Chinese investment, populist discourses and contemporary policy making in Zambia
Driven by across-the-board liberalizations and the commodity price boom, Zambia has recently experienced an upsurge in foreign ownership over key parts of its economy. Albeit investors from all over the world have sought to make the most of the current situation in Zambia, Chinese investors have been particularly present in all sectors of the Zambian economy. Foreign ownership, however, is not new to African societies and several African countries pursued indigenisation policies in the wake of independence to bring ownership back to their own citizens. Now indigenisation policies thrive again. This time disguised in terms like empowerment and unequal opportunities but just as politicised as in the 1970s. In light of the current anti-Chinese sentiments in Zambia, this paper seeks to further our understanding of private sector policy making in Zambia. It argues that populist politics, referring to traditional Copperbelt rhetoric, have enforced a role as minority middlemen upon the Chinese investors. This further segregates Chinese investors from other investors and has been a driving force in the anti-Chinese campaign in Zambia. To curb the critique of the growing foreign dominance over the economy, and in particular of the upsurge in Chinese investments, the ruling party has reverted to the use of nationalist policies.
Main Research Area:
Africa at a crosssroads. African Studies Accociatin 52nd Annual Meeting, 2009