South-East Relations, less patronizing
"An increasing proportion of Africans have grown disenchanted with the poor track record of Western development cooperation - of the tendency to give aid with one hand and to retrieve it with the other through unfair trade practices and debt structures. Africa’s response to development
assistance is thus changing. North-South relations are being superseded by South-East relations, with major implications for Africa’s development.
Unlike the West, China avoids the language of aid and development assistance and instead prefers the language of solidarity, mutual beneficial economic cooperation, common prosperity, and shared developing country status. This acknowledgement coupled with the much needed strategic investments, that have helped many African countries register impressive growth rates for the first times in many decades, are clear indicators of why countries like China are being seen as partners in development."
Although much has gone into discussing the business and (lack of) political dealings of China in Africa, China may also helping Africa's insecurities. Africa has been battling a negative image on world media since the beginning of colonization. Negative images have continued to overwhelm a global understanding of Africa. A constant and endless dialogue concerning anyone's inabilities can be debilitating. Much like telling a person they aren't good for much on their own at length will eventual affect their confidence and make them internalize this negative message, Africa has battled to stay confident.
Dependency theory goes beyond economics to psychology. For Africa to be treated as a continent in their own right could be a potentially very powerful change in the tides. However, reversing centuries of negativity will be a long and slow process. People may chose patience in the mean time.
Sources:South Africa Node, October 2010: