Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 04/2011

The backstory of China and India's growing investment and trade with Africa: Separating the wheat from the chaff

Harry G. Broadman

February 2011

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


The dramatic increase in recent years of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in sub-Saharan Africa by firms from Asia-notably China and India-has become an emotionally charged issue. This is not surprising, since the resulting greater integration into international markets is exposing African firms and workers to greater competition, an inevitable by-product of development in today's globalized economy. Most assessments of this topic, with few exceptions, have relied on anecdotes and subjective judgments. Meaningful policy recommendations require systematic, objective analysis.