China- African Francophone Growing Economic Involvement: A Case Study of the Republic of Mali


African Francophone countries are increasingly engaging with China politically, socially, culturally and economically since 1958, through bilateral and multilateral cooperation especially the machinations of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) create in Beijing on 2000.The recent growth of Chinese influence and companies across Africa in general, Africa Francophone in particular has drawn African and world attention. As a result, both economic and political implications are emerging at the global level, raising concerns among actors in the global economy. Most critic and literature to date that appears to borrow from the logic of dependency theory presents African Francophone Countries as pawns, subject to the demands of exploitative and dominant China, who is benefiting at Africa Francophones expense. So for that reason, the relations between China and African Francophone require close examination, and this document seeks to address two major issues.

First, it tries to and investigates whether or not dependency theory explains the nature of African Francophone nations and China’s relationship, using Republic of Mali as a case study. Furthermore, it will address whether dependency theory can correctly describe this relationship. In this research we refer to Dos Santos’assertion. According to Dos Santos’s assertion “the dependency is a historical condition in which the economy of a certain group of countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which their own is subjected” (1). Some publication claim that the impact of Chinese engagement in Africa Francophone, whether positive or negative, whether on a comprehensive scale or a small scale benefiting the leaders class and a circle of privileges people, will be determined by African Francophone governments and their policies regarding China. While it is clear that African Francophone States have found a new partner for diplomatic support, trade, and aid even to resist Western interventions and initiated policies. It is also apparent that to accrue any sort of lasting benefit, African Francophone Nations must actively manage their relationship with China. Existing research has yet to adequately address the motivations of African Francophone who choose to engage with China and African Francophone perspectives on this growing relationship. This paper will attempt to address these questions in part by exploring Malis China policy.

This paper contradicts the assumption of most publications to date that seems to borrow from the logic of dependency theory and present African Francophone economic as pawns, subject to the demands of a dominant and exploitative China, who is benefiting at Africa Francophone expenses. Arguably, African Francophone is willing partners of the Chinese, driven by their state-centric belief that engagement with the Chinese is in their national interest. For Malians, their country is engaging with China because it is in their best interest and as the historical relationship continues to grow, it will need to be managed in order to maximize the benefit to Mali. The historical partnership China-Mali relations have been deeply rooted in the history of Chinese and Malian peoples. The first contacts between China and Mali date on early 1960.


Mr Yoro Diallo, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University.

For the full text, please see:   




No. 688, Yingbin Avenue, Jinhua, Zhejiang, China

Postal Code: 321004

Phone: 0579-82286091(Office)

Fax: 0579-82286091