By Marcus Power, Giles Mohan, May Tan-Mullins (auth.)

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Brown’s argument is that neorealism suffers from serious limitations that are evident even before one transplants it to Africa. In particular the normalization of the European state as the benchmark for analysis creates certain teleological arguments in which Africa, and some other regions, can only be found wanting. The effect of arguing that Africa shows up the limitations and is so different that it requires an, as yet, unspecified ‘new’ theory only serves to marginalize Africa from core debates of IR.

Chapter 5 examines these debates around aid effectiveness and the role of China and other ‘emerging’ donors. Clearly things are shifting but how far China actually alters the terms on which aid is delivered and the choices recipient states have can only be determined empirically so we also look at cases of how these forms of financing actually work. Chapter 6 picks up this story by looking at the politics of these economic ties. At one level these ties strengthen an illiberal model of involvement in Africa in which elites on both sides carve out deals that bypass channels of accountability and with it any chance to debate the relative merits of these investments.

First, were we to have undertaken a large-scale data analysis exercise comparing African countries in terms of Chinese aid, trade and investment we would have been confronted with a general paucity of data. g. Broadman 2007), but they rely on official statistics which we found to massively underestimate the level of activity of smaller, private Chinese firms in particular. Moreover Chinese official data is either not collected for various reasons, is collected but reported differently, or is collected and concealed (Lancaster 2007).

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