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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

China and Africa Project


SAIIA’s China and Africa research project investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa, analyses the character and content of China’s trade and foreign policy towards the continent, and studies the implications of this strategic co-operation in the political, military, economic and diplomatic fields.


The project seeks to develop an understanding of the motives, rationale and institutional structures guiding China’s Africa policy, and to study China’s growing power and influence so that it will help rather than hinder development prospects in Africa. It further assists African policy makers to recognise the opportunities presented by the Chinese commitment to the continent, and presents a platform for broad discussion about how to facilitate closer co-operation. The key objective of the programme is the development of policy relevant research that will allow African leaders, institutions, trade unions and civil society to reap the benefits of the interaction with China so that a collective and integrated response to future challenges can be devised that provides for constructive engagement with Chinese partners.

Research is being undertaken throughout the continent (Southern, East, Central and West Africa) and deals with different dimensions of Chinese continental engagement (energy, resources, trade, investment, aid, development, agriculture, peace, security and multilateralism). A ‘SAIIA China-Africa Toolkit (PDF, 1.35 MB)’ has been developed and is targeted at policy makers in Africa. It serves as an information data base, a source of capacity building and a guide to policy formulation.


The project was funded (2007-2011) by the UK Department for International Development (Dfid) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Current China-Africa research is funded through the main Global Powers & Africa programme budget.


The China in Africa Project produces publications in the following formats - please access these via the links below:



A Mamba e o Dragao: relacoes Mocambique-China em perspectiva
Sergio Chichava and Chris Alden, eds.
(Maputo: IESE/SAIIA 2012)
China and Angola: a marriage of convenience?
Marcus Power and Ana Cristina Alves, eds.
(Oxford: Pambazuka 2012)

China in Africa
by Chris Alden (London: Zed Books, 2007)
Click here for Zed Books

China Returns to Africa: An Emerging Power and a Continent Embrace
by Chris Alden, Dan Large and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, eds. (London: Hurst, 2008)

China in Africa: Mercantilist predator, or partner in development?
by Garth le Pere (ed)
IGD/SAIIA (1-919697-96-9)

Enter the Dragon - Towards a Free Trade Agreement Between China and the Southern African Customs Union
by Peter Draper and Garth le Pere (eds)
SAIIA, 2005 (1-919697-80-2)

Towards China Inc? Assessing the implications for Africa
by Greg Mills and Natasha Skidmore (eds)
SAIIA, 2004 (1-919969-26-8)

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Policy Briefings

The Zambia–China Cooperation Zone at a Crossroads: What Now?

by Ana Alves
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 41, December 2011

The Evolving Nature of Chinese Telecommunications Investment in the DRC
by Gregory Mthembu-Salter
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 39, November 2011

Chinese Banking Interests in Mozambique
by Ana Cristina Alves
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 37, November 2011

China and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa: The Case of Sudan
by Daniel Large
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 36, October 2011

Chinese Business Interest and Banking in Nigeria
by Abiodun Alao
SAIIA Policy Briefing 20, July 2010

Policy effectiveness and China’s Investment in the Zambian Mining Sector
by Dan Haglund
SAIIA Policy Briefing, No 19, July 2010

China’s Engagement with the Nigerian Oil Sector
by Gregory Mthembu-Salter
SAIIA Policy Briefing, No 11, November 2009

Chinese Investment in African Free Trade Zones: Lessons from Nigeria’s Experience
by Gregory Mthembu-Salter
SAIIA Policy Briefing, No 10, November 2009

China’s Environmental Footprint in Africa
by Peter Bosshard
China-Africa Policy Brief, No 3, April 2008

China and the United Nations Security Council: From Observer to Activist
by Paula Cristina Roque and Chris Alden
China-Africa Policy Brief, No 2, April 2008

China’s preferential trade policy towards Africa
by Adam Minson
China-Africa Policy Brief, No 1, February 2008

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Occasional Papers

Between the CPA and Southern Independence: China's Post-Conflict Engagement in Sudan
by Daniel Large
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 115, April 2012

Goodwill and Hard Bargains: The DRC, China and India
by Gregory Mthembu-Salter
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 114, March 2012

China in Kenya: Addressing Counterfeit Goods and Construction Sector Imbalances
by Hilary Patroba
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 110, March 2012

Hong Kong - South Africa's Gateway to China
by Garth Shelton
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 108, February 2012

