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date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a historical understanding of China’s economic involvement in sub-Saharan Africa from Africa’s independence to the present. It presents a critique to the current debates on Africa–China engagement, which by and large have emphasized China’s motivations and strategies in Africa and have overlooked the African logics. It highlights that China has been in the past and will continue to be the “go-to” place for many sub-Saharan countries outside the context of their reliance on the West for aid, investment, and trade. China being an alternative for Africa is by no means a novel phenomenon. It discusses the complications of China’s presence in Africa by revealing different “faces” of China. Understanding the phenomenon that is “China,” and making sense of how Africa’s political economies intersect with the differing agendas and interests of these “faces” will be crucial as we enter a new era of Africa–China engagement.

Keywords: China–Africa, TAZARA railway, South Africa, Ghana, trade, investment, infrastructure, migration, mining, state-owned enterprise

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