For much of the past twenty years, since the first FOCAC summit in 2000, China’s engagement strategy on the continent has focused predominantly on anglophone countries in southern and eastern Africa like Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa. Angola, of course, was an important exception.
For the first two decades of the FOCAC era, Chinese companies and other stakeholders were still learning their way in Africa. This was an uneven process. They avoided many francophone countries and even shied away from West Africa as a whole. In addition to the language and cultural barriers in French-speaking African countries, French companies were already well-established in the region, making it more competitive for Chinese firms to enter those markets.
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.