No. 27 | 20.08.2021

Chinese and Eritrean doctors prepares an operation for a hydrocephalic child in Asmara, Eritrea, 23 May 2008. [Xinhua/Zhu Xiaoguang]

Dear reader,

News on China: Africa Weekly has looked back on key stories we’ve published over the last few months, as we transition towards discussing weekly news in our new podcast.

In part two of our retrospective, we share stories that deal with some of the prevailing narratives around Africa-China relations. We also share stories that give a general overview of the historical development of key Africa-China relations and collaborations.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know at [email protected].

Dongsheng editorial collective

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Geopolitics

2020 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) marks 20 years of strategic partnerships in trade, infrastructure projects, and political relations

Chinese infrastructure investments total US $110 billion – boosting industry on the African continent (16,000 km of roads and railroads, 20 ports, 80 power plants, etc.) – with bilateral trade reaching US $200 billion in 2019

Economy

US study of 1,000 Chinese loans refutes allegations of “debt-trap diplomacy” and seizure of African assets for unpaid loans

Between 2000-19, China cancelled US $3.4 billion in debt and restructured/refinanced 26 loans; holding 20% of Africa’s debt, China’s bilateral negotiations offer tailor-made solutions, with 20 countries receiving debt relief in 2020

Agriculture & Environment

Belt and Road infrastructure investment plays key role in climate change response in Africa, where 45% of people lack electricity access

Beyond energy financing (US $3 billion, 2019-20), China is pursuing a “green silk road” and low-carbon development, but to facilitate this in Africa, it is necessary to strengthen domestic institutions and invest US $120 billion (2020-30) to broaden electricity access

Science and Technology

Africa advances space cooperation with China, which launched 59 satellites in 2020 to provide TV, navigation, and meteorological services

Mozambique joined 115 countries and regions (1,200+ people trained) using Fengyun meteor technology; Ethiopia launched second Chinese-backed satellite and 19 African countries (8,162 villages) completed project acceptance for satellite TV in 2020″

Health

China’s ‘Health Silk Road’ (2020) to facilitate international cooperation on pandemic control is grounded in nearly six-decades-long medical internationalism

Since sending a medical team to newly-independent Algeria (1963), over 23,000 Chinese medical personnel have been sent to Africa, where proactive healthcare delivery (targeting rural settings and seeking out patients) has characterized their work

People’s Life and Culture

Boomplay expands music streaming to 47 African countries, as sub-Saharan Africa expects 475 million mobile internet users (2025)

Launched by Transsion, Chinese app partners with Universal Music Group, aiming to become the largest African music streaming service, investing (US $1 million) in local artists; Transsion’s Tecno holds 48.2% share of Africa’s smartphone market (Q4 2020)

Moment in History

China’s development model and international relations have the potential to help Africa break historical underdevelopment and poverty

From supporting national liberation movements to agricultural training centres (1950s-1990s) to contemporary relations such as funding 6,200km of railway and over 5,000km of roads (2017), claims of China’s role in Africa being “colonial” are unfounded