The Dragon's Gift

The Dragon's Gift reviews or media comments:

Foreign Affairs featured it in their Books of Note (January/February 2010).

The Independent (UK) picked it as Book of the Week on January 1, 2010: 

Morning Star gave it a nice review January 5, 2010 (Warning: the reviewer says approvingly that I say that China invests more in African manufacturing than in mining. I don't say that. Not only is that highly unlikely, I have not actually seen any published data on sectoral breakdown of China's African investments since 2000.)

Several Chinese newspapers have featured the book, and Nanfang Dushi Ribao (Southern Metropolitan Weekly) reviewed it.

One of my favorite comments so far comes from the title of a story published after I spoke at UCLA:  "Author hits 'reset' on story of China in Africa" (January 27, 2010).

USC China Institute: News & Features "The Dragon's Gift: China in Africa," University of Southern California, January 26, 2010:  "Brautigam presents her thorough “effort to seek truth through facts” in the hopes of revealing the story for what it is—a quest for mutual benefit."

Howard French, the former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and West Africa gave it a generous review inThe National.

In Paris, Xavier Harel from La Tribune came to the launch and did a story on The Dragon's Gift, February 24, 2010: "Mythes et réalités sur la Chinafrique."

Pamela Glass de St. Antoine from Le Mauricien Weekend reviewed the book on February 21: "New Book by US Author Says Chinese Investment is Positive for Africa."  "... Brautigam challenges what she sees as the myths and misconceptions that China's push into the continent - building dams, highways, railroads, ports hospitals and airports - is bad for Africa and the Africans."

Kevin Kelly, "Chinese role 'superior' to the West's in Africa," The East African, March 1, 2010 story on The Dragon's Gift.

Sarah Standish in Mercy Corps website and online newsletter Global Envision, "China May Succeed Where the West Failed." March 1, 2010.

Reviewed March 2, 2010 by Peter Wood, Asian Review of Books, who said: "This is an important addition to the already considerable literature on China-Africa. Policy makers and journalists should read it, and in particular those who run the foreign desks of leading western newspapers and who seem to be peculiarly willing to sacrifice reality to a good headline."

Angilee Shah, in Zocalo: Public Square "How Does China Help Africa?" (March 9, 2010): "If the headlines are any indication, it’s time for a proper China scare ... But Deborah Brautigam’s exhaustive account of Chinese aid and investment in the continent is by no means part of this trend. ...  the book is the culmination of some 30 years of research and experience in both places ... As Brautigam moves us beyond assumptions of exploitation and control of natural resources, a more complex story emerges.

Peter Bosshard in the Huffington Post March 17, 2010:  "Based on her intimate knowledge of China and Africa, Brautigam is able to shatter many prejudices ... her thoughtful and well researched book ... offers surprising insights and challenges us to take a new look at Africa's development."

Stephen Marks, in Pambazuka, "China in Africa: Realism Conquers Myth," (March 18, 2010):  "An account at once scholarly and accessible, combining the puncturing of prevalent myths with a realist approach that does not rely on rosy assumptions [and] ...  documents a number of ‘urban myths’, which her own painstaking research has managed to explode."

Daniel Large, in The Broker, "Great Expectations." (April 13, 2010):  "Her clearly written account successfully weaves together knowledge of the African and Chinese contexts, overcoming the prevailing divide in the academic literature between those familiar with either Africa or China. ...Any book claiming to tell ‘the real story’ sets its standards high, but this one succeeds admirably. For those interested in China–Africa relations, it enriches the field, defines new research standards and is constructively provocative. For those new to the subject, it is an essential text about a compelling, increasingly consequential relationship."

Rob Crilly, April 14, 2010 in Irish Times:  "Damning View of Western Aid to Africa Puts Chinese Rogue Status in Perspective."  "... a compelling argument. ... the inescapable conclusion is that China may not be the rogue donor of popular imagination."

Louise Windfeld-HØeberg, in the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen, April 16, 2010: The review is in Danish, but according to Google Translator, it seems to conclude: "Brautigam is also an unusually eloquent scholar with a sharp-edged, almost journalistic approach to her material, making The Dragon's Gift not only an enthusiastic and engaging book, but a pure joy to read."

