China’s role in Africa’s economic transformation

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Submersible floating dry dock with dock cranes moored at river bank. Guinea, West Africa.

Over the past 20 years, China has played a pivotal and arguably indispensable role in Africa’s economic development. The country is by far Africa’s largest bilateral trading partner, a major source of foreign investment, and a vital player in helping Africa to close its huge infrastructure deficit. But in recent years, since around 2015, the economic relationship between these two regions has been steadily evolving. Now, with the rise of the Belt and Road, China is no longer as dependent on Africa for the oil, timber, and minerals that make up the bulk of Chinese trade and investment on the continent.

Tsinghua University professor Táng Xiǎoyáng 唐晓阳 and Overseas Development Institute Research Fellow Linda Calabrese recently published a new paper that explores China’s role in Africa’s economic transformation. They join Eric and Cobus to discuss their findings and share their insights into the current state of China-Africa economic ties amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, this week, we feature a short interview with Ghana Business News managing editor Emmanuel Dogbevi about his determination to continue publishing after a fire destroyed almost all of the company’s equipment.