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Q&A: Why Provinces, Not the Government in Beijing, Are Becoming the New Force in China-Africa Trade

The march 2021 opening ceremony of a new African coffee import demonstration center in the southern Chinese province of Hunan. Image via ChinaAfrica.

China’s engagement in Africa in the modern era is undergoing an important transition as the central government in Beijing, once the exclusive driver of this relationship, is stepping back to cede more space to provincial, municipal, and other so-called “sub-national actors” to facilitate trade and pioneer new policy innovations. The growing diversity of Chinese stakeholders in Africa, especially from some of China’s provinces, is a trend that’s been developing for several years now but still remains poorly understood by most outside observers.

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The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


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