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AFPC and Heinrich Boell Foundation Host Capitol Hill "China in Africa" Conference

Sponsored by AFPC and Heinrich Boell Foundation
Washington, DC
April 29, 2008

On April 28th, 2008, AFPC and the Heinrich Boell Foundation co-sponsored a seminal conference on China’s expanding influence in Africa. The conference, entitled “Current Developments and Trends in China’s Relations with African Countries,” served as an opportunity for participants to review the policy findings and recommendations developed by AFPC Fellow in Asia Studies Joshua Eisenman and Ambassador David Shinn during their research study on China's relations with African countries. Their research will culminate in a co-authored book on China-Africa relations to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.


Conference organizers gathered senior officials and experts from African nations, China, the EU, and the U.S. to discuss Sino-African commercial ties, security relations, poverty reduction and human rights.


The first panel focused on political and international relations and included H.E. Paulo Jorge, Secretary of the MPLA Political Bureau for International Relations (Angola); H.E. Jonathan Coker, former Nigerian Ambassador to China; and, Hon. Randall Schriver, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Each shared their unique perspectives on China’s growing role in Africa.


The second panel continued the discussion of political and international relations and featured H.E. Nirj Deva, Conservative Member of the European Parliament; Capt. Robert Wells, former special advisor for national security affairs to Vice President Dick Cheney; and, Mr. Alex Vines, Director of Chatham House’s Africa Program. This panel provided a platform for Mr. Deva to present, distribute and discuss the European Parliament’s recent repot on China published the previous week. Capt. Wells then addressed security challenges posed by China’s growing role in African countries’ military affairs. Mr. Vines concluded the panel with a presentation of the findings of a recently published Chatham House report on Sino-Angolan economic and commercial cooperation.


Luncheon speaker Mr. James Swan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, addressed the U.S. government’s policy in Africa and interests vis-à-vis China’s growing influence on the continent.


Dr. Gal Luft, Executive Director for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security opened up the conference’s third panel” “Economic and Energy Relations.” He was followed by Ms. Sanusha Naidu, Resident Fellow at the University of Stellenbosch’s (South Africa) Center for Chinese Studies who discussed China’s interconnected infrastructure investments throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Mauro de Lorenzo, Resident Scholar at AEI, concluded the panel’s discussion.


The conference’s final panel addressed aid and human rights issues in Africa. Mr. Malik Chaka, Director of Threshold Countries for the Millennium Challenge Account gave a succinct review of the initiative’s policies and challenges in Africa. Ms. Lynn Fredriksson, Africa Advocacy Director for Amnesty International, discussed China’s questionable human rights record on the continent. Dr. Jun Hua Zhang, Political Science professor at Zhejiang University (China), shared his views on China’s “going-out-strategy” and its implications for corporate responsibility.