Kapazitätsbildende Funktionen von asymmetrischem Interregionalismus : die regionale Dimension der sino-afrikanischen Kooperation

Lammich, Georg GND

In dieser Arbeit wird eine hybride Form des Interregionalismus zwischen einer Region und einem Staat des globalen Südens betrachtet und somit die theoretische Perspektive der Interregionalismusforschung um die Süd-Süd-Dimension erweitert.
Anhand der Beziehungen der Afrikanischen Union zu China lässt sich verdeutlichen, welche konzeptuellen, institutionellen und inhaltlichen Herausforderungen es für Regionale Organisationen des globalen Südens bei der Etablierung als außenpolitische Akteure gibt und welche Funktionen interregionale Beziehungen für die Konsolidierung dieser Regionalen Organisationen ausüben können.
Der empirische Schwerpunkt dieser Arbeit liegt dabei auf der Analyse der funktionalen Leistungsbilanz der interregionalen Beziehungen zwischen China und der Afrikanischen Union und den daraus resultierenden Effekten für die Kapazitätsentwicklung der AU. Es werden dafür die Akteure, Institutionen und Interessen innerhalb der (interregionalen) Beziehungen zwischen der AU und China analysiert und die zentralen Aspekte der Zusammenarbeit bestimmt.
Aus theoretischer Perspektive sieht diese Arbeit die Beziehungen zwischen China und den regionalen sowie subregionalen Organisationen in Afrika als ein Beispiel für eine hybride kapazitätsbildende Form von Interregionalismus. Aus diesem Blickwinkel stellen China und die Afrikanische Union getrennte Analyseeinheiten dar, die als strategische und normative Akteure zueinander in Beziehung treten.
Während Chinas Rolle beim Prozess der regionalen Strukturbildung in Afrika in verschiedenen Publikationen zum Teil auch kritisch thematisiert wird, gibt es bisher keine umfangreichen systematischen Untersuchungen der Rahmenbedingungen interregionaler Kooperation zwischen China und Regionalen Organisationen in Afrika sowie der Effekte dieser Kooperation für den regionalen Entwicklungs- und Integrationsprozess auf dem Kontinent.
Die vorliegende Forschungsarbeit versucht, diese Forschungslücke zu schließen, und beschäftigt sich mit dem Einfluss von China als externem Akteur auf die regionale Kapazitätsbildung, Integration und Entwicklung in Afrika, mit Fokus auf die Afrikanische Union und das ihr angegliederte Entwicklungsprogramm NEPAD.

Until a few years ago, China had no specific policy to engage regional organizations in Africa and focused on advancing its bilateral relations with the states on the continent.
In recent years, however, China started to integrate a regional dimension in its African strategy, and new forms of cooperation with different regional and subregional actors in various thematic areas have been established.
While the rise of China in Africa has received a lot of attention, China’s engagement in multilateral and interregional dialogues on the continent is mostly uncharted.
The aim of this research project is to determine how China influences the structure, substance and dynamic of regional integration and capacity-building in sub-Sahara Africa with special regard to the African Union. The relationship between China and the regional- and sub-regional organizations in Africa is categorized as a hybrid form of ‘asymmetrical Interregionalism’ in which a regional organization, such as the African Union, interacts bilaterally with a single power.
Hybrid Interregionalism is defined as an arrangement between a regional grouping or organization with a single nation state located in another World region. These relationships approach, as in the case of a dominant position of a single state in its own region (USA in North America, China in East Asia), the same characteristics as classic forms of Interregionalism.
Based on the assumption that the actorness of a region has an impact on the effects of such a cooperation a framework of interregional functions is developed to analyze the effects China has on institution building, political diversification, security, development and identity building in the AU.
The qualitative difference in international actorness prevents a systemic impact of this cooperation and instead fosters internal capacity building within the African Union.
The relations and interactions between China and the African Union (AU) have intensified in recent years and have become, to a certain degree, institutionalized. New structures have been established, not just with the full membership of the AU in the Forum of China African Cooperation (FOCAC) but also with the implementation of the AU-China strategic dialogue mechanism and various other initiatives.
These frameworks are mostly aimed at economic development and security promotion, and have a consultative character and no or very limited decision-making power. The emergence of these new institutions within the body of the AU is not a reception of Chinese structures but a reaction to the interaction with an external partner that requires an adaptation of the internal system.
Due to structural deficits, a lack of coordination between the different levels, insufficient institutional capacities at the AU level and the preference of African states for national solutions instead of a joint African approach, China is hesitant to prioritize regional relations in many key areas. Bilateral cooperation is for China still the most efficient and pragmatic approach for dealing with Africa. But even with this limited confidence in the current capabilities of the AU, China has intensified its dialogue with the AU and considerably increased its financial support.
This support is on the one hand based on the speculation that the African Union will develop the potential to become a crucial actor on the continent and on the other hand on initiatives of the AU who claiming a stronger position for itself in the Sino-African dialogue. China gains a potential ally and, in the case that the AU becomes a success story, China has proven itself as a reliable partner at, compared to other bilateral investments, small costs. Additionally China has, besides a possible future rationalizing of its relationship with the African continent, already profited from its close interaction with the AU in terms of legitimizing its African policy.
The African Union has much to gain from an intensified relationship with China and tries to position itself as a strategic important partner for China. China, which credits the AU with the potential to become a strong actor in the region, is regularly following AU initiatives to institutionalize the setting of their relationship and create new dialogue frameworks. Moreover, other Chinese investments in AU infrastructure and capacity are part of the expectations from Beijing that the AU is a cornerstone for rationalizing Sino-African relations.
Beijing is in favor of proactive involvement from the African member states in the FOCAC process and is not insisting on its dominant role as agenda-setter. Both sides hold expectations that the AUC is becoming a catalyst for African interests and is the main reference for China in Africa.

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Lammich, Georg: Kapazitätsbildende Funktionen von asymmetrischem Interregionalismus. die regionale Dimension der sino-afrikanischen Kooperation. 2019.

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