China’s Four Decades of Economic Reforms and the Transformation of China’s Policy Towards Africa


The pace and scale of China’s economic transformation have no historical precedent. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free-market reforms in 1978, China has been among the world fastest-growing economies. Since then, China has played an active role in promoting South-South cooperation. China’s foreign policy, more specifically, its African policy has been decided by its strategy of development. China’s tripling of its financing commitment to US$60 billion at the Second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit held in December 2015 in South Africa signaled its confidence, in the economic changing prospects of Africa as well as recognizes Africa’s socio-economic and political priority. In contrast to most analysts’ claim that China current engagement in Africa constitutes a further exercising of neo-colonialist exploitation. In seeking to interrogate the claims, the author argues that while China’s engagement in Africa maybe problematic, it certainly does not merit the accusations of neo-colonialism. The paper conceptualizes and analyses the concept of neo-colonialism in the context of China-Africa cooperation. Further evidence on the Sino-Africa cooperation was provided under the following variable: soft power. It is anticipated that Africa’s importance within China’s foreign policy framework will continue to grow.


Africa, China, Economic Reform, Economic engagement, Neo-colonialism, Policy Change


Ehizuelen Michael Mitchell Omoruyi, Executive Director, Center for Nigerian Studies at the Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University, China

This paper was published in the Vol.17, Issue 1 of Journal of Comparative Asian Development in December, 2018.





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