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April 5, 2024

Kenya's and Zambia's Relations with China 1949-2019

Event Series: China and the Global South

Showing the Kenya's and Zambia's Relations with China 1949-2019 Video

Africa has become a major platform from which to analyze and understand China's growing influence in the Global South. Yet, the impact of their historical relationship has been largely overlooked. Through the triangulation of the global Cold War, African history, and Chinese history, Kenya's and Zambia's Relations with China 1949-2019 (2023) by Jodie Yuzhou Sun provides a detailed analysis of China-Africa relations in the second half of the twentieth century. Examining the encounters, conflicts, and dynamics of China-Kenya/Zambia relations from the 1950s until the present, as well as the basis on which historical narratives have been constructed, the book presents two contrasting state perspectives underlining the concept of African agency. Challenging both the widely accepted role of China-Africa's historical lineage, as well as the tendency to assume uniformity in China's relationships across the continent, the author sheds light on the historical underpinnings - or lack thereof - on contemporary China-Africa relations.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Africa-China Initiative, History Department, Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues, and Howard University’s Center for African Studies.


Jodie Yuzhou Sun is senior lecturer in modern African and global history at the Department of History at Fudan University. She is also a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Her research interests are modern African history, Cold War history, and China-Africa relations.

Solange Guo Chatelard is a research associate at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium (ULB). Her research focuses on China's reforms and Chinese globalization, specifically Chinese engagements in Africa based on long term ethnographic research in Zambia and China. In addition to research, Solange has produced two film documentaries about China's growing presence in Africa, “When China Met Africa” (BBC/ARTE) and “King Cobra and the Dragon” (AL JAZEERA).

Emmanuel Matambo is a research director at the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg. His main area of interest is African agency, especially the continent’s relationship with outside states and institutions, mainly China. He also focuses on Africa’s long overdue role as principal architect of peace and security on the continent.

Anita Plummer is an associate professor at Howard University in Washington, DC. Her research and teaching focus on African political economy, emerging markets, transnationalism and Sino-African relations. She is a co-convenor for the Africa-China Initiative’s Research Working Group titled “Demand, Disruption, and Transformation: African Agency in Digital Geopolitics.” Her recent book, Kenya’s Engagement with China: Discourse, Power, and Agency (MSU Press, 2022) analyzes popular discourses on Kenya and China within contested political spaces.