Chinese colonialism or south-south cooperation? The case of chinese resources for infrastructure contracts in Angola
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This thesis examines the use of Chinese resources for infrastructure contracts in Angola. China has engaged in this mechanism that trades African natural resources for Chinese infrastructure construction with several African countries. The main debate in the literature on Sino-African relations is between scholars who see China as a neo-colonialist' that reinforces a classic north-south relationship of exploitation, and those who see China as a different development partner, emphasizing South-South cooperation and mutual benefit. The resources for infrastructure contracts have been used to construct the argument that China's engagement in Africa is ultimately aimed at securing access to natural resources. To examine this assumption, I conducted a case study of Angola, the African country where the resources for infrastructure contracts has been most pronounced in scope and size. Due to challenges of data availability I complemented the secondary sources with primary sources from fieldwork conducted in Luanda, Angola. I also drew on evidence from comparable cases to shed light on the mechanism. I found that there are strong indicators suggesting that resources for infrastructure contracts are not mainly a mechanism to secure Chinese access to Angola's natural resources. Rather, it seemed like a mechanism to mitigate the risks of extending a loan to a country with poor credit. However, this tentative finding is not automatically transferable to other cases as country-specific differences uncovered in the study shows the limitations in generalizing Sino-African relations from one case.