It is undeniable that the world is in a state of uncertainty as nations are struggling with battle socioeconomic downtown partly induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, wars and political and civil unrest. Rates of inflation, unemployment and social unrest, such as demonstrations and strikes due to economic challenges, are commonplace even in high-income countries. For low and middle-income countries such as those in Africa, the current global situation presents a significant challenge to political, social and economic stability, making their prospects gloomy.
This symposium will deliberate on the effect of current global socioeconomic and political instabilities on various aspects of Africa-China relations presently and in the future. With China being a significant stakeholder in African economies (e.g., being the largest trading par for most countries), conditions within China and how the country positions itself relative to global economic and political issues are relevant to how African countries can withstand current challenges and attempt to plan for a future, which is increasingly becoming unpredictable. With China’s borders yet to be fully opened, African traders, students and even Chinese workers/investors in African countries are still grappling with an uncertain future.
Aside from dealing with economic recessions, many African countries must continue preparations against future pandemics/epidemics as COVID-19 has exposed significant weaknesses in health services/infrastructure in these countries. Going forward, analysis of the prospects Africa-China relations cannot ignore the state and future of health-related partnerships and projects. Furthermore, the relations between China and African countries have grown significantly and attracted lots of attention during the first two terms of President Xi. However, it remains to be seen what his third term in office, confirmed at the just-ended 20th Communist Party of China congress, would mean for Africa-China relations despite commitments made at the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. With these issues in mind, this symposium aims at addressing these questions:
- What are the state and prospects of critical Africa-China policies (e.g. Belt and Road) and projects given the global economic downturn?
- What are the implications of current global economic and geopolitical conditions for African agency in Africa-China relations?
- How are current global and internal conditions shaping the future of people-to-people engagements in Africa-China relations?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the dynamics of China-Africa political, economic and other development partnerships at macro, meso and micro levels?
- What are the implications of the proceedings of the 20th Communist Party of China?