published on The Chinese Monitor (Special Edition: FOCAC VI: African initiatives toward a sustainable Chinese relationshiop), 32-41
The relationship between China and Africa goes well beyond the time of the establishment of a Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) and relations between the two entities go well beyond the state-to-state co-operation. However, when looking specifically at FOCAC or even China-Africa relations more broadly, the context for these interactions is often not sufficiently considered. The myopic view on China is somewhat understandable, given limited resources. However, it is academically unsatisfactory. And a myopic view potentially comes with risks for African states. Observers need to understand the context and the rationale of which FOCAC is an expression, in order to understand potential and real tensions with other, parallel or even paramount agendas.
This contribution’s aims are thus the following: first, we will explore the context of the political debate. Secondly, more immediately on the forum as an institution, a brief stock-taking is
done of its achievements and challenges. And thirdly, a view to the 2015 meeting specifically should consider the time beyond 2015 and include a view on the institutional setting as such, so as to provide useful recommendations on how to use and develop the setting of FOCAC further. The contribution is building on earlier publications – not least so: those by the Centre for Chinese Studies on FOCAC meetings – and is aspiring to be a constructive contribution for policy-discussions in an African setting.