The China Factor in Africa’s Path to Liberal Democracy

In: Africa Review
Manickam Venkataraman University of Madras Department of Defence and Strategic Studies India Chennai

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R. Vignesh Manohar Parikkar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) Military Affairs Centre India New Delhi

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This article explores whether China’s political and economic relations with African countries constitute a factor in undermining Africa’s path to liberal democracy or not. It addresses the question of why democratic values like human rights could not be sustained in some African countries. Along this line, could China’s economic influence harm the democratisation of the African continent? The argument of this article is that differing perceptions of democracy coupled with China’s entry in Africa as an alternative to the West have provided a context for several African countries to elude the liberal democratic path. The article concludes that, in providing them with economic support, China has introduced concepts of an alternative model of government to several African countries that had initially embraced liberal democracy. China’s close relations with Africa thus have been a game-changer for the post-Cold War liberal order.

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