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Exploring Impacts of Chinese Foreign Aid

As an economics and international relations major, Maho Fujita (Japan, Mahindra UWC, Bucknell ’17) spent last summer in Tanzania, researching the impacts of Chinese investment on the country’s people and development. She visited cities and villages in various parts of the country, interviewing residents and Chinese construction workers. She found that as Chinese influence has expanded — not just economically, but also politically, culturally, and socially — it has increased rural Tanzanians’ access to cities and businesses. She also heard many Tanzanians express concern about becoming dependent on Chinese investment.

“My interest in this topic is rooted in my UWC experience,” Maho says. “Interacting with local villagers then, and traveling around India, made me think about sustainable economic development. The geographic area is different, but Tanzania has been culturally influenced by India through trading and immigration. Walking on a street there, I felt like I was back in India — so the UWC experience helped me to navigate myself in unfamiliar places.”

Throughout her time at Bucknell, Maho has been involved with Students for Asian Awareness. “I have learned that in order to spread the culture of Asia or my country, it is necessary to know about my culture as well as others,” she says. “It takes a lot of effort from both sides to exchange cultural experiences.”

After graduation, Maho hopes to work in business consulting, helping companies succeed in emerging economies such as Africa’s. “I also want to keep researching on China in Africa,” she adds, “and its economic implications in the long run.”