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One of China’s Top Africa Scholars Tries to Explain How Wang Yi Chooses What African Countries to Visit and Also Responds to Debt Trap Accusation

File image of He Wenping, one of China's most well-known Africa scholars at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

For 32 years, Chinese foreign ministers like Wang Yi have made it a priority to go to Africa for their first overseas trip of the year but little is known about what goes into selecting the countries for these annual visits.

Publicly, Chinese officials say little (actually they say pretty much nothing) and academics such as Professor He Wenping, one of China’s most prominent Africa scholars, provide less-than-satisfactory explanations that it comes down to which countries are sufficiently friendly to China and the importance of ensuring geographic equity (in other words, Wang went to West Africa last year, so he must go to East Africa this year.)

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