African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382


Changing aid and diplomatic relations: New development actors and Norway in Africa

Michael Oduro Asante
  • Michael Oduro Asante
  • Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 January 2018
  •  Accepted: 24 September 2018
  •  Published: 30 September 2018


Increased engagements of New Development Actors in Africa since the turn of the millennium have attracted a lot of scholars’ and policy-makers’ attention. While the direct effects of new development actors’ relation with Africa have been examined by many researchers, not much researched work on the indirect effects via the response of third countries have been done. This article explores whether and how Norwegian aid and diplomatic relations has changed, and to what extent it is related to the expansive engagements of new development actors in Africa. This article focuses on China, the largest of the new development actors, engagements in Africa. Scholars, politicians and human right activists alike have criticized China for mixing aid with trade, being driven by a resource scramble claiming for Africa’s natural resources at the expense of Africa’s development and human right interests. Although in Norwegian context, this has been contrasted to Norwegian ‘altruistic’, human rights-driven development engagements. However, lately, Norwegian aid has been increasingly and explicitly linked to economic and business interests influenced indirectly by China. The study argues that, Norway’s relations to Africa have shifted towards being more interest-driven as a consequence of the growing China’s engagements. China has changed global geopolitical and economic landscape and Africa’s role in it. Chinese interests for natural resources until 2014 had driven up international prices especially in the oil sector and China’s improvement of Africa’s infrastructures has facilitated other foreign direct investments. Moreover, aid itself has lost part of its power in diplomatic relations. These changes in Africa have influenced Norway to make policy changes and take initiatives in aid and diplomatic relations to pursue economic interest.
Key words: Aid, diplomatic relations, altruism, self-interest, humane internationalism, China, Norway, Africa.