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China’s Rapidly Evolving Relations in the DR Congo

Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s stopover in Kinshasa on his latest Africa tour highlights the growing importance of the DR Congo in Chinese foreign policy. During his visit, Wang announced a modest debt relief package and that the DRC would become the 45th African country to join the Belt and Road Initiative.

But those initiatives belie the DR Congo’s importance to China. The Chinese are in the midst of a major cobalt buying binge, a critical metal found largely in the DRC. Similarly, Kinshasa has been a reliable supporter of Beijing’s controversial positions at the United Nations, including its stance on Xinjiang.

Stockholm-based independent researcher Johanna Malm is one of the world’s leading scholars on Sino-DRC relations and has been closely watching the rapid evolution of Chinese engagement in the DRC from the mid-2000s to the present. She joins Eric & Cobus to provide some perspective on how China’s current moves there are part of a trajectory that began with an enormous mining deal in 2007.

Show Notes:

About Johanna Malm:

Dr. Johanna Malm is an independent researcher and a member of the Stockholm Observatory for Global China. Johanna has conducted research on the DRC’s relations to China since 2007, including extensive field work in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Johanna was previously researcher at the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and
PhD Fellow at the Department of Society and Business at Roskilde University, Denmark. Johanna holds a PhD in International Development Studies from Roskilde University, an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Umeå University, and a BA with Honours (cum laude) in Political Science from Stellenbosch University. 

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