Investigating Sino-Africa relations : exploring investment and governance regimes in the Sino-Ugandan oil relations

Swilling, Ranen Annecke (2019-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : China’s influence and involvement in Africa has grown significantly over the past two decades. This study discusses a core element to this engagement, which is whether or not Africa is benefitting from this relationship. However, the China-Africa literature terrain has until recently, been characterised by the glaring absence of an approach that actively comprehends Africa’s agency and capability. Instead, there are many more accounts of Africa being the victim to predatory external powers such as the Chinese. Almost in response to this, there has been a dawning realisation that the Sino-Africa relations are evolving, bringing the emergence of rhetoric’s such as the notion that African countries are taking a more assertive role when engaging with investment and governance deals with foreign public and private sectors. The more Afro-Centric narratives that have emerged bring into question what the current governance regime terrain in Africa looks like. Moreover, they have questioned how these regimes are negotiating, whether it’s with their countries’ best interests at heart, and whether they are maintaining an attractive business environment to continue attracting valuable FDI from the private and public sectors of China, as well as from Europe, America and Asia. Through a Transdisciplinary Research approach, this study examined the China-Africa relations and used a case study on the natural resource/oil industry of Uganda as an entry point into further exploring the dynamics between African states and the Chinese private and public sectors. The oil industry was used because East Africa has until recently not stood out on the global energy map, but in light of the changing global oil portfolio and late oil finds in the region, is poised to become one of the world’s most interesting oil and gas hot spots. Furthermore, the Resource Curse that has affected the well-being of many African nation-states poses a threat to the future of countries such as Uganda. The research concludes that the Sino-Ugandan relations are driven by neopatrimonialist, neoliberal, realist and economically nationalist agenda’s which has thus far made for a functional relationship. The research further concludes that China is familiar with neopatrimonialism and utilises this conversant as a competitive advantage in situations such as Uganda’s oil industry. Furthermore, it is concluded that there are negative effects of this kind of engagement between China and Africa, however there has been some exaggeration by the media on this front. The study understands that neopatrimonialism is largely to blame for many of these said negative consequences (corruption, pro-rich agendas, and mal-governance) and the presence of neoliberal ideologies perpetuates this. Yet it is not a culture that will be easily eliminated from Africa’s society, nor its relations with China. Therefore, this study argues that by retaining the markets, but not retaining neoliberal ideologies, by having a strong developmentalist agenda and by having an realist yet economic nationalist guiding theoretical framework, neopatrimonialism can be a useful tool in engaging with Chinese FDI and ultimately, the continents development. This is where the role of Africa’s Agency will play a vital role in assuring that there is a ‘responsible’ practice of neopatrimonialism and that developmentalism is the end goal.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : China se invloed in en betrokkenheid by Afrika het die afgelope twee dekades beduidend toegeneem. Hierdie studie bespreek ’n kernelement van hierdie betrokkenheid, naamlik of Afrika by hierdie verhouding baat vind of nie. Tog was daar tot onlangs ’n opvallende gebrek aan China-Afrika-literatuur wat Afrika se agentskap (bemiddeling) en vermoëns aktief bestudeer. In plaas daarvan, beeld menige studie Afrika uit as slagoffer van eksterne roofmoondhede soos China. Byna in reaksie hierop is daar ’n toenemende besef dat Sino-Afrika-verhoudings besig is om te ontwikkel. Dít bring retoriek na vore soos dat Afrikalande meer selfversekerd optree in die bedinging van belegging- en bestuurstransaksies met buitelandse openbare en privaat sektore. Hierdie meer Afrosentriese narratiewe laat ontstaan die vraag oor hoe die huidige bestuursregime in Afrika daar uitsien. Daarbenewens word daar gevra hoe hierdie regimes onderhandel – met hulle lande se belang in gedagte, of met die oog daarop om ’n aantreklike sakeomgewing te handhaaf ten einde voort te gaan om waardevolle direkte buitelandse belegging van die privaat en openbare sektore van China sowel as Europa, Amerika en Asië te bekom. Die studie volg ’n transdissiplinêre navorsingsbenadering om Sino-Afrika-verhoudings te ondersoek. ’n Gevallestudie van die natuurlikehulpbron-/oliebedryf in Uganda dien as uitgangspunt om die dinamiek tussen Afrikastate en die Chinese privaat en openbare sektore verder te verken. Ofskoon die Oos-Afrikastreek tot onlangs nie juis ’n rol op die wêreldenergiekaart gespeel het nie, dui die veranderende wêreldolieportefeulje en onlangse olieontdekkings in die streek daarop dat Oos-Afrika nog een van die interessantste olie-en-gasbronne ter wêreld kan word. Daarom is ’n gevallestudie van die oliebedryf in dié streek gekies. Boonop hou die hulpbronvloek, wat menige Afrikanasiestaat se welstand raak, ’n bedreiging vir die toekoms van lande soos Uganda in. Die navorsing kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die Sino-Ugandese verhoudings op neopatrimoniale, neoliberale, realistiese en ekonomies nasionalistiese agendas berus, wat tot dusver goed werk. ’n Verdere gevolgtrekking is dat China vertroud is met neopatrimonialisme, en dus hierdie vertroudheid as ’n mededingende voorsprong in omstandighede soos Uganda se oliebedryf gebruik. Daar word voorts bevind dat hoewel hierdie tipe skakeling tussen China en Afrika bepaalde negatiewe gevolge het, mediaberigte dit in sommige gevalle aandik. Die studie erken dat neopatrimonialisme grootliks die skuld moet kry vir baie van die genoemde negatiewe gevolge (korrupsie, rykgesinde agendas en wanbestuur), en dat die teenwoordigheid van neoliberale ideologieë dit verder versterk. Tog is dit nie ’n kultuur wat maklik in die Afrikasamelewing óf in Afrika se verhoudings met China uitgeskakel sal word nie. Daarom voer die studie aan dat, deur die behoud van die markte dog nié die neoliberale ideologieë nie, ’n sterk ontwikkelingsgesinde agenda, en ’n realistiese dog ekonomies nasionalistiese rigtinggewende teoretiese raamwerk, neopatrimonialisme ’n nuttige instrument kan wees om Chinese direkte buitelandse belegging, en uiteindelik ook ontwikkeling op die vasteland, te hanteer. Dít is waar Afrika se agentskap ’n kernrol vervul om toe te sien dat neopatrimonialisme ‘verantwoordelik’ en met ontwikkeling as einddoel beoefen word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106051
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