Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Robert. Pauly

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Tom Lansford

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. Joseph Weinberg

Committee Member 3 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 4

Dr. Faridi Tavana

Committee Member 4 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Abstract

Despite the assistance received from the 1960s to the 2010s, Africa is still the poorest continent on Earth. Why is Africa still struggling with development? Why is any assistance received, whether through aid and/or loans, not sustainable? What does sustainable development look like? This dissertation utilizes a descriptive comparative qualitative case study methodological approach to determine which strategies are most effective in achieving sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This research adds to the existing body of knowledge by comparing China’s and America’s economic, social, environmental, and institutional development strategies—specifically comparing a strategy supported by structuralist theories versus post-development theories. This research also adds a practical nature to this research area because actual projects that are being conducted by the U.S. and China in Sub-Saharan Africa are assessed to determine their sustainability. This has the capability of adding evidence to support or refute other findings on not just sustainable development research but also research on the identities and interests of actors in the international system.

Based on the findings presented and analyzed in the dissertation, both the U.S. and Chinese strategies have been effective in achieving sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States has a holistic development approach that focuses on training and building capacity. China focuses on infrastructure that can serve as a solid foundation for economic growth. The United States should understand that China is more successful in some African countries because they give development assistance with few or no conditions. China should consider the effects of development on the environment and reconsider their “state-secret development assistance strategy. Both nations should ensure that all parties are aware of development interventions to ensure buy-in and avoid delays. This dissertation concludes with policy prescriptions for the United States, China and other development partners.

Available for download on Friday, February 25, 2022

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