Helmut Riesen, in the monthly French magazine Les Enjeux, published by Les Echos: May 2010 "Porquoi La Chine Investit L'Afrique". Riesen says: Deborah Brautigam nous donne les cles pour comprendre les raisons de l'engagement chinois en Afrique. Elle fournit un compte rendu impartial qui souligne comment la Chine pourrait contribuer a la reduction de la pauvrete sur le continent."

Prof. Sean Burges in International Affairs, v. 86, n. 3, 2010:
"Policy-makers and pundits from the member countries of the OECD’s Development Assistance committee (DAC) are perplexed as to what China means for Africa. Should they be worried about the massive flows of Chinese aid and investment into the continent, or is this something to be welcomed? Deborah Bräutigam’s superb book, the fruit of decades of research and travel throughout Africa and China, is precisely the sort of careful treatmentof the subject that they need to guide their deliberations. Indeed, this highly accessible and rigorous book may come to be viewed as a canonical text in the China–Africa development debate."

Nick Young, founder of China Development Brief, May 28, 2010 on his blog Nick Young Writes (An abridged version of this review essay, also discussing Paul Collier’s new book The Plundered Planet, appears on the Nation Media Group (Kenya)’s Africa Review website.) "Deborah Brautigam’s book is a useful antidote to such hysteria, correcting not just inherent bias but gross factual errors circulated by a string of prestigious media houses, international financial institutions, private think tanks and NGOs."

"The Gifts of the Dragons" by Greg Penfold in Leadership (South Africa). June 4, 2010.

Stephanie Hanson in Global Post:  June 27, 2010: "As a superb new book by Deborah Brautigam argues, infrastructure projects are opportunities for Chinese construction firms to gain a foothold abroad, and to potentially win future contracts from the private sector or from the international donor community. In "The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa," Brautigam offers a trenchant analysis of how China views its engagement with Africa, drawing on decades of experience working in West and southern Africa and China. Rather than viewing the continent as a charity case, Brautigam suggests, China sees Africa as a younger version of itself. ...  "The Dragon’s Gift" is a must read. The prevailing narrative about China in Africa says more about Western fears and anxieties about China than it does about the true nature of China’s engagement with Africa.

Solange Guo Chatelard in La Vie Des Idees: July 16, 2010: "...a clear analysis of Chinese aid and state-sponsored economic activities which seek to dispel common misperceptions that pervade existing debates. Through a fast paced and entertaining style which reflects the speed and directedness of unfolding realities in Africa and in China, Brautigam paints an exciting picture of an unprecedented phenomenon, despite what prevailing views claim. The thrust of her argument is both clear and highly relevant and will certainly open the door for new exciting future research on the topic."

International Business Times Palash R. Ghosh's article "The Dragon in Africa: An Overview of China's Presence on the Continent." July 31, 2010. The story says "Brautigam estimates that in 2007, Chinese investment in Africa totaled about $1.4 billion, far smaller than the outlays by the U.S., European Union and World Bank of $7.6 billion, $5.4 billion, and $6.9 billion, respectively, for that year." However, what Brautigam was actually discussing in that section was "official development assistance", not "investment". As she also points out, it's really key to compare "apples with apples" and it's also important to use consistent terms for different kinds of financial flows. Investment by companies is quite different from aid from governments or international institutions.

Stanford economist Ronald McKinnon reviews The Dragon's Gift, in International Finance v. 13, n. 3 (2010) (to access the review click here). McKinnon says:
In learning about China in Africa, Deborah Brautigam is hard to beat. She uses more than thirty years of experience from personal contacts on both the Chinese and African sides to develop great institutional insights into their economic interactions.
From India's Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi, a review by Senior Research Fellow Jabin Jacob, who says: "The book deserves to be widely read for an understanding of ‘rising’ China’s foreign policy – economic and political."

The Weekly Standard November 1, 2010Vol. 16, No. 07, carries a review of The Dragon's Gift by Human Rights Watch's Asia advocacy director Sophie Richardson: "Anyone writing these days about the Chinese government’s global influence—and especially the role of Chinese foreign aid and investment—must read this book. It is one of the strongest works available about the practices of Chinese aid, decrypting various aid packages to African governments, and raising key questions about whether waves of Chinese aid and investment should really be the cause for concern as they are so often portrayed."

The International Monetary Fund's Finance & Development December 2010, v. 47, n. 4: "Professor Brautigam is supremely qualified to write such a book ... Professor Brautigam repeatedly and convincingly makes the case that Chinese economic involvement in Africa is often misunderstood." The IMF reviewer was frustrated, however, that Professor Brautigam couldn't provide hard data on Chinese aid (which remains a state secret), but had to painstakingly make estimates woven out of bits of information released over time and interviews.

