China in Africa:

A New Model of International Development?

On April 26th, 2013, the Sagamore Institute hosted an event titled China in Africa: A New Model of International Development? This event explored questions that arise from the growing presence of China in Africa, with input from Chinese, US, and African scholars, and engaged the Indianapolis community in questions of Africa’s future development.

Executive Summary: Rethinking Development

China’s interest in Africa raises tough questions the world over. Maybe most pressingly for the United States: What does China’s pragmatic, multifaceted development agenda on the African continent mean for African democracy, especially in light of the failures of Western aid? Time will provide the answer, but in the meantime westerners need a new way to approach Africa.

This event brought together leading experts to discuss China’s role on the African continent from Chinese, African and Western perspectives. As a companion to the event, this publication is intended to carry the conversation forward and has two chief aims: to help readers know how to think about the topic of China in Africa, and to display that “China in Africa” is comprised of complex, muscular interactions. 

The lesson to take away here is that development is more about trade than aid and, for its part, China has done a far better job at actualizing that concept in Africa than the U.S. Whether the consideration is immigration, trade, investment, cultural learning, or government-to-government interaction one message is clear: Trying to buy development with aid alone must become an idea of the past because, anymore, Africa means business.

Deborah Brautigam

Dr. Brautigam is Professor of International Development and Comparative Politics, Director of the International Development Program Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Most recently has served as professor at American University’s School of International Service, where she was an advisor for the concentrations in development policy, and in governance and democracy. Previously, Dr. Brautigam was associate professor and director of the Economic and Political Development Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs from 1987-94. She was a visiting fellow at the University of Liberia in Monrovia, the University of Mauritius, and Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. She has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and various Sub-Saharan African countries.

YIng Chen

Ying Chen’s research interests are focuses include Chinese Law, International Human Rights Law, International Organization Law, Law and Development, and International Trade Law. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled The Rules for International Trade in Agricultural Products and the Evolving World Food Crisis, examines EU and US agricultural policies and WTO negotiations in agriculture and how they affect international agricultural trade. Ying Chen has been published in the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review, European Journal of Law Reform, and York International Law Review. She has presented on a variety of research topics at Yantai University School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis, Indiana University Robert K. McKinney School of Law, Mississippi College of Law, and the Koc University School of Law in Istanbul, Turkey.

Una Osili

Dr. Osili is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis and Director of The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. She was previously a visiting Associate Professor at the  Economic Growth Center and in the Department of Economics at Yale University. She was Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago from 2003 to 2004. In addition to serving as a reference for many periodicals, Dr. Osili has been published in the American Economic Review, World Bank Economic Review, Journal of Population Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, World Development, and Review of Economics and Statistics. She has also contributed to a number of edited volumes, such as Policy Options for a Prosperous Nigeria; Africa’s Finances: The Contribution of Remittances; and New Directions in Philanthropic Fundraising

Michael Fairbanks

Michael Fairbanks co-founded the SEVEN Fund in 2005 in Cambridge, MA. SEVEN is a philanthropic foundation run by entrepreneurs, whose strategy is “to produce films, books and original research to markedly increase the rate of diffusion of enterprise solutions to global poverty.” Mr. Fairbanks is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the OTF Group, a strategy-consulting firm that is the first venture-backed U.S. firm to focus on developing nations. He has been Senior Advisor to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda since 2001, focusing on private sector development and export competitiveness. He has advised Inter-American Development Bank, Minister of Finance of Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress. He co–authored Plowing the Sea: Nurturing the Hidden Sources of Advantage in Developing Nations in conjunction with Harvard Business School. His most recent work is an edited volume entitled, In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty.

Richard Asante

Richard Asante is Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University through a Global Encounters Mellon Grant. Richard is a Research Fellow with the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. Dr. Asante’s dissertation examined the impact of social capital on democratic consolidation in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. Dr. Asante was a Special Student at Harvard University in 2008-09 and Visiting Research Scholar at The New School in New York City. In 2010, he served as a Visiting Afrobarometer Fellow at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Dr. Asante collaborated with the UN Research Institute for Social Development for the project Ethnic Structure: Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector, from 2002-2005. He has consulted for the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE) at Oxford University. He has published for in publications of the Council for the Development of Economic and Social Research in Africa

Shunji Cui

Shunji (Esther) Cui is Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Marian University’s Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies, in Indianapolis, Indiana. There she has been speaking in the Global Studies Speaker Series and teaching courses in Marian’s Global Studies curriculum. She is Associate Professor of International Politics in the Department of Political Science, part of the College of Public Administration at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. She is Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies, also based at Zhejiang University. In 2010, Dr. Cui was awarded a British Academy Visiting Fellowship at London School of Economics’s Asia Research Centre. She also completed Post-Doctorate at LSE in 2008-09. She was a fellow for Salzburg Global Seminar, and contributed to the 2012 Freeman Salzburg Symposium, Dynamic Asia: Strategies for a Common Future