Chinese Financial Institutions and Africa
by Riaan Meyer, Abiodun Alao, Chris Alden and Ana Cristina Alves
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 103, December 2011

Understanding China's Agricultural Investments in Africa
by Helen Lei Sun
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 102, November 2011

Nigeria and the BRICs: Diplomatic, Trade, Cultural and Military Relations
by Abiodun Alao
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 101, November 2011

To Bélinga or not to Bélinga? China's Evolving Engagement in Gabon's Mining Sector
by Romain Dittgen
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 98, November 2011

The Sicomines Agreement: Change and Continuity in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s International Relations
by Johanna Jansson
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 97, October 2011

Chinese Economic and Trade Co-operation Zones in Africa: The Case of Mauritius
by Ana Cristina Alves
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 74, January 2011

China's Overseas Foreign Direct Investment Risk: 2008–2009
by Wang Duanyong
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 73, January 2011

The Chinese Stance on the Darfur Conflict
by Gaafar Karrar Ahmed
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 67, September 2010

Banking in Nigeria and Chinese Economic Diplomacy in Africa
by Abiodun Alao
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 65, July 2010

The Myth and Reality of Chinese Investors: A Case Study of Chinese Investment in Zambia's Copper Industry
by Pengtao Li
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 62, May 2010

Development Aid for Infrastructure Investment in Africa: Malian Relations with China, the European Commission and the World Bank
by Henry Fletcher
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 58, April 2010

From Isolation to Integration? A Study of Chinese Retailers in Dakar
by Romain Dittgen
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 57, March 2010

Aid to Africa: What can the EU and China Learn from Each Other?
by Jin Ling
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 56, March 2010

The Oil Factor in Sino–Angolan Relations at the Start of the 21st Century
by Ana Cristina Alves
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 55, February 2010

China’s Role in Infrastructure Development in Botswana
by Anna Ying Chen
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 44, October 2009

Elephants, Ants and Superpowers: Nigeria’s Relations with China
Gregory Mthembu-Salter
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 42, September 2009

Building on Progress? Chinese Engagement in Ethiopia
by Monika Thakur
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 38, July 2009

Chinese Development Co-operation in Africa: The Case of Tembisa's Friendship Town
by Chris Alden and Anna Ying Chen
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 30, April 2009

China in the African Solar Energy Sector
by Tsidiso Disenyana 
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 25, February 2009

Chinese Migration in Africa
by Yoon Jung Park
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 24, February 2009

China in Mozambique: A Cautious Approach
by Paula Cristina Roque
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 23, February 2009

Chinese Provinces as Foreign Policy Actors in Africa
by Chen Zhimin and Jian Junbo
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 22, February 2009

Banking on Africa: Chinese Financial Institutions and Africa
by Riaan Meyer and Chris Alden
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 14, October 2008

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Research Reports

Price Power: China’s role in the telecommunications sector of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Gregory Mthembu-Salter
China-Africa Policy Report, No 6, 2008

Banking on Africa: Chinese financial institutions and Africa
by Riaan Meyer and Chris Alden
China-Africa Policy Report, No 5, 2008

China and Gabon: A Growing Resource Partnership
by Ana Cristina Alves
China-Africa Policy Report, No 4, 2008

Ghana’s relations with China
by Isaac Idun-Arkhurst
China-Africa Policy Report, No 3, 2008

China’s Lusophone Connection
by Ana Cristina Alves
China-Africa Policy Report, No 2, 2008

China’s Development Policy in Africa
by Gernot Pehnelt and Martin Abel
China-Africa Policy Report, No 1, 2007

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Opinion Editorials

As part of the project, a number of Opinion Editorial pieces have been published.

South Africa-China Relations: Getting Beyond the Cross-roads?
As published in the Sunday Independent, 29 August 2010

Unveiling the Diversity of Chinese Finance in Africa
08 February 2010
As published in

China could usher in a new era of banking in Africa
06 October 2008
As published in the Business Day

What China’s New Activism in UN means for Africa
04 December 2007
As published in the Business Day

Lessons for Africa from China’s Rise
28 November 2007

Charting Africa’s Chinese Future
02 November 2007
As published in Africa-Asia Confidential vol 1 no 1

China in Africa
30 October 2007
As published in the Cape Argus

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Diplomatic Pouch

China’s Exceptionalism in Africa: from Rhetorical to Substantive Difference?
by Chris Alden and Dan Large
Diplomatic Pouch, 25 August 2010

China-Africa Trade and the Global Financial Crisis
by Gilberto Biacuana
Diplomatic Pouch, 17 November 2008

Is Africa Changing China?
by Chris Alden
Diplomatic Pouch, 22 August 2008

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Additional papers and publications

The China-Africa Toolit: A resource for African policy makers
September 2009

Alden C, ‘Leveraging the dragon: Towards an Africa That Can say No’, E-Africa, Electronic Journal of Governance and Innovation, February 2005 (also published by Yale Global).

