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Q&A: Why is Benin on Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s African Tour Itinerary?

China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Addis Ababa during a five-nation tour of Africa that includes a stop in Benin. Amanuel Sileshi / AFP

The newly appointed head of Chinese diplomacy, Qin Gang, has begun his first African tour which will take him to five countries. A visit that is part of the long tradition of Chinese diplomacy to reserve the first overseas tour to the African continent.

Among the five countries he will visit, in addition to the “major partners” of China in Africa, Ethiopia, Angola, and Egypt, there are also two other countries of relatively low importance for China in Africa, Gabon, and Benin. While the journey through the first three seems easier to explain, the steps in Benin and Gabon require some insight to understand. 

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