When it comes to China, Africa and Central Asia have quite a bit in common


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It’s not obvious, but when it comes to managing ties with China, countries in Central Asia and Africa have a lot more in common with one another than many would first assume.

Both are among China’s smallest trading partners that rely primarily on oil and other commodity exports. Countries in both regions have taken on quite a bit of Chinese debt to build infrastructure and both areas have complex civil society ties with China. And both Africa and Central are now important outposts along China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Nargis Kassenova is a leading China-Central Asia expert at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. She joins Eric & Cobus to discuss the current dynamics surrounding China’s engagement in the region and what lessons can be applied to countries in Africa and beyond.