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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Land grab in new garb: Chinese special economic zones in Africa
Author:Cowaloosur, Honita
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic terms:Mauritius
Subjects:free economic zones
land acquisition
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725843.2013.868674
Abstract:At the 2006 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, President Hu Jintao announced the establishment of Chinese Special Economic Zones in Africa (CSEZAs), based on China's own Special Economic Zone (SEZ) model, in the spirit of mutual development and cooperation. The Chinese government launched seven such projects across Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia and Mauritius. In most of these countries, there was social outcry over land expropriation for the construction of the CSEZAs and the resultant displacement of existing settlers. Seven years since their launch, the delayed CSEZA development only exacerbate the frustration of the host African communities as they contemplate whether the land they appropriated for the zone, at the expense of rural livelihoods, is getting an appropriate usage. Based on fieldwork carried out in China and Mauritius, this paper discusses how CSEZAs - which were initially launched as diplomatic development initiatives - get eclipsed by the land expropriation they entail. The case of Mauritius is particularly salient considering its size, location and outward economic dependence. The paper contemplates the extent to which land appropriation through CSEZAs can be equated to Chinese State land grab in Africa, and concludes on a note that resonates with Gopalakrishnan's observation that SEZs' only purpose is spatial presence. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]