- Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds
On Wednesday 26 September the Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds will host a seminar to discuss China’s activities in Africa from a variety of perspectives including industrialisation, agricultural development, security and international relations.
A timely discussion
With growth in China-Africa trade averaging 20% annually over the last two decades and China set to become Africa’s largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) within the next 10 years, China is already Africa’s largest economic partner.
China’s increasing involvement in Africa’s infrastructure development, the activities of Chinese enterprises in Africa’s construction, manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors, and the increasing visibility of Chinese entrepreneurs across Africa have been widely reported in the world’s media.
BCI Director Dr Giles Blackburne comments: ‘China’s activities in Africa are now of significant interest not only to China watchers but also to Western nations and multi-national enterprises seeking to maintain their historic influence there. It’s becoming more important for us to understand the scale and nature of China's involvement in Africa. This symposium provides a timely opportunity to explore developments from a variety of perspectives’.
A complex subject
It remains challenging to understand the full extent of, and potential for, the China-Africa economic relationship. Indeed, there is much debate about China’s motivations for being so active there and on the possible benefits of partnership to African countries. Security implications arise from the growing economic and social links that China is forging with African states and public perception about such developments is being shaped by the global media coverage of the China-Africa relationship.
A symposium aimed at addressing this subject must therefore cover a variety of perspectives, and academics from both the UK and Africa have been invited to contribute to the discussion.
Visiting from Africa, Professor Garth Le Pere from the University of Pretoria will discuss the implications for Africa of China’s changing industrial strategy, while Dr Joshua Otieno Ogweno, the Director of the Confucius Institute at Egerton University, Kenya will present a case study of China’s support for Africa’s agricultural development.
Chinese and African security issues will be addressed by Professor Chris Alden from the London School of Economics. His colleague Dr Yixiao Zheng will contextualise China’s developing relationship with Africa in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative
From the University of Leeds we have Dr Chris Paterson from the School of Media and Communication, whose research examines the media portrayal of China in Africa. Dr Kweku Ampiah from the Department of East Asian Studies will chair the panel discussion which closes the event.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Leeds University business school or the University of Leeds.