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China and New Regionalism in Africa - Conflict or Coherence?

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posted on 2021-11-14, 12:47 authored by Griffiths, Adam

What is Africa's best hope for advancing its development initiatives? Should each state seek to compete independently on the world stage? Should they seek to forge relationships with external partners and the power players in the world economy on a one-to-one basis? Or should they work together in conjunction with the economic giants of the globalised economy? Of these three possible approaches this article seeks to investigate the third. Can the African states use a regional approach to economic development whilst still engaging and benefitting from external benefactors? Or will the traditional and developing powerhouses in the world economy simply use Africa's efforts at regional integration as a way to garner favour and preferential access to African markets and resources? In the post colonial and post independence period, many African states sought to work with the former colonialists overlords in an attempt to develop their economies through a regional approach. Many of these attempts created little real benefit to the African peoples themselves. In the wake of these failed attempts at development via the perceived benefits of regional integration, new movements developed. A new approach to regionalism has appeared in the last three decades, whose hallmarks are quite different to the old approaches to regionalism. It is the intent of this article to make an empirical investigation into the progress of these new approaches to regional integration or 'the new regionalism' as it is often dubbed. I also wish to add a further element to this investigation. The 'old regionalism' traditionally featured African states seeking trade policy rationalisation/integration/development under the tutelage and patronage of the western states. However, one of key characteristics of the 'new regionalism' is that new partnerships between developing economies and the African states are emerging. These partnerships have the ability to either greatly help the African states in the path to development through regional integration, or they may hinder and derail these attempts. To this end I wish to investigate the greatest 'developing' economy in the world and its impact on Africa's regionalisation projects. I am referring here to China. China has shown interest in Africa as a continent that has huge potential and as one that can provide great benefit to China's rapid economic growth and expansion. To this end it seems particularly relevant to investigate how China seeks to expand its ties and increase its presence in the area. As both Africa and China can be seen as 'developing', albeit both at very different levels, it should be particularly interesting to see how these two geographical and demographic juggernauts work together in the pursuit of their own developments ...


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Industrial Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of International Relations

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Shilliam, Robbie