A prominent scholar of China-Africa relations argues that other major powers with a presence in Africa are increasingly wary of China’s activity on the continent. Since continued economic and political engagement in Africa is in China’s interests, Zhang argues, Beijing should maximize its room for maneuver by allaying such concerns. While Beijing should tailor strategies by country, Zhang advocates showing “due consideration” for other countries’ goals in Africa where they do not impinge on China’s core interests, pursuing opportunities for cooperation where they present themselves, and limiting unnecessarily provocative activities.
Researchers at Yunnan University and East China University of Political Science argue China’s aid and investment to Africa are inaccurately portrayed by Western countries as “debt trap diplomacy,” exacerbating sovereign debt risks in African countries and driven primarily by strategic rather than commercial objectives. To rebut and limit the reach of such arguments, the authors suggest Beijing seek ways to diversify Chinese investment and aid across sectors and projects, help Chinese enterprises assess investment risk and follow laws and social norms of host countries, better target aid to national development conditions, and strengthen media engagement in Africa and the West.
A scholar from the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies argues that China’s economic engagement in Africa has become more complicated given a mix of external and internal factors – including souring relations between China and Western powers, and the shifting demands and expectations of African countries. As a prognosis, the author suggests that Beijing should enhance the complementarity and tangible impact of its global initiatives, devote greater attention to green development and other emerging development needs in Africa, and develop consultation mechanisms with African countries to address “pain points” as they arise.