The Methods and Implications of Chinese and French Foreign Direct Investment in Africa

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Brendon Springfield
Albert Klein


By Brendon Springfield, International Affairs and History

Advisor: Albert Klein

Presentation ID: 28

Abstract: With the shift in the modern era from conventional warfare to more impersonal forms of conflict, it is important to maintain awareness of the more subtle methods in which nations engage in hostile actions. This study examines one of these newer methods, economic warfare, in the context of the French and Chinese governments' methods of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into developing states on the African continent. By analyzing investment data provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and articles other scholars have done regarding France's Françafrique region and China's Belt and Road initiative, we will compare these two FDI types. FDI presents a concept with a lot of nuance because it is not an explicitly violent action to invest in an economy, -but opens the door for quiet methods of exerting control over them. Other scholars argue that both the "East" and "West" invest in resource rich and corrupt institutions for their own benefit but viewing any type of economic warfare through a Cold War framework does the analysis no academic justice. The results in this study suggest that the repercussions of these investments either facilitate corruption (in the Chinese case) or shape an oppressive economic structure (in the French case), making the FDI types of both sides unsavory in one way or another.

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