The 6th Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will be held in December in Johannesburg comes at critical time in the Sino-African relationship. The combination of China’s slowing economy, a major slump in global commodity prices and a dramatic 84% YOY plunge in Chinese investment in Africa will no doubt loom over the meeting of president Xi Jinping and his African counterparts.
In previous FOCAC events, there’s been an atmosphere of levity, even excitement, as China whipped out its massive checkbook to buy friends and influence on the continent. While it’s expected that Beijing will likely unveil more multi-billion development and investment programs in December, some analysts wonder whether this money will actually be new funds or simply a repackaging of existing commitments.
Other issues expected to be on the agenda at this year’s FOCAC include wildlife protection (ivory), an expansion of Chinese private sector investment and infrastructure development in eastern and southern Africa.
Dr. Sven Grimm is a leading Africa-China scholar with the German Development Institute where he is a Senior Researcher and coordinator of DIE’s “Rising Powers” program. He is also the Editor-in-chief of the academic journal “African East-Asian Affairs.” Dr. Grimm joins Eric & Cobus to discuss what impact China’s changing economy will have on its Africa policy and how this will likely play out at the FOCAC summit.
- Xinhua via Independent Online (South Africa): SA Readies for FOCAC Summit
- The Financial Times: African growth feels the strain from China’s slowdown
- The Financial Times: Chinese investment in Africa plunges 84%
Dr Sven Grimm is a political scientist and has worked on external partners’ co-operation with Africa since 1999. He is currently a Senior Researcher and the Coordinator of the “Rising Powers” program at the The German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut fuer Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn. Since 2006 his research has focused on emerging economies’ role in Africa, and specifically China-Africa relations. Dr Grimm studied in Hamburg, Germany, Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal and has obtained his PhD from Hamburg University in 2002 with a thesis on EU-Africa relations. He has previously worked with the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and was the former head of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa.
Dr. Grimm’s research interests include: The comparative perspective on external partners in Africa; Chinese development cooperation with Africa; European Africa policy; African perspectives on development and discussions around cooperation between Europe, China and African states.