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China in Africa: A Macroeconomic Perspective - Working Paper 230

Benedicte Vibe Christensen
November 5, 2010
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In recent years, China has dramatically expanded its financing and foreign direct investment to Africa. This expansion has served the political and economic interests of China while providing Africa with much-needed technology and financial resources. This paper looks at China’s role in Africa from the Chinese perspective. The main conclusion is that China, as an emerging global player and one of Africa’s largest trading and financial partners, can no longer ignore the macroeconomic impact of its operations on African economies. Indeed, it is in China’s interest that its engagement leads to sustainable economic development on the continent. Trade, financing, and technology transfer must continue at a pace that African economies can absorb withoutrunning up against institutional constraints, the capacity to service the costs to future budgets, or the balance of payments. A key corollary is that China should show good governance in its own operations in Africa. Finally, macroeconomic analysis needs to be supported by better analytical data and organization of decision making to support China’s engagement in Africa.

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