Qin Gang is carrying on a 33-year-old tradition by making Africa the first official visit of the new year for China’s foreign minister. Qin took office just two weeks ago and is new to African affairs, so this week’s five-nation tour is more about him and his hosts getting to know one another than engaging in substantive policy discussions.
But the tour comes at a critical juncture for China’s engagement on the continent. Chinese lending to African countries is down, great power competition is up and there’s a new foreign policy team in Beijing that appears more focused on the U.S. and Europe than Global South regions including Africa.
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