Third Period of Jinping and China-Africa Relations

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China-Africa relations in the period of Xi Jinping’s presidency China have reached new peaks in terms of diplomatic and economic and have reached new levels. During his ten years of power, Jinping’s Bel-Road Initiative has brought new accomplishments in many areas such as industry, infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, and communication, and has led the way for a bigger project in Africa in general. In addition, Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has tripled China’s financial undertaking towards Africa. Through FOCAC, China was supported more than Africa in terms of the support of the activities in the United Nations (UN).

At the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress held between October 17-23, 2022, Camping extended his rule to a third term. The congress was also closely followed by African governments. Because China is currently the country with the highest trade volume with Africa. In addition, African countries generally want this to continue.  The positive progress of Africa-China relations, which have a multifaceted and stable structure, is seen as important for the continent’s governments in terms of financial continuity.

Under Mao Zedong, the founder and first leader of the Chinese Communist Party, China and Africa enjoyed a close relationship, especially because Beijing supported liberation movements on the continent.  Under Deng Xiaoping, however, China focused more on domestic reforms and less on relations with Africa, and more on Western countries. Under Xi Jinping, bilateral relations have reached a higher level than at any time since Mao Zedong. Therefore, relations are expected to strengthen further during Jinping’s third term.

In 2018, Jinping was granted a third term through an amendment to the constitution. At the 20th CPC Congress, Jinping was elected for a third term, and this could inspire governments in Africa. This points to a trend that has recently started to return on the African continent. African leaders will also be very keen to extend their stay in power.  Nevertheless, it is difficult to separate the influence of a single individual from the re-shifting demand capacity in Africa, driven by trends stemming from China’s globalization. Indeed, China-Africa relations predate President Jinping and are driven by many actors. Therefore, even if only Jinping has an influence, we should not forget the influence of other actors.

However, it is thought that Africa-China relations will continue in the same way with Jinping’s third term. For the moment, no issue will change the nature of relations. Therefore, it seems likely that relations will continue as in Jinping’s first and second terms.  However, the most important point that can be stated at this point is that China under Jinping has a diplomatic aim to win the countries of the “Global South.” In this context, it can be said that Jinping will further strengthen China’s diplomatic ties with African countriesIn addition, as a reflection of China’s success in terms of diplomacy and soft power in Africa, the approach of African countries towards the Russia-Ukraine War is another important issue. In this context, it is observed that African countries follow Beijing’s lead in voting for resolutions condemning Russia at the UN. Although this rate is not yet fully generalized, China has a significant influence.  China seems to be a valuable figure for the African countries in the global south, and the US and the EU are trying to catch up at this point. It is known that the US has opened a special chapter for Africa in its recently published strategy document. Therefore, this is an indication that the US does not want to leave Africa to Russia and China.[1]

China under Jinping has gradually created a pro/anti-China world. While some of the countries have pragmatic or obligatory relations with China in line with their interests, others are allegedly weak democracies.  On the other hand, other countries, particularly the US and Europe, have generally aligned with the West. Beijing has become less interested in countries that have adopted an anti-China policy. At this point, realizing that it has a large alternative in the global south, China has taken great steps to strengthening its ties with these countries. This can be seen in the investments it has made under the Belt-Road Project. For example, many countries in Central Asia and Africa could fall into this category. Jinping will likely make relations with these countries a foreign policy priority in his third term. In this respect, Beijing can be expected to strengthen its ties with countries in Africa with which it has moderate relations.

In the last two years of Jinping’s administration, economic policies have not yielded any results in terms of growth. It can be said that the Chinese economy has slowed down due to the decline in growth rates after years. This slowdown may lead to a change in Chinese foreign policy. For instance, many of China’s major infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative are likely to slow down in the new era. Therefore, China will allocate less funding for the BRI. This will lead to a decline in economic relations and investments with African countries. At the last FOCAC session in 2021, Beijing’s funding for Africa, including loans, aid, and investments, was announced at $20 billion less than its 2018 commitment.[2] However, China will not turn away from Africa. In political, diplomatic, and economic terms, Africa is a gem and an investment that China will never want to give up. It seems that China may be a little more frugal in terms of financing and credit due to its slowing economy. Otherwise, a financing flow like in recent years does not seem sustainable given the slowdown in China’s economy.

Beijing’s shifting investments away from challenging and large infrastructure projects towards agriculture, renewable and sustainable energy, information communication technologies, and other areas in Africa is a sign of things to come. Finally, it can be said that China will continue to increase its influence on the continent in this new era within the framework of soft power. In 2022, a political party training school was opened in Tanzania, funded by the CPC with 40 million dollars and training political officials and leaders.[3] The increase in the number of these schools in the coming period could lead to the spread of China’s communist ideology among African rulers, thus enabling China to gain ideological power on the continent.

[1] “U.S. National Security Strategy: Build 21st century U.S.-Africa partnerships”, United States Africa Command, (Date of Accession: 22.10.2022)

[2] “Europe, Take Note: A New Course for China-Africa Relations Set Out at FOCAC 2021”, Center For Global Development, (Date of Accession: 22.10.2022)

[3] “Spreading ideology: Chinese Communist Party opens school in Tanzania to train party officials from region”, The India Times, (Date of Accession: 22.10.2022)

Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi Siyaset Bilimi ve Kamu Yönetimi bölümünde lisans eğitimi alan Göktuğ ÇALIŞKAN, aynı süreçte çift ana dal programı kapsamında üniversitenin Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi’nde yer alan Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünde de eğitim görmüştür. 2017 yılında lisans mezuniyetini tamamladıktan sonra Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünde yüksek lisans programına başlayan Çalışkan, bu programı 2020 yılında başarı ile tamamlamıştır. 2018 yılında ise çift ana dal programı kapsamında eğitim gördüğü Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünden mezun olmuştur. Millî Eğitim Bakanlığı (MEB) bursu kapsamında 2017 yılı YLSY programını kazanarak halen Fransa’da dil eğitimi alan Göktuğ Çalışkan aynı zamanda Erciyes Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi son sınıf öğrencisidir. YLSY programı kapsamında Fas'ta Uluslararası Rabat Üniversitesinde Yönetişim ve Uluslararası İstihbarat alanında 2. yüksek lisansını yapmakta olan Çalışkan, Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası Ilişkiler bölümünde doktorasına başlamıştır. Iyi derecede İngilizce ve Fransızca bilmektedir.