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Thursday, 03 December 2015

China-Africa: a maturing relationship? Growth, change and resilience


On 3 December 2015, SAIIA and the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP) hosted a special workshop on 'China-Africa: a maturing relationship? Growth, change and resilience.'

This one-day workshop brought together researchers from DEGRP's China-Africa research stream and SAIIA, as well as other participants from academia and the private sector, to discuss key issues influencing Sino-African relations.

A full live stream of the event is available above, or click here to watch the webcast in edited sections. A set of papers from the event is available here.

Click here for photos from the event.

Held in parallel with the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the workshop focused on three priority areas, designed to raise key issues for consideration at the summit:

  • China’s changing role in the global economy and the impact of this on the African economic environment, as well as on development in Africa generally;
  • the role of natural resources and wildlife in China-Africa trade, including opportunities for diversification away from a natural resources-based economic model;
  • issues of governance, peace, and security.

Moving away from narratives of resource exploitation and power imbalance, the workshop aimed to shift the discussion towards an increased awareness of the complexity of the relationship between China and Africa, and the potential benefits of their ongoing interaction. In particular, the event highlighted how African countries can actively engage with China to promote their growth and development.

Our presenters drew from their extensive experience to highlight priorities to be addressed by African and Chinese policy-makers, while participants shared key lessons, approaches, and challenges that might influence China-Africa relations.

  Feature img 2015event chinaafrica2 Justin Lin delivering the keynote discussion, with chair Giles Mohan (DEGRP).

Event details

Date:        3 December 2015
Venue:     Crowne Plaza Hotel, Rosebank
Queries:  Hopewell at

Draft programme (subject to change)

0930 - 0945    Opening remarks [Webcast]
                        Louise Shaxson (ODI/DEGRP) and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (SAIIA)

0945 – 1045    Keynote address and discussion:
                     How to Jumpstart Industrialization and Structural Transformation in Africa
                        Presenter: Justin Lin (Peking University) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 876 kB ] [Webcast]
                        Chair: Giles Mohan (DEGRP)
                        Helen Hai (Made in Africa Initiative, UNIDO) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 1.6 MB ] [Webcast]
                        Peter Draper (SAIIA)

1045 - 1100    Coffee break

1100 - 1230    Challenges and opportunities for Africa in the context of China’s changing role
                     in the global economy 
                       Deborah Brautigam (DEGRP) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 3.2 MB ] [Webcast]
                       Peter Draper (SAIIA) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 306 kB ] [Webcast]
                        Chair: Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (SAIIA)
                       Giles Mohan (DEGRP)
                       Terry McKinley (DEGRP)

1230 - 1330    Lunch

1330 – 1445   Peace, Security and Governance in Africa: How is Africa reshaping China’s
                     engagement in the region? 
                       Lina Song (DEGRP) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 186 kB ]
                       Dan Large (SAIIA)
                        Chair: Romain Dittgen (SAIIA)
                       Helen Hai (Made in Africa Initiative, UNIDO)
                       Norman Sempija (SAIIA)

1445 – 1500    Coffee break

1500 – 1615    Natural resources and biodiversity in China and Africa in the new global
                     context [Webcast of session]

                        Xiaoxue Weng (DEGRP) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 2.95 MB ]
                        Ross Harvey (SAIIA) [ pdf Presentation, PDF, 586 kB ]
                        Chair: Roger Calow (ODI)
                        Discussant: Yushan Wu (SAIIA)

1615-1700      Priorities for the FOCAC Summit and closing remarks [Webcast]

Video materials

Watch a collection of short video interviews with DEGRP China-Africa researchers providing a snapshot of their specific research areas, which range from the employment impact of Chinese business in Africa, to the role of local government for economic growth.

Watch a series of videos on 'Shaping economic transformation in Tanzania', filmed at a high-level conference in Dar es Salaam, featuring a keynote speech from Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania.


Transport Networks and Industrialisation

SAIIA opinion piece: What impact could the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road have on South Africa?

SAIIA Policy Insight: Silk, Cinnamon and Cotton: Emerging Power Strategies for the Indian Ocean and the Implications for Africa

GEGAfrica opinion piece: Development Finance with Chinese Characteristics?

SAIIA Policy Briefing: Nationalism with Chinese Characteristics: How Does it Affect the Competitiveness of South Africa’s Mining Industry?

SAIIA Occasional Paper: Chinese Resources-For-Infrastructure Swaps: An Escape from the Resource Curse?

SAIIA Policy Insight:‘Oil for Housing’: Chinese-built New Towns in Angola

SAIIA Policy Briefing:Chinese Economic and Trade Co-operation Zones in Africa: Facing the Challenges

SAIIA Policy Insight: Learning by Doing: China–Africa Co-operation and State Learning

SAIIA Policy Insight: China–Africa Co-operation: Capacity Building and Social Responsibility of Investments

SAIIA Occasional Paper: Chinese Agricultural Investment in Africa: Motives, Actors and Modalities

SAIIA Policy Insight: China–Africa Co-operation Beyond Extractive Industries: The Case of Chinese Agricultural Assistance in West Africa


Peace and security

SAIIA Policy Insight: South African Foreign Policy and the UNSC: Assessing its Impact on the African Peace and Security Architecture

SAIIA news article:China’s evolving approach to the African Peace and Security Architecture

SAIIA Occasional Paper: Riding the Sudanese Storm: China, India, Russia, Brazil and the Two Sudans

SAIIA Occasional Paper:China and Liberia: Engagement in a Post-Conflict Country 2003–2013

SAIIA opinion piece:The African Union and Security
SAIIA Policy Insight: Shifting Security Challenges in the China–Africa Relationship


Regional Integration and Economics

DEGRP Policy Essay: Sustaining growth and structural transformation in Africa

DEGRP Policy Essay: Shaping economic transformation in Tanzania

SAIIA Research Collection: The Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa


Healthcare co-operation

Ebola and Cultures of Engagement: Chinese Versus Western Health Diplomacy

What can the African Union do to foster health development on the continent?


China-South Africa

SAIIA Policy Insight: South Africa and FOCAC: Enabling a Partnership for Global Economic Governance Beyond the BRICS?

SAIIA Occasional Paper: South Africa and China: The Making of a Partnership

SAIIA opinion piece: FOCAC’s Present and its South African Future

SAIIA opinion piece: South Africa and China: building bridges to beneficiation

SAIIA Policy Insight: Not Beating Around the Bush: Understanding China and South Africa’s Illegal Wildlife Trade


SAIIA opinion piece: 2015: The China Year in South Africa

SAIIA opinion piece: Ahead of FOCAC and toward Agenda 2063: A timely window for African think tanks to take the lead

SAIIA news article: SAIIA attends China-Africa think tanks 10 + 10 partnership

1615-1700      Priorities for the FOCAC Summit and closing remarks