Can the West learn from the way China works in Africa?

By | April 19, 2010

Deborah Brautigam thinks so. And she should know, since she recently wrote a book on China in Africa, titled The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa. She said this in an interview with the Aid Watch blog:

As a donor, China’s way has several advantages. Take the way they operate. They rarely “poach” skilled staff from African ministries to work in their own offices. The focus on turnkey infrastructure projects is far simpler and doesn’t overstretch the weak capacity of many African governments faced with multiple meetings, quarterly reports, workshops, and so on. Their experts don’t cost much. In addition, their emphasis on local ownership is genuine, even if it leads to projects like a new government office building, a sports stadium, or a conference center. They understand something very fundamental about state-building — something that Pierre L’Enfant understood in 1791 when he teamed up with George Washington in newly independent America:  new states need to build buildings and dignity, not simply strive to end poverty.

Read the full interview here. I also learnt from Aid Watch that she now writes a new blog, China in Africa: The real story. The blog tells readers to, ‘Stay tuned for analysis of China’s “land grabs” in Africa, the China International Fund in Guinea and Zimbabwe, and so on.’

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