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China, the European Union and the Developing World

China, the European Union and the Developing World

A Triangular Relationship

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Jan Wouters, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Matthieu Burnay

China, the European Union and the Developing World provides a comparative analysis of Chinese and EU influence across five different regions of the developing world: Asia-Pacific; South and Central Asia; the Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; and Latin America. While there is broad acknowledgement that the importance of China is rising across the developing world, this book offers a comprehensive and comparative account of the relative increase of the Chinese presence in the various different regions. It highlights its impact on the relationship between the EU and the developing world regions and shows how the rise of China affects the relations between these regions and Europe.

Chapter 14: EU-China-Africa and the challenges of African development

Chris Alden and Laura Barber

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, asian politics and policy, development studies, law and development, law - academic, asian law, european law, law and development, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, asian politics, european politics and policy, international relations, regulation and governance


China’s expanding economic engagement with Africa has compelled the EU to both reassess its own relationship with the continent and to resolve perceived normative and strategic conflicts between China and the EU in Africa (Lirong 2011: 5). Since the establishment of the EU-China strategic partnership in 2003, and driven in equal measure by commercial imperatives and EU ambitions to soft-balance a unipolar international system, attempts to leverage cooperation with China have undergone two broad, overlapping phases. Firstly, at the ‘meta’ level the EU has initiated bilateral, multilateral and, most prominently, trilateral forms of engagement that have been characterized by debates on African development cooperation and EU aspirations to socialize China in line with the norms underpinning the Western aid framework. However, such initiatives have ultimately produced very little as a result of internal tensions within EU decision-making structures and among EU member states, African resistance to trilateral cooperation, and China’s unwillingness to ‘surrender’ its developing country identity advantage in Africa.

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