China in Africa
Special Issue of the South African Journal of International Affairs, 13, 1, 2006.

Africa-China-EU Cooperation in Africa: Prospects and Pitfalls
by Chris Alden and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
Special Issue on the EU Africa Partnership Strategy, The Nordic Africa Institute: Policy Notes 2009/11.

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Other resources and links on China

Government links:
South African Department of Foreign Affairs
South African Department of Trade and Industry
South African Embassy in China
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation
Official website of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation “Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009)”
African Development Bank
China Development Bank

Chinese government White Papers:
China Africa Policy
China White paper on Democracy
hina National Defence 2004
China White Paper on Arms Control

Chinese Missions in Africa:
Chinese Embassy in Algeria
Chinese Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Chinese Embassy in Egypt
Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia
Chinese Embassy in Mauritius
Chinese Embassy in Namibia
Chinese Embassy in Nigeria
Chinese Embassy in South Africa
Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe

Research Centres:
China Balance Sheet
Centre on China’s Transnational Relations
The Asia Foundation
Centre for Chinese Studies
China Institute, University of Alberta
Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Development Research Institute of Asia and Africa, Development Research Center of State Council
Council on Foreign Relations
French Centre for Research on Contemporary China
The Brookings Institution
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Centre for Strategic and International Studies
Institute for Global Dialogue
Human Rights Watch: China
The Jamestown Foundation: China Brief
International Monetary Fund: China Page
Coalition of Services Industry: China Working Group
Nuclear Threat Initiative: China Profile
China Study Group
Emerging Market Focus
The Beijing Axis: Africa China Solutions
Shanghai Institute for International Studies
Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects at Stanford University
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis

Wenping H, ‘China-Africa Relations Facing the 21st Century’, May 2003, Chinese Academy of Social· Sciences.
Wild L & D Mepham (eds), ‘The New Sinosphere – China in Africa’ report, 2006, Institute for Public Policy Research.
Eisenman J & J Kurlantzick, ‘China’s Africa Strategy’, 2006, American Foreign Policy Council.
Lafargue F, ‘China’s Presence in Africa’, in China Perspectives No. 61, September-October 2005, French Centre for Research on Contemporary China.
Brookes P, ‘Into Africa: China’s Grab for Influence and Oil’, Heritage Lectures No. 1006, February 9, 2007, The Heritage Foundation.
Melville C & O Owen, China and Africa: a New Era of “South-South Cooperation”, July 2005, Open Democracy.
Thompson D, ‘China’s Emerging Interests in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa and the United States’, African Renaissance, Vol.2 No.4, July-August 2005.
Pan E, ‘China, Africa and Oil’, Council on Foreign Relations, January 2007.

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Seminar: 'Celebrating The 10th Anniversary Of The Establishment Of The Forum On China-Africa Co-operation'
18-19 November 2010

Event Details

China in Africa: Debating Sino-Sudan relations
15 September 2010

Event Details

China in Africa, Sino-Mozambican relations at a crossroads
9 September 2010

Event Details

China-Africa Study Group Meeting
15 July 2009

Regional Workshop for African Policy Making Communities
19-20 May 2009

Regional Workshop for African Policy Making Communities
3 September 2009

China’s role in West Africa: Development and governance implications
12 September 2008

Regional Workshop for African Policy Making Communities
8 September 2008

International Conference for the 10 year Celebration of South African - Chinese Relations: "How can China and South Africa's Partnership benefit Africa?"
21-22 May 2008
Event Details

China Study Group Meeting, China's International Economic Relations: Myths, Realities, and Politics'
30 January 2008

China Study Group Meeting, The Politics of Looking East: Sudan’s Relations with China, India and Malaysia
31 October 2007

Project and book launch, with a panel discussion on China’s role as a development partner: experiences from the developing world
18 October 2007

China’s Quest for Energy Security in Africa and its Petroleum Investment in Angola
7 August 2007