China in Africa: The Real Story (Oxford University Press, 2009, 2011). Chinese translation published by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Press. $19.96 at Amazon.com
In the last few years, China’s aid program has leapt out of the shadows. Media reports about huge aid packages, support for pariah regimes, regiments of Chinese labor, and the ruthless exploitation of workers and natural resources in some of the poorest countries in the world sparked fierce debates. This well-timed book, by one of the world’s leading experts, provides the first comprehensive account of China’s aid and economic cooperation overseas. Deborah Brautigam tackles the myths and realities, explaining what the Chinese are doing, how they do it, how much aid they give, and how it all fits into their “going global” strategy. Drawing on three decades of experience in China and Africa, and hundreds of interviews in Africa, China, Europe and the US, Brautigam shines new light on a topic of great interest. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with China’s rise, and what it might mean for the challenge of ending poverty in Africa.