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The Sino–European race for Africa׳s minerals: When two quarrel a third rejoices

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  • Ebner, Julia

Abstract

Although well-endowed with mineral resources, Africa has historically never been able to harvest the developmental benefits from its mineral wealth. The dawn of the 21st century has brought about a new scramble for mineral resources on African soil. China׳s rising wealth levels and the country׳s growing demand for mineral commodities combined with Europe׳s eagerness to maintain its traditional sphere of influence and secure the continent׳s need for resource imports from Africa have added up to an international race for Africa׳s minerals. China has become an attractive business partner to many African countries which sought an alternative to traditional investment approaches. Naturally, China׳s rapid ascent on the African continent has stirred European fears about losing its strategic primacy in Africa. Threatened by the “dragon׳s” seemingly insatiable appetite for Africa׳s mineral resources, the EU has thus increased its effort to secure its hold on the region. In an effort to better understand the effects of the Sino–European scramble for African minerals on the economic prosperity and human development of the world׳s most impoverished continent, the paper analyses Africa׳s opportunities and challenges of the growing competition in the continent׳s minerals sector. While there are grounds to assert that China׳s ascendance in the African minerals sector constitutes a new form of colonialism, there is also reason for the nascent hope that China׳s race for African minerals might change the rules of a game in which Africa has long been the desolate loser and Europe the undisputed winner.

Suggested Citation

  • Ebner, Julia, 2015. "The Sino–European race for Africa׳s minerals: When two quarrel a third rejoices," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 112-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:43:y:2015:i:c:p:112-120
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.11.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chien-Huei Wu, 2012. "Beyond European Conditionality and Chinese Non-Interference: Articulating EU–China–Africa Trilateral Relations," Chapters,in: China, the European Union and Global Governance, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klossek, Polina & Kullik, Jakob & van den Boogaart, Karl Gerald, 2016. "A systemic approach to the problems of the rare earth market," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 131-140.

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