Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kuehl, Colin

Second Advisor

Thurber, Ches

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Two differing perceptions have dominated explanations of the relationship between China and Africa. The first is often held in the West and sees China as an exploitative force that has latched onto Africa's quest for development partnerships to exploit the continent economically. The second considers the China-Africa partnership more positively and views China as a trustworthy ally. Advocates argue that China has no history of colonial ambitions in Africa. Instead, China intervened in Africa to fill the financing gap and tackle the development challenges in Africa with no political strings attached. Perception of which view is mainly correct depends on which side of the divide an observer is aligned, i.e., pro-Western or pro-Chinese.This study analyzes the factors that account for the variation in Chinese aid across Africa between 2006-2018. The findings demonstrate that the size of a country’s GDP remains a common predictor of aid to African countries. Chinese assistance is mainly consistent with expectations of financial need and economic development rather than political exploitation. In addition, factors that predict aid to Africa are the same across Chinese and Western sources. However, while democratic governance is considered an essential determinant of Western aid, Chinese aid is not influenced by democratic rule. This is attributed to the enduring Chinese policy of "non-interference" in the internal political affairs of African countries. Countries would therefore be willing to engage more with China given that the perceived non-interference, makes conditionality for aid less stringent compared to the Western aid alternative.


44 pages




Northern Illinois University

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