Chinese and Japanese development co-operation: South–South, North–South, or what?

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Wyoming Libraries]On: 07 October 2013, At: 22:05Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Journal of Contemporary AfricanStudiesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:

    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:

    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




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  • 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




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  • 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

    Africa, particularly with Egypt, leading to a trade agreement between them in

    August that year (Taylor 2006, 20).

    In the second phase (19561978), Beijing began to use aid as part of culturaldiplomacy to change its image among Afro-Asian nations (Cooper 1976, 15). With

    the outbreak of the Sino-Soviet dispute, Beijing moved away from ideological

    motives to concentrate more on economic co-operation with non-communist

    countries and expanded its aid programme beyond Asia to Africa. It reversed its

    earlier policy of supplying liberation organisations like the anti-French rebels in

    Algeria and began supporting African national independence against Soviet

    imperialism (Taylor 2006, 21, 28).

    Chinas first real impact on Africa came in 1964, when Zhou Enlais enunciated in

    Mali the eight principles governing Chinese aid policy, confirming its aid as an

    alternative to Western aid (Arnold 1979, 119; Law 1984, 54). The objective was

    threefold: to show support for revolution, to establish diplomatic relations in Africa,

    and support Chinas bid for admission to the United Nations (Cooper 1976, 16).

    In its third phase (19791982) China was more pragmatic than ideological. Unityand self-reliance of African nations through peaceful co-existence and promotion of

    economic development was stressed (Weinstein and Henriksen 1980, 119, 173).

    Under the post-Mao reforms, the aid offices of most ministries, provinces and

    municipalities that carried out aid activities assigned by the central government, were

    transferred to state-owned corporations encouraged to seek contracts through

    design, contracting and joint ventures (Brautigam 2009, 10). Today, Chinese

    companies in Africa largely reflect the economic reforms of the early 1980s.The fourth phase (19831999) of Chinas foreign aid policy began after the visit

    to Africa of Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping in December of 1982. Chinas new

    foreign aid policy was to benefit both sides economically, strive for economic

    feasibility and practical results, with focus on diversity in form and common

    development. By emphasising co-operation rather than one-sided aid, Deng

    proclaimed Chinas concept of SouthSouth co-operation that respects sovereignty,does not interfere in recipients internal affairs, attaches no political conditions, and

    asks for no privileges (Brautigam 1998, 4950).Chinas last phase (2000-present) began with the FOCAC conferences. In 2006,

    the FOCAC adopted a specific African policy aiming at a new type of strategic

    partnership between China and Africa. This is described as a multidimensional

    approach embracing all strategies previously pursued by China through co-operation

    in political and international affairs, economic, commercial, cultural, co-operation in

    social development (Alden 2007, 27; Davies 2007, 38).

    The first phase (19541972) of Japanese aid diplomacy began in 1954 when Japanbecame a member state of the Colombo Plan. However, Japans entry into the United

    Nations (UN) (1956) and the Bandung Conference awoke Japan to the importance

    of the Afro-Asian bloc as a means to improve its image in the international

    community. Yet, Japan tended to align itself with the former colonial powers

    (Ampiah 1997, 39, 45), and aid to Africa was restricted until the 1960s by the priority

    Journal of Contemporary African Studies 179




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  • given to Asia. Some tied aid was provided for infrastructure projects to facilitate the

    promotion and export of primary products (Oda and Aoki 1985, 154).

    Japans second phase (19731980), following the 1973 oil crisis, saw the expansionof its aid beyond Asia to reduce resource vulnerability. Securing access to Africas

    raw materials became a critical policy objective (Ampiah 1997, 46). Moreover,

    beyond economic security considerations, African political support for its UN policy

    gradually increased in importance (Sato 2005, 74).Like China, Japans third phase (19811988) toward Africa also includes dual

    diplomacy. ODA was provided to Africa to fight Africas economic and famine

    crisis, to recycle some of its trade surplus and simultaneously to accommodate the

    protests by African countries about Japans support of South Africa (Ampiah 1997,

    567). Japan aimed to improve its image in sub-Saharan Africa in order to gainaccess to those countries natural resources and to bolster its diplomatic influence at

    the United Nations (Morikawa 1997, 17071).Japans fourth phase (19892000) began with the end of the Cold War, aid fatigue

    among the donor countries, and the failure of structural adjustment. Having clarified

    the political and development purposes of its aid in the 1992 ODA Charter, Japan

    organised TICAD I and II in 1993 and 1998 to prevent the marginalisation of Africa

    (JICA 2007, 25). These were the first-ever international conferences on Africandevelopment, and marked a significant political commitment by a leading donor to

    create a system to harmonise policies on African development (TCSF 2005, 8).

    Japans last phase (2001present) is marked by the revision of the ODA Charterin 2003 and TICAD III and IV, where consolidation of peace, human-centred

    development and poverty reduction through economic growth were priority issues.

    The signing of the TICAD-NEPAD for the promotion of Trade and Investment

    between Africa and Asia, the reforms of Japan International Cooperation Agency

    (JICA) toward higher aid effectiveness in 2006, and the TICAD IV in 2008 to boost

    economic growth in Africa ensuring human security and addressing environmental

    issues, are key areas (JICA 2007, 2; TCSF 2008, 38).

    Characteristics of Chinese and Japanese aid programmes

    Both countries emphasise aid for economic infrastructure and services. Japan for

    many years has...


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