What to Expect at this Year’s Mega China-Africa Summit

A China in Africa Podcast

The sixth Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will be held in December in Johannesburg comes at a 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 percent year-over-year plunge in Chinese investment in Africa will no doubt loom over the meeting of president Xi Jinping and his African counterparts.

At previous FOCAC events, there has been an atmosphere of levity, even excitement, as China whips 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) and 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 (DIE), 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 and 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.