It’s not obvious, but when it comes to managing ties with China, countries in Central Asia and Africa have a lot more in common with one another than many would first assume.
Both are among China’s smallest trading partners that rely primarily on oil and other commodity exports. Countries in both regions have taken on quite a bit of Chinese debt to build infrastructure and both areas have complex civil society ties with China. And both Africa and Central are now important outposts along China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Nargis Kassenova is a leading China-Central Asia expert at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. She joins Eric & Cobus to discuss the current dynamics surrounding China’s engagement in the region and what lessons can be applied to countries in Africa and beyond.
- Global Voices: What a Kyrgyzstan oil refinery reveals about China’s Belt and Road Initiative by Aizat Shailoobek Kyzy
- The Diplomat: China’s Central Asian Rail Investment Does Not Add Up by Tristan Kenderdine and Péter Bucsky
- South China Morning Post: China looks to Central Asia on security to create ‘safe Silk Road’ by Rachel Zhang
Nargis Kassenova is an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies, Director of Central Asian Studies Center (CASC) and China and Central Asia Studies Center (CCASC) of KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). She holds a PhD in International Cooperation Studies from Nagoya University (Japan). She is a member of the Advisory group of the EU Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM), member of the Academic Council of the European Neighbourhood Council (ENC), member of the Advisory Board of SenECA (Strengthening and Energizing EU-Central Asia Relations) project, and of the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Eurasia Program, and Senior Fellow with the Program on Central Asia.
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