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Exploiting Africa examines China’s role in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Chinese arrived in Africa with little fanfare, yet they achieved an active presence that was more pragmatic than revolutionary. Though often couched in ideological rhetoric, Chinese goals in Africa were those of an aspiring world power. China skillfully used its limited diplomatic, intelligence, and economic means to shape events and to exploit its relationships to gain lasting influence on the continent. It is crucial to understand the nature and character of China’s historical actions in Africa in order to properly grasp the nation’s current and future policies. Rather than merely looking forward, one must look backward to comprehend the true nature of China in Africa.
“Donovan Chau’s Exploiting Africa makes a valuable and timely contribution to the burgeoning literature on China’s involvement in Africa today. In contrast to most extant accounts, this book demonstrates the link between the involvements of Maoist China on the continent from the 1950s to the 1970s. Although China’s Africa policy then was influenced by its ideological orientation, Chau argues convincingly that ‘China’s meddling’ was at a fundamental level pragmatically driven. In the long term, China was seeking to ensure access to Africa’s vast mineral resources for its own primarily economic objectives. Chau’s arguments are masterfully supported by empirical evidence from three case studies: Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania.” —Edmond J. Keller, research professor of political science, University of California, Los Angeles
“Even before China overtook the United States as Africa’s biggest trading partner in 2009, the expanding network of economic, political, and military ties that Beijing has cultivated across Africa has been cause for concern by policymakers and analysts in Washington. What many of them overlook, however, is that the recent activity is hardly the first Chinese foray into Africa. Donovan Chau’s examination of Communist China’s not inconsiderable efforts under Mao Zedong to gain influence in several post-independence African states not only lifts the veil on this little-known period, but also draws some tantalizing clues from the initial strategic engagement as to possible trajectories now that Beijing has emerged as one of the leading actors on the continent at a time when Africa as a whole enjoys both buoyant economic prospects and growing geopolitical importance.” —J. Peter Pham, director, Africa Center, Atlantic Council, and editor-in-chief, Journal of the Middle East and Africa
“Donovan Chau’s informative and often provocative analysis of Sino-African relations, from the 1955 Bandung Conference until the death of Mao Zedong, is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the rising Asian power’s involvement in the continent today. Dispassionate and avoiding polemics, Exploiting Africa engagingly explores the PRC’s historical involvement in three case studies. Ultimately, Chau sounds the tocsin concerning Beijing’s ongoing geopolitical ambitions in Africa that world leaders will ignore at their own peril.” —George L. Simpson, professor of history at High Point University and editor of The Journal of the Middle East and Africa
Donovan C. Chau is an associate professor of political science at California State University. Earning a PhD from the University of Reading, Chau’s teaching and research focus on international politics, particularly in Asia and Africa.
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Exploiting Africa examines China’s role in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania from the 1950s to the 1970s...Read More