Ghana and China: Opportunities for Growth?

China has just emerged as the world’s largest economy, finally overtaking the United States. China’s economic growth over the last two decades has been nothing short of spectacular, and it now has the largest middle class population in the world, some 300 million Chinese. China with her 1.357 billion people is courted by the European Union and the United States, and Western businesses. Yet China’s political economy is a paradox at three levels. Firstly, China is both a developed and a developing country. Though economically ascendant, millions of Chinese still live in poverty as the state struggles to raise their standard of living and to find resources to develop its backward provinces especially in the West. Secondly, China is a command economy with a significant market component. This explains the peculiarities of its economic system, in which the largest multinational companies such as Sino Hydro, which are state-owned-enterprises, co-exist in the market with several privately owned businesses. Thirdly, China is only now transitioning from being a factor-driven economy to being an efficiency-driven one. It is yet to graduate to the third and highest level and become an innovation-driven economy. China’s developed/developing status explains what has been described as the “three faces” of China in Africa: the presence of the Chinese state, private multinational companies, and individual adventurers in Africa looking for economic opportunities.

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