There was a flurry of Chinese diplomatic activity in Africa this week with Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s first overseas trip of the year who went to Eritrea, Kenya, and the Comoros Islands. While eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean are becoming increasingly strategic theaters for Chinese engagement on the continent, in many ways they’re still secondary to South Africa’s overall importance.
South Africa is the main gateway for the bulk of Chinese mineral imports from Africa, it’s home to the largest ethnic Chinese population on the continent and serves as an important ideological ally through close ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the ruling African National Congress.
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