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China-Africa Relations

Medhane Tadesse gave a speech on China- Africa relations to African diplomats based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the 17th of September 2010. China and Africa’s evolving relationship in the post-Cold War era is one of the most significant developments in the international relations of this period. Beijing, has, in a short decade, become Africa’s third largest trading partner after Europe and the US. Chinese trade and assistance to Africa resumed markedly at the end of the Cold War and has grown exponentially over the last 20 years. China’s relations with African states continue to be an emerging phenomenon.

A senior representative from the Chinese embassy in Addis also presented his counter arguments to the panel. The event was organized by the ACSS International Alumni Chapter and the African Center for Strategic Studies. The title of Medhane’s speech  was China's Role in Africa: A Mixed Blessing.

His presentation dealt with the following issues:
• The history of Chinese engagement in Africa
• The end of the Cold War and the changing nature of Chinese interest
• The nexus between ideology and resources
• Tensions between bilateral and multilateral approaches
• Risks and opportunities regarding economic development: Problems undermining the value of Chinese investment for African countries
• Damage reduction and FOCAC
• Hazards in the field of peace and security. The so-called the unmistakable threat: the crisis in norms and principles


The speech was followed by a heated debate on the challenges ahead. It was noted that on the economic front China has offered an opportunity but also a challenge. On the political front however it seems to have posed a real threat. And the message was that it is up to African countries to be able to seize the opportunity and minimize the risks. And above all, the AU should identify strategies to ensure that Africa is able to define clearly its interests towards China in a way it is beneficial to the continent.
It is not a conincidence that a major focus of the is the role of external actors in Africa.





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