A review by Emmanuel Botlhale, University of Botswana, in African Studies Quarterly v. 10, n. 1 (Fall 2010):
"jargon-free language, extensive sources and endnotes, and objectivity and candor in dissecting the body of the Sino-African relationship. To this end, the objectivity dimension deserves further mention in the sense that Brautigam labors under no illusion that it is all wines and roses when it comes to China’s engagement in Africa."
A South African economist at the World Bank, Brian Levy, reviews The Dragon's Gift in the January 2011 issue ofGovernance:
The book is rich in vivid anecdotes. While written for a general audience, the depth of knowledge and insight that informs it (Brautigam’s work for over three decades has focused on both China and Africa) also makes it indispensable for scholars focused on both China and on African development. A short review cannot do justice to its wealth of revealing detail ... Reading the book leaves me feeling quite optimistic that, in an interdependent world, China’s involvement could turn out to be a valuable asset for African countries—an important contributor to a twenty first-century turnaround across the African continent..
The Dragon's Gift was selected as one of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2010 (under Economics). Clickhere for the September 2010 review.

Laura Fitch reviews The Dragon's Gift for City Weekend (Beijing), April 14, 2011.

Thomas Moody reviews The Dragon's Gift in Think Africa Press July 28, 2011.

Suresh George reviews The Dragon's Gift in the journal Regional Studies, 45:6 (2011).

Barry Sautman reviews The Dragon's Gift in the #1 ranked China Journal, 66, (July 2011).

Jane Golley reviews The Dragon's Gift in Economic Record, 87: 501–502(August 2011)

Oliver Stuenkel reviews The Dragon's Gift in Post Western, August 15, 2011. I particularly like that he said I am "a great adventurer".

Shanghai TimeOut reports that The Dragon's Gift was the #1 best-selling book at Shanghai's Garden bookstore in November 2010 (this courtesy of Dambisa Moyo).

