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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Bjorn H. Nordtveit

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Mosselson

Third Advisor

Mzamo P. Mangaliso

Subject Categories

African Studies | Asian Studies | Development Studies | Economic Theory | Educational Sociology | Education Policy | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | International Relations | Macroeconomics | Political Economy | Sociology of Culture


This dissertation research attempts to distinguish China’s model from that of the traditional North-South relationship, with a focus on how China’s philosophy articulates its foreign policy and the nation’s higher education engagement with African countries. It examines the China-Africa higher education partnership in response to China’s discourse on South-South Cooperation (SSC), Africa’s human resource flows, and the benefits and constraints of current China-Africa cooperation. In order to achieve these goals, the dissertation uses one of the China-Africa partnership universities in China, Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) as a site for its field research. The fieldwork looks at both a student level (e.g., studying experience and human capacity building) and an institutional level (e.g., university policy for foreign student management), aims to gauge the partnership’s potential effects on African countries by examining the African students’ motivation for and perceptions of studying and living in China, their plans after graduation, and opinions on cooperation and development. Research data came from national and institutional statistics, and 75 interviewees from ZJNU, including African students, students of other nationalities, Chinese students, and Chinese faculty members. The dissertation has six chapters. The first three chapters provide background information, discuss theoretical framework, and describe the methodologies applied for the fieldwork research. The following chapters attempt to deconstruct research questions and explore China’s discourse on SSC, and to analyze its engagement with Africa’s higher education and human capacity building by looking into China’s Africa policy and China’s alternative model of development (with Chinese characteristics). Since each research component is inextricably linked with China’s socio-economic development and policy changes, the analysis for the field research has the potential to open up areas of knowledge that have been overlooked in the past few decades.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.