Is China a rogue donor, as some media pundits suggest? Or is China helping the developing world pave a pathway out of poverty, as the Chinese claim? In the last few years, China's aid program has leapt out of the shadows. Media reports about huge aid packages, support for pariah regimes, regiments of Chinese labor, and the ruthless exploitation of workers and natural resources in some of the poorest countries in the world sparked fierce debates. These debates, however, took place with very few hard facts. China's tradition of secrecy about its aid fueled rumors and speculation, making it difficult to gauge the risks and opportunities provided by China's growing embrace. This well-timed book, by one of the world's leading experts, provides the first comprehensive account of China's aid and economic cooperation overseas. Deborah Brautigam tackles the myths and realities, explaining what the Chinese are doing, how they do it, how much aid they give, and how it all fits into their "going global" strategy. Drawing on three decades of experience in China and Africa, and hundreds of interviews in Africa, China, Europe and the US, Brautigam shines new light on a topic of great interest. China has ended poverty for hundreds of millions of its own citizens. Will Chinese engagement benefit Africa? Using hard data and a series of vivid stories ranging across agriculture, industry, natural resources, and governance, Brautigam's fascinating book provides an answer. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with China's rise, and what it might mean for the challenge of ending poverty in Africa.
Summary: An excellent analysis Rating: 5
Deborah Brautigam's new book, "The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa", presents both a well-researched and unbiased account of Chinese involvement in Africa, as well as useful re-examination of foreign aid in general. The author's 20+ years studying the subject lend her analysis a rigorous academic depth lacking in many studies of Chinese aid, while her personal interviews with top Chinese and African officials, as well as local African business people, provide insightful perspectives likewise not found in many sources. Moreover, Brautigam's fluid narrative style and overviews of economic development, which she weaves into the beginning chapters, make the book equally accessible to seasoned development practitioners and students alike. In short, "The Dragon's Gift" is absolutely a must read for anyone interested in the subject of Chinese aid to Africa, and also forms a useful text for understanding the historical context and shifting role of foreign aid in Africa at the dawn of the 21st century.