Organization: The University of Development Studies
Location: Tamale, Ghana
Southern Partners? China and Ghana’s Northern Regions: African Perspectives
The changing nature of the international political economy and landscape of development practice has been irrevocably altered by China’s global rise in political and economic pre-eminence. China’s emergence as a major actor in the development trajectories of African nations has, in recent years, threatened to displace the mainstream development model, which has traditionally been dominated by the West’s neoliberal conditionality-driven development agenda. Alternatively, Chinese diplomats have emphasized partnerships with southern countries that claim to be based on anti-imperialist horizontal principles of mutual benefit and equality. This study aims to voice African perspectives on China’s Southern partnership with Ghana, with a particular emphasis on the country’s northern regions—an area traditionally left behind by colonial and post-colonial export-oriented development priorities. This study’s findings suggest that China’s Southern partnership with Ghana is complex, made-up of both complementary and competitive implications for industrialization and the economic development of the country. Regardless of rhetoric or development partner, participants suggest that their country can only achieve significant levels of development and bridge the north-south development divide if Ghanaians become active participants in the decisions which affect the development of their country. Furthermore, it is suggested that the Ghanaian government create a strategy, similarly to how the West and China have created an ‘African strategy,’ to triangulate between donors, and negotiate development partnerships that prioritize the wellbeing of the Ghanaian people.