The 6th Forum on China Africa Cooperation is coming at a crossroads in the China-Africa relationship. China’s shift from a manufacturing to a consumption economy means that it is importing fewer African commodities. On the African side, this shift has led to fears about repaying Chinese debt, and a general downsizing of African growth expectations. Coupled with a reported plunge in Chinese investment on the continent, the current situation seems to invoke warnings from the boom era, when figures as diverse as Lamido Sanusi and South African President Jacob Zuma called the relationship problematic and unsustainable.
However, being at a crossroads isn’t the same thing as being on a cliff. FOCAC 6 has the potential to move the China-Africa relationship to a more sustainable path. However, a more sustainable relationship will also require African governments to get out of their comfort zone.
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