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, part