Publication Date

April 2011


Michael Nelson


College of Social Studies


English (United States)


This thesis asks the overarching question, How are European Union (EU) development assistance policies in oil-rich African states changing in response to China’s increasing presence on the continent? Overall, I find that China is a relevant stimulus to European policy changes, but only within certain frameworks. Indeed, I find that the greater the ideological or economic competition posed by the Chinese in a given country, the greater the chance that the EU will re-evaluate its sectoral foci and increase its conditionality emphases. Yet political considerations for power and security offer minimal explanatory power for why European development policies change in response to China’s presence in an oil-rich African country. Europe is not attempting to outmanoeuvre China diplomatically through multilateral dialogues, nor is it attempting to maintain firm access to vital energy resources.



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