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2017 China-Africa Year in Review

2017 was an eventful year in China-Africa relations. Overall the two sides remain deeply engaged with one another, however indications began to emerge this year that the relationship is undergoing a profound change. No longer can we expect to see steadily rising China-Africa trade volumes as prices for many African commodity were largely flat in 2017 and China also started to diversify its investment portfolio to other regions around the world, particularly those along the “One Belt, One Road” trade route. Instead, China’s engagement in Africa expanded in new, many non-economic ways, that have the potential to re-shape this critically important geo-political relationship.

The opening of China’s first overseas military installation in Djibouti, Beijing’s new law to ban ivory trading and Chinese president Xi Jinping’s commitment to expand support for UN humanitarian operations in Africa are all evidence of how China in 2017 appeared to be broaden its policy in Africa beyond its initial focus on natural resource extraction. 

In this special edition of the China in Africa Podcast, Eric & Cobus discuss their picks for the top three stories of 2017 and provide their outlook for what’s ahead in 2018 for China-Africa ties. 

Eric’s picks for the top three stories of 2017:

3) The launch of two highly-anticipated new Chinese-built railways in Kenya and Ethiopia.

2) The visit to Beijing by Zimbabwean military chief General Constantino Chiwenga one week before the overthrow of former president Robert Mugabe.

1) The opening of the new Chinese navy base Djibouti, Beijing’s first-ever overseas military facility.

Cobus’ picks for the top three stories of 2017:

3) Chinese museum accused of racism over photos pairing Africans with animals

2) China’s ban on the ivory trade

1) The launch of Chinese-built railways in Kenya and Ethiopia along with the construction of the new railway in Nigeria.

Join the discussion. Do you agree with Eric & Cobus’ picks for the top stories of 2017? What do you think should make the list? Let us know.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChinaAfricaProject

Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque

Email: eric@chinaafricaproject.com

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The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.


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