Crouching tiger, hidden dragon? China and Africa: engaging the world's next superpower

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon? China and Africa: engaging the world's next superpower

Chinese trade and assistance to Africa resumed markedly at the end of the Cold War and has grown exponentially since. China’s pragmatic policy focus on economic issues in Africa has been met with rising concern by other powers, notably the United States and European countries such as France, which have had to reassess their relations with the continent as a result.

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, convened a policy seminar in Cape Town 18 September 2007 on the theme, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? China and Africa: Engaging the World’s Next Superpower”.

The Cape Town seminar brought together 35 scholars and policymakers – largely from Africa, but also from Asia, Europe, Canada and the United States (US) – to examine a multiplicity of important issues in the growing relationship between Africa and China.

The meeting provided an opportunity to assess Africa’s engagement with China in the last 50 years and to address important questions about the dramatic changes in a relationship that was for decades predicated largely on ideological and political solidarity. A particular focus of discussion was the gap in understanding the factors that can contribute to achieving mutual interests between China and Africa. A key concern of the meeting was the need to identify strategies to ensure that Africa is able to define clearly its interests towards China in a way that is beneficial to the continent. The seminar focused on contributing to the existing scholarship and study of China-Africa relations and encompassed three main objectives:

  • to diversify the voices of Afro-sinologists drawing from African, European and Chinese scholarship;
  • to deepen the empirical knowledge of China-Africa relations; and
  • to compare the China-Africa relationship with the continents’ interactions with other key global actors such as Japan, the United States, France and the European Union (EU)


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