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New Book Explains Why You Shouldn’t Focus Only on Hard Metrics to Evaluate China’s Engagement in Africa

A highly-anticipated new book by acclaimed China-Africa scholar Lina Benabdallah went on sale today. “Shaping the Future of Power” details a key difference that distinguishes China’s engagement strategy in Africa from that of other countries: its extensive professional and skills-transfer initiatives. 

For the most part this is a poorly understood part of the China-Africa relationship, which is too often measured in terms of quantifiable “hard metrics” like trade volumes, troop deployments, FDI, and so on. Instead, Benabdallah, an assistant professor at Wake Forest University in the United States, argues that China’s massive investment in fostering ties with African elites and tens of thousands of professionals through training programs is a critical component of its foreign policy strategy.

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