Would China’s anti-corruption campaign have positive spill over effects in Africa?

Briber}' deals are more expectant between China and Africa in comparison to other international deals. Corruption is something entrenched in the culture. Whereas China is characterised by its guanxi and gift-giving culture, African deals are known to involve bribes often wrapped as ‘good service gifts’. A toxic mix when it comes to the determent of global briber}'. The duty to combat corruption appears to be predominantly a political duty. Corruption has been a decades-long problem with little indication of political change in the near future; the prospect of looking to China for a glimmer of hope could be enticing. It is doubtful that China’s anti-corruption campaign will substantially decrease corruption in Africa.[1] It remains to be seen whether it is possible for a country with a poor record of anti-corruption to export an efficient model to Africa. Chinese MNCs’ proactive actions could help incentivise behavioural change and thus reduce corruption in Africa. However, this must be based on certain circumstances. It is worth examining the Chinese approaches’ spill over effect on African anti-corruption.

Beijing model’s ideological inspiration

Ideologically, China’s anti-corruption campaign may serve as a model, inspiring some of Africa’s more authoritarian leaders. The Beijing Model could convince those governments that undertaking a serious anti-corruption campaign does not necessarily mean opening the door to full democracy. Even so, the credibility of China’s campaign may inspire African leaders to address the largest hindrance to economic development while keeping their power. China’s anti-corruption campaign has been removing key players who facilitated corruption in Africa. There is the case, for instance, of Sam Pa, the ‘controversial businessman credited with spearheading China’s spectacular drive into Africa over the last two decades.’. While functioning as dealmaker for the Queensway Group, a shadow}' organisation responsible for many multibillion-dollar transactions between African countries and Chinese businesses, Pa allegedly bribed countless

African officials, in addition to providing support to some of the continent’s unaccountable governments. Pa was then swept up in a Chinese anti-corruption investigation. The removal of corrupt and corruption-inducing figures like Pa could decrease corruption, as well as signal that the Chinese government is moving away from allowing purely profit-driven capitalism, and toward a more formalized, less corrupt form of engagement.[2]

  • [1] Katie King, ‘What Does China’s Anticorruption Campaign Mean for Africa?’ The Global Anticorruption Blojj(25 January 2016). 2 Ibid.
  • [2] Ibid. 2 Ibid. 3 Dernas (n 6) 369. 4 King (n 94). 5 UNODC’s Action against Corruption and Economic Crime, UNODC (2013) 1 June 2020.
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