Welcome to the new era of China-Africa relations


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President Ramaphosa FOCAC Co-chairperson and President Xi Jinping Chairpeson flanked by other heads of states Equitorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Cameroon President Paul Biya at the start of the summit). President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Official Ceremony of the High Level dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives and 6th Conference of the Chinese and African Entrepreneurs at the China National Convention Centre. President Cyril Ramaphosa is in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for a State Visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping and to co-chair the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit. President Ramaphosa is leveraging the visit to step up his drive to attract investment into the South African economy to stimulate inclusive growth and create employment.

China’s apparent decision to bail on financing the $2.8 billion AKK pipeline in Nigeria is the latest evidence that Beijing’s strategy to engage the continent has changed, a lot. This pipeline is now the third major project in Nigeria this year that Chinese financiers have walked away from. And it’s happening elsewhere too. In Zimbabwe, China’s largest bank, ICBC, bailed on the $3 billion Sengwa coal-fired power plant.

This is a trend that’s been underway for quite some time as Chinese infrastructure financing fell last year from $11 billion to just $3.3 billion.

The fact is, Africa can no longer count on China to finance its massive infrastructure deficit.

So, the key question now is what comes next?

Sanusha Naidu and Arina Muresan, both researchers at the Pretoria-based foreign policy think tank Institute for Global Dialogue, are asking that same question in their research about the future of Chinese engagement on the continent. Both join Eric & Cobus from Johannesburg to discuss the implications of this new era in China-Africa relations.