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Research Report

China – Africa:: High time for a common integrated African policy on China

Rapporteur Arina Muresan
Philani Mthembu
Faith Mabera
Designed by Kenny Dlamini
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2017
Pages: 22

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. i-iii)
  2. (pp. iv-iv)
  3. (pp. 1-2)

    Prof. Tawana Kupe, Vice-Principal, University of the Witwatersrand, opened the event by discussing the role of the ACRP. He highlighted the importance of events such as the dialogue on Africa-China relations in encouraging multi-disciplinary partnerships and cross-fertilization of fresh ideas and perspectives to address challenges of the 21st Century. Since the ACRP was convened in 2009, it has matured with time to tackle continental issues and partnerships; many stereotypes about China’s entry into Africa exist, particularly because China’s engagements are viewed using lenses of a colonial past.

    The ACRP has disbursed 123 reporting grants to African and Chinese journalists, allowing...

  4. (pp. 3-6)
    Paul Tembe

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), presented a position that was in opposition to a common Africa-China policy formulation strategy and questioned whether Africa needed a collective China strategy, while arguing that Africans should approach and understand China through Chinese culture.

    The prospect of a common policy highlights a major point of contention; a common policy for who and what is common in Africa? It is important to debunk commonality, particularly because there are not too many instances of a common policy or resolution emanating from within Africa. He further stated that the China-Africa nomenclature has been problematic....

  5. (pp. 6-8)

    Participants that took part in the first group argued that when one looks at media accounts and available literature, a win-win scenario is not really seen; asymmetrical relationships are more visible or perceived. This perception is often centred on trade and investment in the natural resources industry, where raw materials are leaving the country as opposed to value-added products. It was additionally argued that Africa is seeking export markets for raw materials as we do not have the levels of industrialisation necessary to add value to the export products. Moreover, illicit activities, like illegal logging and exportation in Mozambique and...

  6. (pp. 8-10)
    Mahdi Basadien and Yewen Xiao

    Initiatives included: High-Level Mutual visits and dialogues; regular political consultations between Chinese and African Foreign Ministries; increase in trade of agricultural products (particularly beef products); transfer of labour-intensive competitive industrial capacities of China to Africa (particularly Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) Plant at Coega, and motivating Chinese businesses and financial Institutions to expand investment through various means such as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (particularly in the case of Moloto Rail Development Corridor); planning of building transnational and trans-regional infrastructure in Africa (Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), championing “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” which includes the African Continent, the...

  7. (pp. 10-11)

    Although there is disagreement with regard to the proposition of a common policy, there is agreement that a coherent document on African positions and African agency will have an impact with more stakeholders. This document would work towards a coherent approach to engaging China and other external powers. It will also have to address the multiple layers of engagement, using different layers of analysis to work towards coherence. The following recommendations emerged:

    1) To realise a coherent document, stakeholders and conference participants, including experts, researchers, scholars, civil society, media representatives, public officials and any other interested parties, should form networks,...

  8. (pp. 12-12)
    Barry van Wyk and Philani Mthembu

    Project Coordinator, ACRP, concluded by focusing on the importance of formulating common African positions towards China. China has an African policy, outlined in their 2006 and 2015 Africa policies, which allows for a more coherent strategy when engaging with 54 African countries. However, Africa does not have a China policy; moreover, several African countries do not have their own declared foreign policies, which are available to the public. The symposium was able to make progress in developing African positions towards China but not in terms of an overall African policy towards China. It may be noted that one of the...

  9. (pp. 13-16)