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Africa Unite? The Political Economy of Africa-China Relations in the Era of COVID-19 (VIRTUAL)

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Debt and environmental sustainability have come to dominate discussions on the political economy of African countries’ relations with China. Now, with the COVID19 crisis surging just ahead of the upcoming 2021 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit, new questions are being raised about the future of Chinese finance for African infrastructure. African civil society, media, and opposition politicians are increasingly voicing their concerns about the elite brokerage and lack of transparency and accountability that often surround China’s funded projects, official development assistance and ostensibly commercial finance from its state-owned policy banks. But while some experts assert that “African agency” is becoming an increasingly important factor in Africa-China relations, others argue that Beijing’s continued success depends on exploiting and preserving existing corrupt elite networks that allow its agents to ingratiate themselves to African nations’ leaders and policymakers in ways that enhance African compliance. 

Now, with the U.S. and Europe facing economic slowdowns and China appearing to have weathered the worst of the virus, this timely panel of distinguished African experts will address some of the most pressing new questions that have risen to the fore, among them: What have been the economic, political and environmental consequences of China’s approach to infrastructure development in Africa over the last two decades? What lessons have African policymakers learned in dealing with Beijing through the FOCAC and other multilateral institutions? What are the prospects for African actors to enhance coordination and cooperation on China policy among domestic actors, across transnational advocacy networks, and among governments? 

Joshua Eisenman
 - Associate Professor of Global Affairs, Keough School of Global Affairs, Kellogg Faculty Fellow

Eman Fakhry - PhD candidate, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University (Egypt)
Ellis Adams - Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Policy, Keough School of Global Affairs; Kellogg Faculty Fellow
Gyude Moore - Senior Policy Fellow for the Center for Global Development; Former Minister of Public Works, Liberia (2014-2018)

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