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4. Authoritarian regimes of Africa and their export commodity structure The index of democracy, published by The Economist Intelligence Unit since 2007, monitors the degree of democracy in 167 countries. It covers almost all countries in the world with the exception of microstates and dependent territories. Based on the assessment of five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture; countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.
After the global financial crisis has induced retreat of democracy in several countries, it resulted in reclassification of their index of democracy. Compared to 2008 the index of democracy value has decreased in 2010 in 91 out of countries covered by the index, whereas only 48 states have detected a positive change. Focusing on Africa, two countries have advanced from hybrid regimes to flawed democracies – Ghana and Mali. On the contrary, The Gambia, Madagascar and Ethiopia have shifted to authoritarian regimes. In 2009 president Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has discharged the chief justice without explanation, arrested the opposition leader and concentrated the power in his hands. As a result, the EIU has downgraded The Gambia’s democracy score. President of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana was expelled from the country following a military coup in 2009. In Ethiopia, the leading party crackdown on opposition activities, civilians, restriction of freedom of the media and the party’s election victory in 2010 entailed one-party state and decline in the index of democracy.
In Ghana, in contrast, the losing candidate of the presidential elections Nana Akufo-Addo quickly acquiesced in his defeat despite the fact that he had won the first round and lost the second only by a narrow margin. This atypical event has shifted Ghana to flawed democracies. Mali was upgraded to flawed democracies due to the popular independent president Amadou Toumani Toure’s commitment to strengthen Mali’s democratic framework by creating upper house, election watchdogs and a new code of conduct for politicians and reforms aimed for ensuring freedom of the media.
In 2010, there were 31 authoritarian regimes in Africa (Table 2). Higher position means higher democracy score and better outlook for being upgraded to hybrid regimes. ID2010 – 2008 means change in the index in 2010 compared to 2008. Negative numbers represent worsening of this indicator. CPI represents corruption perception index in these countries, ranging from 0 to 10.
Lower indices mean more corrupt public sector. Only Rwanda and Tunisia had a higher CPI 2010 than China (3,5), all other authoritarian regimes were more corrupt.
Table 2 Authoritarian regimes of Africa and their level of Corruption Source: EIU: Index of Democracy 2010; Transparency International: Corruption Perception Index Causality of the Chinese ODI in these 31 authoritarian regimes can be demonstrated by focusing on:
• stock/flows of Chinese ODI;
• export of natural resources from these countries and China’s share in it.
Given the prevalence of authoritarian regimes in Africa and the rising Chinese ODI on the continent, we have decided to use the following method for assessing the Chinese preference to invest in them: assuming that if China seeks mainly authoritarian partners, these 31 countries will be top 31 recipients of Chinese ODI on the continent, i.e. 100% of Chinese top investment destinations in Africa are authoritarian. After examining the Chinese ODI stock and flows in 2010, we will ascertain the number of authoritarian countries out of 31 top recipients of Chinese ODI (Map 1).
Map 1 Top 31 recipients of Chinese ODI stock/flows and authoritarian Source: Own elaboration based on EIU: Democracy index 2010 and MOFCOM: 2010 Statistical Bulletin of China’s Outward Foreign Direct Investment.
Map 1 indicates that the majority of top 31 recipients of Chinese ODI (62%) belonged to authoritarian regimes in 2010. Only 12 authoritarian regimes were not among main destinations for Chinese ODI flows:
• Between 5 million USD and 1 million USD: Djibouti, Eritrea, Chad, Morocco;
• No Chinese ODI flows or minor FDI withdrawal up to -1 mil. USD:
Gambia, Comoros, Tunisia;
• FDI withdrawal higher than -1 million USD: Cote d’Ivoire and Libya;
• Missing data (we anticipate that FDI are converging to zero): Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and Swaziland.
These data may suggest that China prefers investment in authoritarian countries of Africa. Before coming to a conclusion that the Chinese ODI in Africa are determined by bribability and dictatorship, we compare our findings with the EU and US investments in Africa. Applying the same method, we have observed that among the 31 top recipients of the EU 27 investment flows were authoritarian regimes (only 1 less than Chinese). These 18 countries represent 58% of the EU top investment destinations in Africa in 2010 187. In comparison, in 2010 the USA have invested more than 0,5 million USD in 23 African states. Out of these 23 countries 12 (52%) were authoritarian in 2010 188.
Although the majority of Chinese ODI are located in authoritarian regimes, it cannot be affirmed that these investments are preferably motivated by low democracy and high corruption perception index. An important fact to analyze when assessing Chinese interest in authoritarian regimes of Africa is the share of authoritarian regimes in Africa which the EU and US investors cannot avoid either. Thus, the share of these regimes in Chinese and EU investments are almost identical and the role of democracy index is proven similarly (un)important for both.
