The 2024 edition of the China Conference at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government was concluded on April 21. Africa Policy Institute experts were invited to the Panel on “China and Africa: A New Chapter” organized the Greater China Society (GCS).

As China positions itself as a key player in global development arena in the new Millennium, it has forged strong ties with Africa’s 55 countries and organizations over the past 20 years, resulting in a dynamic partnership on multiple fronts. China has remained the continent’s largest single country trading partner Africa's trading partner for 15 consecutive years. China is Africa’s largest market, consuming one-fifth of the region's exports (mainly metals, minerals, and fuel) while Africa buys most of its manufactured goods and machinery from China. Beijing is among Africa’s top five major investors, a major source of Africa’s development finance and the topmost contractor of major infrastructure projects for the continent and top destination for African students and source of new technology powering the region.

For its part, Africa is a new frontier for China attracted by the world’s fastest growing economies and rich natural resources (including 40 percent of the world's gold, up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum and the world’s largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium, 65 per cent of the world's arable land, and ten percent of the planet's internal renewable fresh water source). Africa has the youngest and fastest growing population on earth (one-quarter of humanity) and at least one-third of all young people (aged 15 to 24). Africa is a growing destination of Chinese tourists, although numbers are still low— less than 1 million visitors out of nearly 155 million globally in 2019.

Sino-Africa partnership offers a unique lens through which to view Beijing’s growing role on the world stage. This has thrust Africa into the tornado path of the geopolitics in the ‘New Cold War’ in the 21st century. In this context, the intricacies of the growing Sino-Africa development partnership, opportunities and challenges that lie ahead are some of the issues that the panel discussion at the 2024 China Conference explored.

Professor Peter Kagwanja, President and CEO of the Africa Policy Institute was one of the speakers in the panel that attracted experienced speakers: Patrick Achi, Former Prime Minister, Head of Government, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Takele Banti, Former Minister for Mines Petroleum of Ethiopia; Pang Xinxing, Founder and Chairman of StarTimes Group; and Wang Xinsong, Associate Professor at Beijing Normal University. Harry Wang, Co-Chair, Greater China Society of Harvard Kennedy School, moderated the event.