Towards convergence and cooperation in the global development finance regime: Closing Africa's policy space?

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Abstract

The revival of China's interest in Africa is often highlighted as being an opportunity to provide African governments with a choice between development partners that may strengthen negotiation leverage and thereby carve out policy space to define and implement policies that affect social and economic development. This article critically reviews the most recent developments in Chinese and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approaches to development finance to Africa. It argues that although we can detect a number of incidents that point towards more policy space for African governments, the revival of China's development finance does not fundamentally alter the power relations between African countries and their financiers, as the tendency now is towards convergence and cooperation between China and Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors—not divergence and competition, which could have created policy space as it did prior to the end of the Cold War. This follows the trend of other ‘emerging’ donors who increasingly play by DAC rules and thereby minimize the future possibility of playing out one partner against the other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Volume28
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)246-262
ISSN0955-7571
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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