The Guardian's Development picked The Dragon's Gift as one of 22 books all  development students should read (September 2011).
The analysis in The Dragon's Gift has also been featured in several articles:
  • Sharon LaFraniere and John Grobler, "China Spreads Aid in Africa, With a Catch for Recipients," New York Times, September 22, 2009.
  • Isabelle Oderberg for Business Spectator, January 29, 2010: "...Contrary to some suggestions, however, the story does not begin with China bounding into Africa, all guns blazing, to strip it of all of its commodities ..." 
  • Goh Sui Noi, "Will Chinese Growth Model Fly in Africa?" The Straits Times (Singapore), February 3, 2010.
  • Tania Branigan in The GuardianFebruary 14, 2010:   " Professor Deborah Brautigam, whose recent bookThe Dragon's Gift examines the Chinese presence in Africa, said that, while some there see China as "the new colonialist", others have welcomed it. "African leaders and commentators expressing this view are not naive about Chinese interest in Africa. But they actually like to hear the Chinese talk about investment opportunities instead of aid [and] are intrigued by models such as the resource-backed infrastructure loans," she said.
  • The Economist, March 18, 2010: "Crumbs from the BRIC-Man's Table"  "Deborah Brautigam, author of a new book on China’s role in Africa [The Dragon's Gift], says the BRICs’ emergence as aid donors is as important for poor countries as was the fall of the Berlin Wall for eastern Europe. But just as that event did not solve the region’s problems at a stroke, so it is in Africa now. The search for good government goes on." 
  • The New York Times, quotes Deborah Brautigam in an April 25, 2010 article on China's engagement in Niger "After a Coup, Niger Resumes Business as Usual with China." This article points out that although the Chinese were widely viewed as propping up the previous government and helping prevent democracy, after the coup, they moved smoothly into a new, and seemingly equally harmonious relationship with the post-coup government, which has promised to bring democracy to the country. 
  • Interview with International Affairs Forum, April 2010.
  • Jonathan Kandell at Institutional Investor: "China's Africa Investments Produce Modest Returns," May 28, 2010
  • Foreign Policy: "Chinese Take-out" by Aziz Huq, June 15, 2010: As China-Africa expert Deborah Brautigam's careful work shows, China has on some occasions acted as a surprisingly responsible lender, for example using resource-backed infrastructure loans that force some gains to be reinvested in development. Although many have warned of a new Sino-colonialism, Brautigam's work suggests that perhaps China's awareness of its gargantuan and growing need for foreign export markets will make it a better "colonial" power than any European country ever was. 
  • Hu Yang, "Chinese Tuition Offers Solutions to Africans, Business Daily, June 21, 2010.
  • Manuela Zoninsein, "Nigeria Secures Chinese Agreement for Refineries," Engineering News Record, June 21, 2010.
  • Triple Crisis Blog (A project of GDAEEconomic Research Foundation, and the Heinrich Boell Foundation): video of Beijing interview with Deborah Brautigam. July 2010.
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency, Tokyo, "News from the Field" on the public lecture by Deborah Brautigam in Tokyo, July 16, 2010. 
  • Inter-Press Service, "Nigeria; New Refinery Planned for Lagos Free Trade Zone," July 18, 2010.
  • Inter-Press Service, "Africa; China - Outsmarting the West in Africa," Davison Makanga Interviews Deborah Brautigam, July 18, 2010.
  • The Beijinger, "China in Africa: A Dragon's Gift?" Interview with Christine Laskowski, July 19, 2010.
  • Harvard Crimson, Postcard from Ravi N. Mulani : "'New Colonialism'? Try 'Good Investment'." July 22, 2010.
  • Business Daily Africa, July 22, 2010.  "Chinese Learn Local Languages to Grow Trade." Deborah Brautigam interviewed by Davison Makanga at IPS: "What the Chinese are saying is that there are different ways to develop and it doesn’t all have to be with Washington’s consensus." 
  • John Sexton on, "US Expert Challenges Myths about China in Africa." July 23, 2010. 
  • The National, August 23, 2010. Daniel Bardsley, "China's Work in Africa Scrutinized."
  • Rachel Horner, "Ibrahim Ben Kargbo's Claims Challenged," Concord Times (Freetown), September 15, 2010
  • Gillian Wong, "China Rises and Rises and Yet Still Gets Foreign Aid," Associated Press, September 26, 2010.
  • Nancy MacDonald, Maclean's (Canada), "Beijing's New Playing Field: Beijing's massive investment raises a host of thorny issues. But is it also Africa's best chance to get ahead?" September 30, 2010.
  • The Daily Maverick, South Africa,"Why China Needs Africa More." October 27, 2010.
  • Isabelle Nanton and Nicholas Norbrook in the Africa Report, November 25, 2010.
  • Fast Company, Jenara Nerenberg, "China's (Africa) Public Image Crusade," December 23, 2010.
  • Tim Siegenbeek van Henkelom, "Quantitative vs. Qualitative Assessment of Land Grabs," State of Affairs, January 10, 2011.
  • Khadija Sharife, "China and Nigeria's Oil," New Age, January 27, 2011. 
  • Steven Barbosa, "Congo's $6 Billion China Accord: Deal of the Century or Africa's 'Great Chinese Takeout'?" Atlanta Post, March 2, 2011.
