Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner


China, Human, Business


Though the relationship between China and Africa dates back to the 1950s, China's ever-increasing demand for energy sources has garnered newfound attention from scholars, coinciding with the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy over the last fifteen years. In order to fuel its economic machine, China has turned to Africa, a resource-rich continent and holder of one-third of the world's oil deposits. Taking a unique approach that blurs the line between aid, trade, and investment, China‘s search for resource security has injected new life into Africa‘s developmental efforts. To Africa's benefit, the relationship has boosted African trade volumes, productivity, physical infrastructure, and foreign investment but leaves an important question as to how the "China effect" has actually contributed to the development of its citizens, and not just African political and business elites. This study complements prior scholarship by pursuing a qualitative approach in assessing the development of select countries that have embarked on Chinese engagement: Angola, Sudan/South Sudan, and South Africa. This research tests whether having strong ties with China improves both economic and human development in Africa, aiming to determine whether states that derive high trade volumes, infrastructure financing, or foreign direct investment from China experience a trickle-down effect into economic wealth, improved life expectancy of its citizens, education, and income. The research finds that high levels of economic engagement between select African countries and China have contributed positively to the country‘s economic and human development but have also revealed vulnerabilities in those countries‘economies due to their reliance on China.



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