Mauritania, Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Gabon, Congo, Guinea, Sudan, DR Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea and Chad are authoritarian states of which more than half of their export revenues are based on natural resources (Table 3).
For the majority of these countries, natural resources are the only source of export revenues. They are located on the same side of unequal exchange as they were during colonialism. 19 countries 189 fulfil the condition of being authoritarian and belong to the top 31 beneficiaries of Chinese ODI flows in 2010.
All oil countries in Africa are authoritarian. Ten oil countries cover 9,3% (out of 9,5% in Africa) of the world’s proven oil reserves 190. Natural gas reCalculated on the basis of the Eurostat statistical data Calculated on the basis of the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the US Department of Commerce statistical data.
Madagascar, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Togo, Algeria, Cameroon, Niger, Angola, Gabon, Rwanda, Egypt, Congo, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Sudan, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Central African Republic BRITISH PETROL. 2011. BP Statistical Review of World Energy. [online]. 2011. [18.2.2012]. Available online: www.bp.com/statisticalreview serves are not as ample and diversified as oil in Africa. 7,5% of the world’s proven reserves of natural gas is located in Africa. Four states in Africa – Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Libya – own the world’s 7,3% proven natural gas 191. African coal reserves are rather insignificant, except for South African coal deposits. Ores and metal exports conspicuously contribute to export revenues of Mauritania, Morocco, Egypt, DR Congo, where they reached more than 1 billion USD in 2010. Export revenues from pearls, non-monetary gold and precious stones reached this margin in Morocco and Egypt in the same year.
China is the main customer for natural resources of Madagascar, Mauritania, The Gambia, Angola, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and DR Congo, where it purchases more than 20% of their exports. With the exception of Madagascar and The Gambia, the remaining 6 states belong to the 31 biggest beneficiaries of Chinese ODI flows in 2010.
In summary, the analysis of the composition of 31 top recipients of Chinese ODI flows in 2010 revealed 19 authoritarian countries, of which six export more than 20% of their natural resources to China. Zambia, ranking number 8 in China’s ODI flows destinations in Africa, was the only non-authoritarian regime exporting 31% of its natural resources to China. Other African economies reaching higher indices of democracy have their natural resource exports more diversified. 23 of the top recipients of Chinese ODI flows in 2010 were at the same time between the 31 top natural resource exporters to China. Thus the answer for the key question of the paper: “Does China primarily invest in resource-rich authoritarian countries of Africa?” is yes, indeed, she does. On the other hand, our analysis has shown absence of democracy is not the key determinant of Chinese ODI in Africa, whereas natural resources abundance is a highly motivating determinant.
Table 3 Authoritarian regimes of Africa and their structure of natural 10.
NTR Ex / TTL Ex – share of natural resource exports in the country’s total export NTR Ex to China/ TTL Ex – share of natural resource exports to China in the country’s total export – number or share of highlighted countries (biggest ODI recipients, countries dependent on NTR Ex, biggest exporters of certain NTR categories, countries where NTR Ex to China is higher than 20% of TTL NTR Ex) Own elaboration using UNCTAD data.
5. Conclusion China is often criticized for her engagement in Africa, mainly because of neo-mercantilist trade pattern and investments in non-democratic resource-rich states of Africa. Chinese government officials have denied these accusations and officially present China’s friendship with Africa on global forums. This paper has analysed the statistical data published on Chinese ODI stock and flows in Africa in quest for discovery of the causality between them and the natural resources of African authoritarian states. The regression analysis has proven the connection between the Chinese ODI stock and imports of natural resources from African countries. The connection with low rule of law remains unproved.
We have further monitored Chinese investments in the authoritarian regimes of Africa. Should there be a link between Chinese investments and authoritarian regimes, we would expect the main recipients of Chinese ODI in Africa to be countries with authoritarian regimes. In other words, top 31 Chinese ODI recipients would be identical with the existing 31 authoritarian regimes in Africa. Our analysis has proven that the majority of authoritarian regimes in Africa (19 out of 31) belonged to the group of major 31 recipients of the Chinese ODI. However, authoritarian regimes were the major destinations for the US and EU investments as well. An obvious reason for this is the high number of authoritarian regimes in Africa. All major oil countries in Africa are authoritarian. The same applies to countries rich in natural gas. As a result, when investing and trading with African countries rich in oil and natural gas, authoritarian regimes cannot be avoided.
Bibliography 1. British Petrol (2011). BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
www.bp.com/statisticalreview Accessed 18.2.2012.
2. Economist Intelligence Unit (2010). Index of Democracy 2010.
http://graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy_Index_2010_web.pdf Accessed 19.10.2011.