Proposed summit on China-Africa Economic & Trade Relations


VENUE: Abuja, Nigeria      DATE: APRIL 26, 2016


Following up on last December’s Johannesburg conference on China-Africa Co-operation, there’s no more denying the fact that China has become big in Africa and massively involved in several developmental strides and projects many countries across the continent are making and undertaking. Just like the rest of the world, Africa can no longer ignore China. It has become, by far, Africa’s biggest trading partner, exchanging about $160 billion worth of goods yearly. There are many Chinese companies operating and working on several projects on the continent, especially in the areas of construction, infrastructural development, telecommunications, transport, agriculture, petrochemicals including mining. Reports say over one million Chinese, mostly labourers and traders, have made Africa their home within the past decade. However, despite the obvious economic gains for Africa, a lot of criticism trails China-Africa Co-operation, with imperialism the major claim. A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, puts it this way: Africa is opening itself up to a “new form of imperialism”.

Reason for the conference

China's second largest source of crude imports is Africa. Its largest African suppliers are Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, and Sudan. Smaller exporters include Algeria, Chad, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, and Libya. China's top five African trading partners are Angola, South Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, and Egypt. While the majority of Africa's exports to China are in oil, it also exports iron ore, metals, and other commodities, as well as a small amount of food and agricultural products. At the same time, China exports a range of machinery including transportation and communications equipment, and electronics to Africa.

In its quest to secure an economic foothold in Africa, China engages in a form of commercial diplomacy that most other countries can't match. It pitches vast trade, aid, and investment deals on frequent trips to resource-rich countries, and retains an almost unparalleled ability to provide low-cost financing and cheap labour for infrastructure projects. It provides low-interest loans to countries with low credit ratings, and in turn receives favourable rights to develop oil and mining projects. In addition, gets major deals in construction and infrastructure development. China, including its state-owned banks, say it will provide $1 trillion in financing to Africa by 2025, much of which will go toward infrastructure, including transnational highways, railways, and airports.

China has a two-pronged approach to its economic relations to Africa: offering resource-backed development loans to oil and mineral-rich nations like Angola, and developing special trade and economic cooperation zones in several states, including Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Zambia.


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Speaking opportunities*
Kayode Soyinka

* We welcome suggestions for speakers. Please forward your suggested names with a 100 word introduction/biography of the person to We will get back to you if the suggestion is useful to us.

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