Beyond the Yuan: Rethinking China's Attractiveness to Africa

Nyadera I. N., Agwanda B., Kisaka M. O.

CHINA REPORT, vol.56, no.4, pp.429-446, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0009445520954793
  • Journal Name: CHINA REPORT
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, American History and Life, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.429-446
  • Keywords: Attractiveness, China-Africa relations, non-economic drivers, soft power, NEO-COLONIALISM, IMPERIALISM, POLITICS, THREAT, RISE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This paper seeks to revisit the narratives surrounding China and Africa relations. While these engagements have attracted the attention of scholars and policymakers, the emphasis has been on the economic aspects and a little attention has been made to examine the role of non-economic drivers. This paper argues that even though economic drivers are significant, Africa and China relations go beyond economic drivers. It identifies non-economic factors like the personality of president Xi Jinping and his personalised relations with African leaders, perceived attitudes of Western countries towards the continent, China's political system, politics of mega projects in Africa, China's soft power strategies and historical experiences as significant factors in strengthening relations between Beijing and the continent. It looks at attractiveness as an important concept in understanding states' actions and relations. The paper concludes that engagements between China and Africa maybe characterised by huge economic factors, but the foundation of these relations is attractiveness anchored on a number of non-economic drivers.