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China and Africa relations: Making their lunch or eating it?


Despite the exponential increase in Chinese investments in the past oneand-half decade, opinions are sharply divided among scholars about the real impact of these investements on ordinary Africans, with critics claiming that China is "making and eating Africa’s lunch". The paper examines the benefits of Chinese aid flows, investment volumes, employment and infrastructural development against some estimates of risks (such as environmental damage, job loses, democracy and human rights and economic dependence). It then argues that despite reservations that China is getting significant benefits in terms of resource extraction over long periods in exchange for their investments, it is also important to consider risks such as time inconsistency, weak property rights, potential regime change, contract renegotiations, and expropriations. Whether China will make and eat Africa’s lunch depends on the political will and policies designed by African leaders to reduce the risks to their countries, while maximizing the benefits of Chinese investments.