The rapid growth in China’s domestic investment in recent decades has generated a large appetite for global goods, including from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper estimates the impact of changes in China’s investment growth on SSA’s exports. Although rising trading links with China have allowed African countries to diversify their export base across countries, away from advanced economies, they have also led SSA countries to become more susceptible to spillovers from China. Based on panel data analysis, a 1 percentage point increase (decline) in China’s domestic investment growth is associated with an average 0.6 percentage point increase (decline) in SSA countries’ export growth. This impact is larger for resource-rich countries, especially oil exporters. These effects could be mitigated, however, to the extent that countries can reorient their exports.
Some natural resources-oil and minerals in particular-exert a negative and nonlinear impact on growth via their deleterious impact on institutional quality. We show this result to be very robust. The Nigerian experience provides telling confirmation of this aspect of natural resources. Waste and poor institutional quality stemming from oil appear to have been primarily responsible for Nigeria's poor long-run economic performance. We propose a solution for addressing this resource curse which involves directly distributing the oil revenues to the public. Even with all the difficulties that will no doubt plague its actual implementation, our proposal will, at the least, be vastly superior to the status quo. At best, however, it could fundamentally improve the quality of public institutions and, as a result, durably raise long-run growth performance.