Monograph of Doctor of Historical Sciences T. L. Deitch "China" conquers "Africa", published by the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, 2014 / ed. by V. G. Shubin/. 382 p.), is the first comprehensive study in Russian science of the phenomenon of Chinese economic expansion and political influence on the African continent.
Indeed, in the twenty-first century, the world has witnessed unprecedented success for China in both economic development and international affairs. At the same time, as the author rightly notes, "the country has not only energetically integrated itself into world economic relations, but also pushes Western powers out of their traditional spheres of influence, and successfully competes with them in the struggle for natural resources and political influence in the world" (p.7).
It is no coincidence that Africa is in Beijing's sphere of interest. First of all, this is due to the PRC's interest in hydrocarbon and mineral raw materials necessary for the growth of the Chinese economy. The desire to gain access to raw materials sources, find areas for investment and markets for booming industry are the main motives of Chinese economic expansion. Meanwhile, the author emphasizes that China's increased attention to Africa is due not only to the role of the continent's resource potential, but also to the growing political influence of the region in the modern world.
Considering the process of China's transition from discredited forms and methods of "barrack communism" to a multi-layered, "open" economy, T. L. Deutsch makes an important conclusion that openness to the outside world set the task of economic globalization, which was expressed in stimulating investment processes abroad, moving production capacities abroad, and creating transnational corporations with Chinese participation.
Reforms also began in the sphere of foreign policy, the main principles of which were: non-entry into any alliances, protection of world peace, struggle against all forms of hegemony, development of relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries, rapprochement with third world states. As the author notes, China seeks support and support in developing countries in order to create a stable and favorable external environment for implementing the course of "peaceful development". The Asian region remains a priority vector of Chinese policy, but since the 1970s, China has needed African countries to support its positions in international organizations, primarily the UN, on issues such as the status of Taiwan or human rights. All the statements of the Chinese leadership emphasize Beijing's desire to "treat Africa as an equal partner, take into account its opinion and not impose its own" (p. 76).
Of particular interest is the author's study of the principles and directions of China's economic cooperation with the continent's countries and the problem of the acceptability of the Chinese development model for Africa. South - South cooperation provides for the expansion of trade between developing countries, joint development of intermediate technologies, and mutual technical assistance. The Chinese have consistently supported the proposals of African countries regarding the creation of regional economic organizations for raw materials and tighter control over natural resources. Attention is drawn to the close connection between the two problems of finance and development, and the Chinese side is helping to adapt African systems to the needs of a market economy.
The author shares the opinion of many Chinese researchers that China's economic achievements are largely due to the formation of an effective development model, and that is why he recommends its elements for use by African countries. For example, the Beijing leadership considers its experience in solving the food problem useful by offering Africans methods for accelerated agricultural development. China has made some progress in addressing the problems of environmental pollution, lack of arable land, declining soil fertility, and the onset of the desert, and recommends measures to African countries that have been justified in the PRC - the creation of irrigation systems.-
environmental protection systems, combating desertification through the construction of "green barriers", etc.
T. L. Deutsch dwells in particular on the issue of China's provision of so-called development assistance to Africa. The author identifies and carefully analyzes four periods of Chinese donation: from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 to the beginning of reforms in 1978, when aid to the Black Continent was mainly due to Beijing's ideological considerations; 1979-1989-the beginning of economic reform in the PRC and the expansion of aid to Africa; the end of the 1980s-the end of the 1990s. 2000-s, marked by the modernization of China's economic cooperation program with the continent, with changes due to both the "restructuring" that the Chinese economy was experiencing and the transition to the market in African countries; 2000-s - a period of rapid economic growth in China and the expansion of Chinese assistance programs, including debt cancellation, technical cooperation, humanitarian assistance, training personnel of companies, etc. At the last stage, China improved its financial aid delivery mechanism, turning it from "direct monetary assistance" to "promoting the recipient countries' own capabilities " (p. 131).
The book's chapter on Sino-African trade is of great interest. Already at the end of the last century, more than 150 Chinese trading companies and agents were operating in Africa. China exported textiles, tableware, canned goods, medicines, agricultural machinery, electrical appliances to the continent, and bought agricultural products. In the XXI century, the object of his special attention was mineral resources. In the first decade of this century, the annual trade turnover increased by more than 20% (p.147).
Before 2008, the United States was ahead of China in trade with Africa, but since then the picture has changed. In 2013, the volume of trade reached $200 billion. For a number of African countries, China has become a major trading partner. First of all, these are South Africa, Angola, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt. The lion's share of Chinese imports from Africa is made up of raw materials: oil (more than 60%) from Angola, Sudan, Algeria, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea; coal from South Africa; ores of various metals.
The author rightly notes that some aspects of trade relations with China cause critical reviews in Africa. This applies, for example, to the export of valuable wood species to China. Some African countries ' laws require pre-processing of wood for export, but China prefers to export unprocessed wood and often does so illegally, which costs some countries millions of dollars in losses.
The attitude of Africans to the Chinese is ambiguous. A large number of incoming Chinese citizens are not returning to their homeland, and this is causing critical responses on the continent.
Investment cooperation plays an important role in China's economic relations with African countries. Natural resources and infrastructure, construction of dams and hydropower plants, and agriculture remain the main investment targets. Meanwhile, as T. L. Deutsch points out, political instability in Africa, high tariff barriers, complex customs procedures, and an undeveloped road and transport infrastructure are obstacles to the further growth of Chinese investment.
The mutual benefits of the China-Africa partnership are clear. They provide China with privileged access to African raw materials, and Africa with access to financial and technical assistance that is not burdened by the conditions imposed by Western donors. At the same time, the author draws attention to the problems existing in bilateral economic relations. These include non-equivalent exchanges, in which many African countries act mainly as importers; the negative impact of cheap Chinese imports on local industry in a number of countries, leading to uncompetitive products, business closures and increased unemployment; and the dominance of Chinese merchants, which displace local sellers in a number of countries from African markets.
The main conclusion that the author makes is that by now the PRC has created a powerful, extensive and effective mechanism for political and economic interaction with African countries. In addition, the development of China's relations with Africa, which is significant in itself, is of particular interest to Russia, whose contacts with the Black continent have experienced a noticeable decline since the collapse of the USSR. Today, Russia, as T. L. Deutsch correctly points out, has to establish relations with the countries of the continent on a new basis, and in this situation, the experience of China is certainly useful for it.
A comprehensive study of the development and state of China-Africa cooperation, the book will certainly be useful not only for scholars of Oriental studies, but also for specialists in the field of international relations and foreign trade.
S. V. KOSTELYANETS, Candidate of Political Sciences Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences
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