Tracing the Legacy: China's Historical Aid and Contemporary Investment in Africa

Pippa Morgan and Yu Zheng
Publication Date: 
September 1st, 2019

This article gives primacy to the effect of sociohistorical factors on foreign direct investment (FDI). A case study examining links between Chinese foreign aid to Africa from 1956 to 1999 and contemporary Chinese FDI there reveals a significant and positive connection between past foreign aid and contemporary FDI. The logic behind this pattern is that past foreign aid created social capital in host countries that generates specific resources for contemporary foreign investors, increasing their interest in host countries where social capital has accumulated. A sociohistorical approach also illuminates the divergence between Chinese FDI flows and patterns of foreign investment elsewhere.

This publication originally appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 3 (September 2019), pp. 558-573. It is viewable at Copyright remains with the original holders.