Seminar on “China’s increasing engagement in Africa in the aftermath of the financial crisis”

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From: 25/03/2010
To: 26/03/2010
Location: Tunis, Tunisia

Seminar Objective

The seminar is aimed at generating policy-oriented research on the impact of the rising strategic and economic role of China on Africa’s development prospects and its economic and political governance. The seminar will be held in Tunis, Tunisia, on 25-26 March 2010. A selected number of papers will appear in a special issue of the African Development Review, which will be edited by Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, Director; Macroeconomic Research Department, Dubai Economic Council. This seminar is financially supported by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).  


The expansion of China’s trade and investment interests in Africa presents challenges for some countries and offers additional development opportunities for other African economies. This is particularly welcome in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn which had a severe effect on growth prospects of African countries. Chinese engagement in Africa is generally well received by Africa as it represents new opportunities for investment, trade and market access.

However, China’s involvement in Africa is often seen by the drive to secure resources and commodities for the expansion of the manufacturing sector in China. Moreover, the increased commercial activities of Chinese companies have led to a wide range of effects such as labor migration and have triggered a broad debate on the governance framework and the international aid architecture. Also, China’s demand for primary products has been combined with a commercial policy that discourages the import of manufacturing products. While Sub-Saharan African (SSA) exports of fuels and minerals have increased dramatically in the last decade, exports of manufacturing products have not been able to keep pace and have only experienced a slight increase.

The academic literature on China-Africa is often dominated by aggregate analysis, which is constrained by limited data. While traditional China-Africa research highlighted past trade and investment relations, this seminar will focus on the future China-Africa prospective and emerging challenges. These include a wide range of topics such as:

  • China’s impact on international aid architecture;
  • China’s impact on African integration;
  • Growth of Chinese Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa;
  • Labor relations in Chinese owned companies in Africa;
  • Chinese investment in Africa’s agriculture and infrastructure sectors;
  • China’s impact on governance and political economy; and
  • Chinese investment in Africa’s banking sector;
  • The consequences of China’s investment and trade strategies in Africa for development policy, especially with regard to economic diversification and technological upgrading and sophistication of exports; and
  • Challenges to Africa’s competitiveness under a Chinese-dominated global market for labor-intensive manufacturing. Other issues will also be considered.  

Preference in the selection of articles for the academic seminar will be give to papers which reflect sound empirical, field-based research and policy relevant analysis.

Submission of papers:

Authors wishing to present papers at the seminar are invited to email their contribution to The deadline for submission is 15 February, 2010. Each paper should include an abstract of a maximum of 150 words, up to five keywords and JEL Classification. Authors of selected papers will be notified no later than 28 February 2010.  
Authors of selected papers will be provided with a roundtrip ticket to Tunis, hotel accommodation and per diem for the duration of the seminar in accordance with travel rules and regulations of the African Development Bank Group.

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