Author: Giles Mohan.
Mohan, Giles. 2010. "China in Ghana: Easing the Shift from Aid Dependency to Oil Economy?." 149 7.
These are interesting times for Ghana. The country is a long-standing donor
‘success’, transitioned smoothly to democ
racy, and the economy has been performing
reasonably well. Recently the Chinese have stepped up diplomatic relations, largely
through aid, as they have with many African countries that serve their geopolitical and
economic ends. But with the discovery of oil things have changed quickly. The Chinese
and other Asian investors are seeking deals backed by oil revenues which could see
Ghana moving away from being aid dependent. Moreover the ‘established’ donors of the
OECD are worried about Ghana’s turn to these seemingly riskier and un-transparent
forms of finance which they see as destabili
sing hard won efforts at donor harmonisation.
Yet the Ghana story suggest deeper tensions between approaches to development –one
centred on ‘softer’ institutional agendas and the other on ‘harder’ economic ones of
infrastructure and growth–. The Chinese approach favours the latter, which is also
something African governments are keen to pursue, so the changing aid and investment
landscape may presage major changes in the ethos and direction of African development.