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: 403

Full Length Research Paper

The Beijing consensus versus the Washington consensus: The dilemma of Chinese engagement in Africa

Jarso Galchu
  • Jarso Galchu
  • Department of Civics and Ethical Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Bule Hora University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 July 2016
  •  Accepted: 01 September 2016
  •  Published: 31 January 2018


This study discusses the reason behind the Chinese hastened engagement in Africa. The study particularly emphasizes debates surrounding such massive involvements from the African, European and Chinese point of view focusing on the main tenets of Washington and Beijing consensuses. The study shows that Beijing consensus has been perceived cynically by traditional western power contending that Chinese involvement in Africa has been built on china’s narrow, and parochial interest of grabbing African’s resources on one hand, and reversing of democratization and human rights improvements taking shape on the continent. The pro- Chinese narratives, on the other hand, argue that Chinese involvement in Africa has been built on the continent’s historical relations with China when fighting colonial imperialism and apartheid system. In addition, it is their shared experiences of humiliation and subjugation at the hand of western imperialist colonial power that coach China and Africa to free their relationship from western style of involvements in one another’s domestic affairs. Africans view Chinese engagement in Africa optimistically as a relief from century-old “civilizing mission” of the former colonial powers. This article argues that besides Chinese soft and non-conditional loans and aids and its commitment to neutrality in its relation to African countries’ domestic affairs, the historical legacies of western influence on Africa, their post-colonial military presences on the continent and their cultural imperialism through imposition of western values and norms has been increasing Africa’s discontent with the western approach. These phenomena have been contributing enormously to Chinese engagement in Africa.

Key words: China, Africa, Washington consensus, Sino-phobia, Beijing consensus.