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Title: China and Ethiopia : the political dynamics of economic relations in the new global order
Author: Gadzala, Aleksandra Weronika
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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How can political science account for the decision of African states to strengthen their ties with China, often at the expense of other alliances and often in the face of economic risks? This thesis explores this question in the context of relations between Ethiopia and China, especially in the context of investments made by Chinese sovereign wealth funds in the Ethiopian economy. To begin to answer this question this thesis recasts the China-Africa debate to focus on African, i.e. Ethiopian, agency. The focus is on how Ethiopia's political leaders make foreign policy decisions and on the factors that shape their preferences. This focus reveals the influence of cognitive variables on their foreign policy decisions; the influence of their guiding ideology, 'revolutionary democracy,' is especially key. An analysis of Ethiopia's formal institutions demonstrates they are inadequate to explain the policy choices of Ethiopian leaders; they have been designed to reflect the concepts of revolutionary democracy. Using the language of prospect theory, a descriptive theory of decision-making under risk, this thesis contends that Ethiopian leaders select foreign policy options by weighing their possible outcomes as gains or losses relative to revolutionary democracy as their reference frame. Ethiopian leaders sanctioned China's finance of the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation despite the monopoly it gave to China and its impact on Ethiopia's debt. They formed a front company between Ethiopia and China's military industrial complexes despite its negative effects on economic development. They opened Ethiopia’s regions to Chinese capital although capital flows only to state-owned enterprises. Yet in each case, ideological objectives were advanced. This examination demonstrates how non-structural factors play a critical role in a bureaucratized state. Theoretical frameworks that account for these factors, like prospect theory, are therefore valuable to more robust understandings of Ethiopia, and Africa's, deepening relations with China.
Supervisor: Anderson, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International studies ; Political ideologies ; Decision science ; Development economics ; Governance in Africa ; China ; Ethiopia ; sovereign wealth funds ; foreign policy ; ideology ; prospect theory