Inclusive globalization or old wine in a new bottle? China-led globalization in sub-Saharan Africa
This article questions whether China’s economic initiatives lead to ‘inclusive globalization’ or tend to sustain the distributional inequalities of neoliberal globalization in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that many considerations, including China’s so-called ‘no strings attached’ policy and lending behaviour, unfavourable trade relations, concentration of Chinese investments in a few sectors, and limited technology and knowledge transfer, cast doubt on the realization of inclusive globalization. Even though economic relations with China may foster economic growth and provide short-term relief to the poor, which is also conditioned by the recipient countries’ degree of state capacity, it is questionable to what degree these relations lead to sustainable pro-poor development. No matter what the underlying political economy explanation is (China’s motivations and approach to globalization, weak state capacities in sub-Saharan Africa, structural impediments to development), it is misleading to conclude that China-driven economic globalization is inclusive.