Chinese and Japanese development co-operation: South–South, North–South, or what?
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Chinese and Japanese development co-operation: SouthSouth, NorthSouth,or what?Pedro Amakasu Raposo a & David M. Potter aa Nanzan University Graduate School of Policy Studies , JapanPublished online: 20 May 2010.
To cite this article: Pedro Amakasu Raposo & David M. Potter (2010) Chinese and Japanesedevelopment co-operation: SouthSouth, NorthSouth, or what?, Journal of Contemporary AfricanStudies, 28:2, 177-202, DOI: 10.1080/02589001003736819
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Chinese and Japanese development co-operation: SouthSouth,NorthSouth, or what?Pedro Amakasu Raposo* and David M. Potter
Nanzan University Graduate School of Policy Studies, Japan
This article compares the evolution and characteristics of Chinese and Japaneseaid, assessing the impact of their aid policies in sub-Saharan Africa from the1950s to the present. It argues that China and Japans aid programmes share moresimilarities than dissimilarities. Both pursue aid strategies that spread allocationsacross a region rather than concentrating upon specific countries. The articleseeks to clarify the following questions. In what way are Chinese and Japanese aidstrategies different from each other and Western donors? Should their aid be seenas a form of SouthSouth co-operation that provides an alternative to the Westshegemony in Africa? Or is aid from these donors simply another strategy tocontrol African resources and state elites in the guise of a partnership of equals?
Keywords: Japan; China; foreign policy; Africa; aid; development
In recent years the re-emergence of China as an economic power has spurred debate
about its consequences for the international economy and the neo-liberal system of
globalisation. Part of that debate concerns itself with the consequences of Chinas
renewed use of economic co-operation instruments to promote relations with African
countries. One approach argues that in a new scramble for Africa (Southall and
Melber 2009), Chinas partnership with Africa is no more and no less self-interested
than similar Western involvements considering the subordination and dependent
relationships that historically have characterised interactions between African
capitalists and foreign capital (Melber 2009, 75; Southall and Comninos 2009,
357). Western donors and Bretton-Woods institutions have criticised Chinas
practices in Africa for ignoring human rights problems and for undermining
transparency and good governance in Africa through unconditional aid and loans
(Mugumya 2008, 6). Meanwhile, Alden (2007, 5) has summarised the debate over
China as a development partner, economic competitor, or coloniser. This interest
in China is also part of a broader discussion of renewed AfricaAsia ties in the wakeof robust economic growth in Asia. A recent study by the World Bank, for example,
compares the economic relations of China and India with the continent under the
title Africas Silk Road (Broadman 2007). Yet strangely, Japan is left out of this
discussion of Asia-Africa economic relations, even though it is the main foreign aid
donor in Asia and its presence in Africa is substantial.
This article compares the aid policies and practices of China and Japan in Africa.
Section I surveys the main features of Chinese and Japanese foreign aid and traces
the evolution of their aid policies. Section II compares the two aid programmes.
*Corresponding author: Email: email@example.com
Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Vol. 28, No. 2, April 2010, 177202
ISSN 0258-9001 print/ISSN 1469-9397 online
# 2010 The Institute of Social and Economic ResearchDOI: 10.1080/02589001003736819
] at 2
Section III examines the differences and similarities between Chinese and Japanese
foreign aid policy to Africa. Section IV examines their aid characteristics to Africa,
such as regional distributions and major recipients. Section V evaluates new regional
frameworks, the relation between poverty reduction and the Millennium Develop-
ment Goals (MDGs), and SouthSouth and NorthSouth linkages.Chinese aid terminology is inexact and not consistent with the Development
Assistance Committee (DAC) definition but is close to the Japanese notion of
economic co-operation used in the past (White 1964, 7). Because there is no reliableofficial data on Chinas aid flows, statistics are given to illustrate the character of
arguments rather than concentrating on the actual values of Chinese aid.
Characteristics of Chinese and Japanese foreign aid
For geopolitical, social and cultural reasons both countries during the Cold War
showed a preference for Asia followed by Africa. The end of the Cold War and the
withdrawal of strategic assistance from Africa along with aid fatigue in the major
donors created greater opportunities for China and Japan to engage Africa (Payne
and Veney 1998, 867; Grant and Nijman 1998, 57).
Unlike other donors China and Japans aid both espouse non-interference and
self-help as fundamental principles in foreign and aid policy (Law 1984, 45-6; Rix
1993, 33). Chinas Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enunciated by Zhou
Enlai in 1954, still influences Chinas aid strategy. Hence, China respects thesovereignty of the recipient countries and limits political conditions when providing
aid to the one China policy, i.e. non- recognition of Taiwan. China stresses that aid
to the Third World should be designed to make the recipient economically
independent of China (Brautigam 1998, 41). Similarly, Japans Official Development
Assistance (ODA) Charter declares the value of sovereign equality and non-
intervention in the domestic affairs of recipient countries.
Accordingly, their programmes emphasise loans over grants with priority on the
growth-oriented co-operation through trade-related infrastructures as a complement
to aid (Grant and Nijman 1998, 45; Wang 2007, 21). Both support Africas
endeavours to strengthen solidarity and self-reliance through the implementation of
the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) within the framework of
SouthSouth co-operation. Critics accuse both countries of using aid as a foreignpolicy tool to achieve national interests that are not always consistent with poverty
reduction (Morikawa 2006, 45-6; Davies 2007, 74). Yet, poverty reduction by Japan
and social development by China are treated as priorities in regional initiatives, the
Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and the Forum
on ChinaAfrica Co-operation (FOCAC).
Evolution and development of China and Japans aid policy
Japans recent involvement with Africa is shorter than that of China by two decades.
Allowing for this difference one can discern five phases in the evolution of each
donors aid relationship with the continent.
Chinas first phase (19501955) of foreign aid was politically and ideologicallydriven. Initially Chinas foreign aid was concentrated in Asia, namely to consolidate
internal control caused by the war, to protect China from a perceived threat from the
178 P.A. Raposo and D.M. Potter
] at 2
West and to solidify relations with the communist countries on Chinas borders
(Cooper 1976, 120). In exchange China received international recognition and
support against American hegemony (Weinstein and Henriksen 1980, 118). At the
Bandung Conference (1955), Beijing initiated its first post-revolution linkages with