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China-Africa relationship at its strongest, says new report ahead of 8th Forum on China Africa Coopera-tion

by Wanda Rich
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China’s ever-growing engagement in Africa has been examined in a new report from China Foresight at LSE IDEAS, The London School of Economics’ foreign policy think tank.

In light of the 8th Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will take place later this year, the report brings together an international team of experts to shed light on emerging and consolidated areas of engagement between China and Africa that will likely shape the relationship in the years to come.

In times when Africa is becoming more diplomatically important for a post-COVID China, the report finds that China is well-positioned to support African countries’ post-COVID economic and public health recovery.

According to the report, China is further becoming “increasingly influential” in the African space sector, as it is revealed that China has launched six of 45 African satellites, and has also provided Tracking, Telemetry and Control (TT&C) support.

The report further analyses China’s provision of digital infrastructure, China’s security and military engagement, and China’s public diplomacy, in Africa.

Reflecting on the report, Professor Chris Alden, Director of LSE IDEAS, says:

“Seeing off the threat posed by Covid-19 is in itself a sufficient challenge for China-Africa cooperation. For the FOCAC, it is the restoration of the economic fundamentals which underpinned ties as much as is the rhetoric of cooperation, in evolving context of financial, trade, security and societal challenges. This report points the way for a deeper understanding of all of these and to the role that FOCAC will play in achieving these aims.”

Lukas Fiala, China Foresight Project Coordinator at LSE IDEAS and PhD Candidate at the LSE, adds:

“The relationship between China and Africa has become increasingly complex. Our report aims to shed light on some aspects of this complexity, while trying to tease out several topic areas that will likely shape engagement in the years to come. While public health and economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are likely at the top of the agenda at the upcoming FOCAC, China’s growing technological reach and security engagement will remain important aspects of the China-Africa relationship.”

Link to report: https://www.lse.ac.uk/ideas/publications/reports/focac-at-21