An Open University research programme is evaluating the impact of the Asian country's dynamic growth on low-income economies.
China's economic growth has averaged 8 to 10 percent for the past two decades. As the economy expands, the country's need for energy, metal and food resources is also growing, and China's businesses are looking for new markets to expand into.
Africa has provided an avenue to address these opportunities. It holds the world's largest unexploited reserves for base metals and energy. These sectors are increasingly being targeted by Chinese enterprises, in return for building the infrastructure that Africa needs. China has used aid, trade and foreign direct investment to make inroads into a number of African countries.
On the back of these large-scale projects, there has also been a huge increase in the number of independent Chinese migrants who live and work with Africans on a daily basis.
China has used aid, trade and foreign direct investment to make inroads into African countries.
The long-term effects of these processes are being examined in the OU's Asian Drivers programme. The majority of the research focuses on how China's engagement with Africa changes the 'traditional' way of doing things in African countries, and what opportunities and risks lie in such an engagement.
The Asian Drivers programme is part of Development Policy and Practice at the OU.