China in Africa

About the Author

Chris Alden is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the LSE. He has researched and published on Asian-African relations for over fifteen years. He has previously taught at the University of the Witwatersrand, and held research fellowships at the University of Tokyo, the Ecole Normale Superieure and the University of Cambridge.

China in Africa

Nowhere in the world is China’s rapid rise to power more evident than in Africa. From multi-billion dollar investments in oil and minerals to the influx of thousands of merchants, labourers and cheap consumer goods, China’s economic and political reach is redefining Africa’s traditional ties with the international community. This book investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa to determine whether this engagement will be that of a development partner, economic competitor or new hegemon. Alden argues that in order to understand Chinese involvement on the continent, we need to recognize the range of economic, diplomatic and security rationales behind Beijing’s Africa policy as well as the response of African elites to China’s entreaties. Only then can the new challenges and opportunities for Africa and the West be accurately assessed.


‘Chris Alden has written the first substantive book on China-Africa relations in three decades. Anyone wishing to understand the complexities of China’s engagement with Africa must read this fine study.’ – David Shambaugh, George Washington University & The Brookings Institution

‘In the welter of badly-thought and badly-written work now being rushed into print on China in Africa, Chris Alden’s book is an excellently-balanced and judicious exception.’ – Stephen Chan, SOAS, University of London

‘In this elegant and engaging study, Chris Alden brings together the key pieces that define the complex mosaic of China’s recent engagement in Africa. Analytically sophisticated and drawing on an impressive vein of evidence, this book must be welcomed both as an illuminating account and for its measured judgment.’ – Garth le Pere, Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa

‘In this short and readable book, Chris Alden provides a clear overview of China’s involvement with Africa. It is a fascinating story, which will become more interesting and more important in the years to come’. The Economist

‘The companion volume to Zed’s ‘The United States in Africa’.’ – North South

‘For me, the best and most coherent approach to the political economy of China in Africa is given by Chris Alden in his short engagingly written book….’ – Review of African Political Economy. No. 115. 2008

‘A useful analysis of China’s increasing economic role in Africa.’ – Chartist

‘Alden’s book answers the need for a measured review of China-Africa relations. Alden combines judicious analysis with a balanced, authoritative survey of the context and nature of current relations’

‘Unlike those commentators who have rushed to pronounce and prescribe, he captures the rich potential and sense of dynamism that China has catalysed in Africa with a grounded appreciation of the challenges and constraints … This is important’

‘Alden’s account is well-calibrated, especially when empirical research on ‘the content and context of Chinese involvement in Africa is desperately needed.” – TLS