Fueling the fire? : civil war in Africa and the People's Republic of China
Wang, Callie Amanda
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Trade between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Africa reached US$100 billion in 2008. Africa now provides one-third of China's oil supplies. China invests in a distinct manner - the close connection between business and the central government leads to "energy diplomacy" and state-financed infrastructure and loans given to oil-producing countries. As part of the package deal of oil investment, Beijing offers an alternative development model that contrasts with the "strings attached" Western versions. However, the unique characteristics of PRC investment also gives rise to accusations from the West claiming that China undermines stability in African countries in which it invests.; In this research, I have identified certain critical variables, as described by existing conflict literature, that connect the presence of natural resources to civil conflict. They include elements such as the geographical location of oil resources, the method of extraction, the existence of disproportionate benefit between governments and citizens, and characteristics of state weakness. Upon examining these variables in the cases of Sudan, Angola, and the Republic of Congo, it was found that these variables have limited interaction with the distinguishing characteristics of PRC investment. The "no strings attached" manner of operating allows state weakness to persist in these countries, but its influence on stability is on the periphery of a larger picture of state fragility. Additionally, while China's practice of using Chinese nationals on oil and infrastructure projects does interact with the variable of disproportionate benefit, the Sudan case implies that the longer China invests in a country, the more locals it employs.; Policy recommendations flow from this analysis. African countries should insist on earlier employment of their nationals and write such requests into oil deals struck with the Chinese National Oil Companies. With regard to the United States, policymakers in Washington, DC should reexamine the tone with which they engage both Africa and China in the African context. On balance, the investment practices of the Chinese National Oil companies should not cause alarm with regard to stability on the African continent.
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