The “three great transformations” of China-Africa relations

Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya on official state visits from May 4 to 11. On his visit to Africa, premier Li stated that China-Africa relations have entered a new era.

At the end of May, “Africa expert” Xu Weizhong (徐伟忠), head of the Africa Research Centre at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, commented on this new era for China-Africa relations by discussing “three great transformations” in relations between the two regions. Xu’s comments were published in a number of locations in the Chinese media.

An article published in China Youth Daily (中国青年报) on May 29, for example, reported Xu as saying that Africa’s immense importance to China is obvious, and in the future Africa will not only be a strategic partner for China, but also an important platform for East-West cooperation. On May 28, the article states, Xu spent time with foreign and local reporters to “sort out China-Africa relations for the the new century”. According to Xu, in the long term transition from the sphere of political to economic interaction, China-Africa relations have gone through three major historical transformations:

  1. From “elite contacts” among political figures to broad-based interaction
  2. From political to large-scale economic interaction, and
  3. From bilateral to multilateral relations

According to Xu, Africa has been able to commence with rapid economic development since 1995, and this is closely related to its association with China. Xu goes on to say that, according to (unspecified) statistics, the rate of China’s contribution to Africa’s economy has already reached 20%, and China’s has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009.

Links and sources
Beijing Youth Daily (中国青年报): 非洲是中国与西方打交道的重要场所 
Beijing Youth Daily (中国青年报): 中非关系转型 亟待质的提升
China News Service (中国新闻网): 专家:中非关系由精英交往转为大众交往
Global Times Online (环球网): 专家:未来中非关系发展动力在于中国对非投资