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Q&A: What Should Qin Gang Know About Africa and What Africans Should Know About China’s New Foreign Minister?

China's new Foreign Minister Qin Gang was greeted at Bole International Airport in Addis Abba by hi Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen Hassen on January 10, 2023. Image via the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Qin Gang did not have a lot of time to prepare for his current tour of Africa, his first as foreign minister. The five-nation, week-long trip comes less than two weeks after he started his new job, so he’s no doubt getting up to speed as are his counterparts in Angola, Ethiopia, Gabon, Benin, Egypt who he’ll meet over the next few days, and are likely unfamiliar with Qin given his lack of experience in African affairs.

But even before Qin’s appointment to the job, speculation had been rampant that the former ambassador to the U.S. was a contender for the job. It was even evident to some observers at the Semafor Africa Summit, a conference organized by the online news company Semafor on the sidelines of last month’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit where Qin was seen studiously taking notes during a panel session on China-Africa affairs hosted by Gyude Moore from the Center for Global Development along with two of the field’s leading analysts, Yunnan Chen from the Overseas Development Institute and Paul Nantulya from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C.

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