The Chinese Presence in Africa: A Learning Process

The Chinese Presence in Africa : A Learning Process. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs : China Aktuell. Vol. 44, n° 1 (2015). URL : (consulté le 31 mars 2015)
[Introduction par Karsten Giese]
When we talk about “China in Africa”, we should always remember to differentiate between the various actors and scales that are toooften conflated and hidden behind such large and all-encompassing labels like “China” or “Africa”. Common containers and the homogenizing of diversity seldom help to broaden our knowledge ordeepen our understanding of the variousphenomena which can be observed at the various scales of the multiple relationships that haveevolved between this East Asian country and the African continent. Moreover, it is necessary to specify the point in time or particularperiod we are covering in our scholarly work and that from which wedraw our conclusions. Quite a few of the publications addressing China–Africa relations have succumbed to broad  generalizations,neglected diversity and specificity and overlooked the temporal dimension. The last couple of years, however, have seen the emergenceof a growing body of well-informed case studies on the Chinese presence across the African  continent that stress the particularity and the situatedness of Chinese–African encounters and interactions in Africa. We now can rely on thick descriptions of various Chinese actors’ realities on the ground in Africa that more often than not defy and counter longstanding and still very common stereotypes, such as that of China’s grand strategy in the scramble for Africa or of the generally exploitative and belligerent character of Chinese economic endeavours across the African continent.

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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