Integrating the knowledge economy with the prestige economy: Towards establishing a Centre for Africa-China Research at the University of Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana; www.ub.bw
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The pace at which China’s economy is growing and the influence the country is exerting across the world have disrupted the post Cold War economic order and are posing a threat to the position of the United States of America as the world’s largest economy, and the only global superpower. Although still a developing country by Western standards, China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second largest economy. China’s eyes are now set on the USA, a country whose economy China may overtake in the next two decades. Although China’s unprecedented economic growth and increased influence are a cause for concern, Africa may be particularly vulnerable to this expansionism because it has the economic space for China to occupy. In response, there has recently been a resurgence of interest from the USA as manifested in part through the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). The Africa-China Research Group (ACRG) at the University of Botswana, set up to conduct research on Africa –China relations, considers China’s expansion more likely to continue than to reverse. The Group concludes that the best way to respond to this emerging socio-political change in the global landscape is to establish mutually beneficial academic relationships with China. This relationship can be facilitated by establishing research centres that focus on relationships between China and Africa. At the University of Botswana, such a centre would need to adopt a pan African perspective in order not to miss the inter-linkages between China and the rest of Africa. Hence, the ACRG’s proposal for a Centre for Africa-China Research should be situated within the context of similar centres and institutes that have been established throughout the world with a focus on China’s international relations. Such a centre, we propose, would involve various stakeholders such as scholars, university management and government policymakers, all of whom are the target readership of this paper. Cooperation is the sine qua non amongst members of the global community, but such cooperation is dependent upon the knowledge economy and a research centre at UB would facilitate the generation of knowledge.
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