African development Lou Jones via ZUMA Wire

Africa’s Middle Passage to Development

When it comes to relations with China – and development strategies more generally – there are two opposing camps within Africa. But the approach that will bring the most progress is one that smooths the contradictions and offers a balanced, accommodative, and pragmatic vision behind which Africans can unite.

YAOUNDÉ – When it comes to relations with China – and development strategies more generally – there are two opposing camps in Africa. But the approach that will bring the most progress is a “middle passage” that smooths contradictions and offers a balanced, accommodative, and pragmatic vision behind which Africans can unite.

On one side of the issue are China optimists. Cooperation with China, they argue, could enable Africa to chart its own development course, independent of Western policy prescriptions. This group is sympathetic to the “Beijing model” of governance, which focuses on national sovereignty and state control.

On the other side are China pessimists. They worry that the dynamic in Sino-African relations would always favor China. They prefer the West’s democracy-oriented approach, which emphasizes individual rights, underpinned by the free market agenda embodied in the so-called Washington Consensus.

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