developing states of Africa. When investing in a country or granting aid the Chinese don't make political demands; they don't insist the recipient nation reform its economy to better pay bondholders; they stay for as long is necessary to get a project running and hand it over to the Africans, always ready to return if necessary. The Chinese build what African nations want--a railroad, a stadium, an office building for the Foreign Ministry--these are they types of "wasteful" projects that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank won't even consider. And commercial banks won't fund a project without the imprimatur of those transnational financial giants.

Technicians and executives from China work alongside their African counterparts. They live simply and frugally, often in barracks that they construct upon arrival. Managers and workers from the global North generally live in separate compounds, luxurious by African (or Chinese) standards and tend to supervise from afar--or at least as far as possible.

The Chinese are trusted because they aren't a former colonial power--indeed they can claim to be "post-colonial" themselves. They listen to what Africans want, even if those they are listening to are autocratic dictators. The Chinese drive hard bargains but do so in a businesslike fashion.

The future of Africa may well be in the East--the efforts of the United States and Western Europe have done little even after pouring billions of dollars in aid, debt cancellation and low interest loans into the same area.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The best book on the subject 11. Juni 2011
Von Tiger CK - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The Dragon's Gift is an insightful, deeply researched and keenly argued look at China's growing economic involvement in Africa. The author, a professor at American University, made numerous visits to China and Africa in the course of writing this book, conducting interviews with key officials and businessmen. The result is a book that runs circles around other books on the subject. The level of sophistication and analysis here is vastly superior to China's Africa Safari and other more sensational works looking at China's economic relationship with the African continent.

Brautigam does an excellent job of demonstrating both the truths and fictions underlying Chinese aid in Africa. She generally argues that while Western countries have raised some legitimate questions about Beijing's policies, they have, for the most part, exaggerated the negative consequences of the PRC's growing presence on the continent. In fact, many of the strategies that China uses to promote trade and investment in Africa were first practiced in China by Japan and the West. Moreover, she finds high levels of hypocrisy in the complaints lodged against China by the World Bank and other institutions that have invested in the same countries that they criticize China for supporting.

The first two chapters of the Dragon's Gift cover the history of Chinese involvement in Africa, examining some of the early aid programs that the PRC launched on the African continent during the 1960s and 1970s. The author then looks at the various kinds of assistance that China has offered and the impact that these forms of assistance are having on the ground.

The only reason that I have docked this book one star is that it at times is slightly inaccessible to general readers. The financial mechanisms that China uses to promote trade and investment in Africa are diverse and often extremely complicated. As a highly educated reader without a deep background in international trade or political economy, I felt that there were instances where Brautigam could have done a better job of explaining certain types of investment and trade policy to general readers. Despite this flaw, I still got much out of reading the book.
19 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent analysis 26. Januar 2010
Von Paul Colombini - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Deborah Brautigam's new book, "The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa", presents both a well-researched and unbiased account of Chinese involvement in Africa, as well as useful re-examination of foreign aid in general. The author's 20+ years studying the subject lend her analysis a rigorous academic depth lacking in many studies of Chinese aid, while her personal interviews with top Chinese and African officials, as well as local African business people, provide insightful perspectives likewise not found in many sources. Moreover, Brautigam's fluid narrative style and overviews of economic development, which she weaves into the beginning chapters, make the book equally accessible to seasoned development practitioners and students alike. In short, "The Dragon's Gift" is absolutely a must read for anyone interested in the subject of Chinese aid to Africa, and also forms a useful text for understanding the historical context and shifting role of foreign aid in Africa at the dawn of the 21st century.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent - 3. August 2011
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
China has had an aid program since the 1950s; Egypt was the first African recipient of Chinese aid in 1956. Recent remarks by African Ministers report a need for Chinese aid because it is increasingly difficult to get assistance from traditional donors. Author Brautigam argues traditional donors too often focus on negative aspects of Chinese aid (influx of Chinese products and Chinese laborers, supplying arms in exchange for oil; fear that intent is transhipment of Chinese products relabeled as 'African'), and that it offers real opportunities for development. In general, Chinese aid is more targeted, less bureaucratic, faster, and increases African nations' bargaining power vs. other donors (eg. larger joint venture shares, lower interest rates). It addressrd concerns about corruption and possible diversion by keeping the money in China as much as possible rather than transferring cash. It is also more targeted to important infrastructure projects with long maturity and long-term potential. China's development aid to Africa has rapidly increased at an average rate of 46%/year over the past decade. At the same time, Africa's exports to China have doubled, with crude oil making up about 70% of the total - mostly from Angola and Sudan.

