China has become a source of significant aid, investment, and loans for countries across the African continent. Chinese funds back a wide range of projects from transportation infrastructure to energy and minerals, medicine, agriculture, and telecommunications. How should we assess Chinese activities in Africa? Are they positively impacting development and economic transformation in African countries, or do the critiques of exploitation and debt trap diplomacy hold some validity? This expert panel examined the tools through which China’s economic ties to Africa are deepening and unpack the nuances of Chinese aid and investment on the continent.
This event was sponsored by Georgetown University’s Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues and Africa-China Initiative with Howard University’s Center for African Studies.
Yike Fu is a policy analyst and program manager at Development Reimagined (DR), specializing in African development, China-Africa relations, and development finance. She has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work while at DR, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis, and climate change. She previously worked at the International Finance Corporation and the African Union Representational Mission to the U.S.
Oyintarelado (Tarela) Moses is the data analyst and database manager for the Global China Initiative at the Boston University Global Development Policy (GDP) Center. Prior to joining the GDP Center, she worked on the international relations team of the Export-Import Bank of the United States as a policy analyst. She also worked at the China Africa Research Initiative as a research assistant and interned at the U.S. Development Finance Corporation as a political risk insurance graduate assistant.
Winslow Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate in Managing People in Organizations at IESE Business School researching the intersection between ideology and management. He is also the founder and managing member of Cowries and Rice, a China-Africa strategic consultancy which promotes sustainable business practices by Chinese organizations operating in the African continent. Robertson has over a decade of experience studying and working with Chinese actors operating overseas.
Marina Rudyak is an interim professor for Chinese society and economy at the University of Goettingen. Her research focuses on China’s international development cooperation and the foreign policy discourse of the Chinese Communist Party. She previously worked as program manager with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Beijing. She is a co-founder of the Decoding China Dictionary, which analyzes how key terms of international cooperation are understood differently in the Western and the official Chinese discourse.
Vanessa Watters Opalo (moderator) is an economic anthropologist and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program (STIA) at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. She studies the ways that finance has become an important aspect of economic welfare and development projects. Her current book project focuses on credit-granting institutions and the rise of the cooperative lending movement in Togo and the West African region more broadly.