  • Dan Morrison at Slate: "Sudan Cracks Up: South Sudan's Oil Curse." March 4, 2011.  
  • Matthew Pennington, AP Newswire: "US Foreign Aid Faces Cuts as China's Reach Grows," March 24, 2010.    
  • Marc Cohen, Non-Profit Quarterly, "Republicans Propose Devastating Cuts to Development Aid," March 28, 2011.
  • Marcus Haefliger, "Chinas Unternehmer packen in Afrika an," in Neue Zürcher Zeitung March 31, 2011.
  • Angie Holan, "Libya Sells Most of Its Oil to Europe, Not China," Politifact, St. Petersburg Times, April 11, 2011.
  • Gillian Wong, Associated Press, "China Cites Positive Impact in First Report on Aid," April 21, 2011
  • Sigurd Bjornestad "Kina viktigere enn bistanden," Aftenposten (Norway) May 8, 2011
  • Sam Fleming, "Africa tightens its trading bond with China, but at what cost?" The Times (London), April 21, 2011.
  • Nils Petter Tanderø  "Ti ganger så store i utviklingsland," Nordens Nyheter, (Norway), May 8, 2011.
  • Samanth Subramanian, "India Bids for More Trade with African Nations," The National (AE), May 26, 2011. Notice that an Indian analyst at the Confederation of Indian Industries repeats the myth that Chinese companies "don't employ local people and they use no local materials."
  • Deborah Brautigam Interviewed by Collette Braekman: "La Chine Applique en Afrique sa propre strategie de developpement." Le Soir (Brussels), May 31, 2011.
  • Pranay Sharma, "Pugmarks in a Dragon's Den," Outlook Magazine (India), June 6, 2011. "Experts like Deborah Brautigam, author of Dragon’s Gift, a study of Chinese engagement with Africa, argue that much of the negative hype about China’s activities in the western media is motivated and aimed at countering Beijing’s growing role in the continent. In an interview, she said China had brought about a course correction in its policy, but this the media ignored reporting." 
  • Carolyn Graham, "This is not the way I'd imagined Bill Gates," Daily Mail, June 11, 2011. Bill Gates mentions that he is going to China soon and so he is reading The Dragon's Gift.
  • Jan Speed, "Trekk Laerdom av Kineserne," Bikstands Aktuel June 16, 2011 Oslo, Norway.
  • Peter Lee, "China Plays Long Game on African Copper," Asia Times Online, June 18, 2011. 
  • Isaac Odoom, "Contextualizing Hillary Clinton's 'New Colonialism' Remark," All Africa, June 23, 2011.
  • Matt Wade,"New Asia's Money Redraws the Aid Map," Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2011: "Deborah Brautigam, an American academic who has studied Chinese development assistance in Africa, has challenged the conventional wisdom that China's substantial increases in aid to the region are motivated by short-term commercial and strategic interests."
  • Mornings with Deborah Cameron, "Foreign Investment in Farmland in Australia and Abroad," live interview, Australia Broadcasting Corporation, July 7, 2011.
  • Leo Lewis, "Crafty Lothario or in For the Long Game?" The Times (London), July 15, 2011. 
  • Interview, "Expert Dispells Chinese Foreign Aid Myths," Radio Australia, Australia Broadcasting Corporation, July 18, 2011. 
  • Heiko Khoo. "David Cameron Warns Africa of a China Invasion," China View, August 4, 2011.
  • Shuang Gao, "The Human Side of the Sino-African Project," Open Democracy, September 23, 2011.
  • "Hue and Cry Over China's Role in Africa," Workers Vanguard, n. 987, September 30, 2011, p. 8.
  • Matthew Pennington, "Lawmakers Scrutinize US foreign aid to China," AP Newswire, November 15, 2011.
  • Nico Columbant, "Activists Confront Investors Over Tanzanian Land Deal," VOA News, November 17, 2011.
  • Wall Street Journal, "Chinese Workers Targeted as its Overseas Reach Grows," February 1, 2012.
  • "Why China's Engagement with Africa is on the Rise," Standard Media (Kenya), February 10, 2012.
  • William Davison, "Africa Rising: China Steps up Production in Ethiopia with drill instructors, investors,"Christian Science Monitor, April 3, 2012. 
  • Stuart Wiggin, "China's Non-interventionism at a Crossroad," April 14, 2012.
  • Yohannes Shebeshi 
and Nicholas Norbrook,"Ethiopia's industrial web, stitch by stitch | The Africa "Egypt's Industrial Web, Stitch by Stitch," The Africa Report, May 11, 2012.
  • Kaiser Kuo,"What's the Long Term Vision for China's Increased Investment in Africa?" Forbes, August 14, 2012.
  • Abdel-Rahman Hussein, Egypt Independent, "Morsy's Visit to China Reinforces Old Regime's Economic Ties,"  August 30, 2012.
  • People's Daily, September 7, 2012.
  • Yang Guang, "The Dragon Befriends the Springbok." China Daily, September 8, 2012. 
  • Tom Levitt, "What are the ecological costs of China's future food imports?" China Dialogue, September 10, 2012.
  • Sun Hao, Xinhua, September 14, 2012.
  • Yang Guangfu, "The Dragons' Gift for Africa," New Era (Namibia) September 19, 2012.
  • Interview, "Expert Dispells Chinese Foreign Aid Myths," Australia Broadcasting Corporation, July 18, 2011.
  • Webcast of BRICS: New Growth Drivers for Low Income Countries? Panel Discussion at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting, April 15, 2011. My presentation starts about 30 minutes into the panel and goes for 9 minutes.
  • China in Africa from Edward Bishop on Vimeo.A new (December 2010) mini-video by Edward Bishop:  6 minutes of fascinating Ghanaian-Chinese engagement with one European-American talking head (Deborah Brautigam) commenting.