This piece was published in The East African (Nairobi) February 6-11 2012. (Web version, missing a by-line, here.)
China’s gift to the African Union of a US$200 million headquarters in Addis Ababa symbolises not only the Asian giant’s increased engagement with Africa, but also the nature of that engagement.
Whilst the West has—since the end of the Cold War, at least—ostensibly striven to promote ‘sound macroeconomic management’ and ‘good governance,’ China’s style has simply been to do business with whoever is in power. Air-conditioned debating chambers for ruling elites are a logical sweetener.