Redefining Foreign Policy Impulses toward Africa: The Roles of the MFA, the MOFCOM and China Exim Bank

Lucy Corkin


It has long been recognised that the actors involved in crafting and implementing China’s foreign policy are not always in agreement. This paper argues that the prioritisation of commercial outreach over purely political objectives in Africa has led to a shift in influence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). To that end, the paper examines the rising prominence of China Exim Bank’s concessional loans as a foreign policy instrument in Africa along with the process through which they are negotiated and implemented. Using the case of Angola, this paper shows how despite formal institutional equality, the MOFCOM is playing a far more influential role than the MFA is in defining the direction of China’s foreign policy toward Africa.

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