The lion's share of aid to Africa is export credits, non-concessional state loans, or aid used to foster Chinese investment. In 2006, the Chinese government indicated it would establish up to 50 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones worldwide. (China's outward investment 2005-10 totaled $316 billion, with about 9% in the U.S., 11% in Autralia, 13% in Europe, 17% other Asia, 16% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 14% in Sub-Saharan Africa.) Of this, it is pursing six (possibly seven) economic cooperation zones in five (possibly six) African nations for 'mutual benefit.' Land concessions run from 50 to 99 years. Locations near major ports were generally favored. (Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia) Initial intent indicates an intent to help China's restructuring, allowing labor intensive, less competitive, 'mature' industries such as textile, leather goods and building materials to move offshore. This would also reduce African nations over-reliance on imports of consumer and manufactured goods. Chinese companies (some nationally-owned, others owned by municipalities, the remainder private) have taken the lead in developing these - over 120 have proposed projects, and 19 were selected.

One zone will concentrate on mineral processing, the others mainly on manufacturing. Some are 100% Chinese-owned, others joint ventures with African national or state-level governments as minority partners. The Chinese government provides support for the zone developers via grants and long-term loans. All subsidies are performance-based - the company has to first pay the costs, only later reimbursed.

China's government has taken a 'hands off' attitude towards African policies - no evidence of conditionalities. Host governments are expected to provide infrastructure outside the zones, the Chinese developers inside. Long timeframes are the expectation - past experience in China was it usually took 10-15 years before a zone 'took off,' primarily because of the immense construction work and the need to convince investors to set up factories in a new locale. Most of the zones plan to foster clusters; hopes are that Chinese companies will make up 70 - 80% of the enterprises. In general, Chinese workers are limited to a proportion of local labor - eg. 60%.

China's experience with development zones was that initially it was happy to just get the investments; now it requires technology and R&D transfer. No agreements have been reached regarding these African zones. Regardless, in the near term Chinese zone developers are anticipated to bring future-oriented design, high-standard infrastructure, and world-class professional management to the areas.

Author Brautigam also address China myths and partial truths. 1)China gives money to almost every country in Sub-Saharan Africa, even those that don't acknowledge the One China policy. There is little evidence that it gives more aid to nations with more natural resources or targets countries with worse governance. The World Bank's database, supplemented by additional research, reveals that only 7 African countries have used large, natural resource-backed lines of credit from China for infrastructure projects not directly connected to the exploitation of those resources. 2)Chinese workers and managers in Africa live in extremely simple conditions, contrary to Western advisers. 3)China has flouted social and environmental standards, but is improving. It now uses either its own standards or those of the host nation. 4)Funds from China are frequently far below media reports - eg. reports about Chinese loans in Nigeria mention figures of $5 billion or more, China only provided $589 million between 2000 and 2009. China's reluctance to release foreign aid data helps create such confusion.

China has also earmarked $5 billion for investment in African farming, causing some alarm. Resentment has also been created by Chinese traders - halving the cost of chicken, reducing cabbage prices by 65% in Soweto markets. Others resent Chinese-run textile factories paying salaries of about $200/month - more than in China but less than the local minimum wage.

Summarizing, Brautigam believes there is little that China is doing, good or bad, that has not also been done by Europeans, Americans, Japanese, or Russians. Secondly, most of the sins in Africa are committed by African governments themselves.
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