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International Symposium: Africa-China Relations in the Post COVID-19 Era



Date: 12-13 May 2022 (Thursday - Friday)

MBG22, Patrick Lee Wan Keung Academic Building, Lingnan University / Zoom





Institute of Policy Studies, and School of Graduate Studies, Lingnan University



Concept Note


Public and academic discourse have in diverse ways evidenced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on how people, communities and nations connect. Without question, the mode, intensity, and medium of interactions within and between countries have changed dramatically since the pandemic. In the context of Africa-China relations, there also have been several changes. For instance, due to the pandemic, health services and related infrastructure and logistics have topped the agenda, as China became Africa’s biggest donor and supplier of COVID-19 vaccine and related materials. On the other hand, diplomatic engagements have either been scaled down or held online – making them more impersonal. In addition, the implementation of major infrastructure development projects was delayed causing extra financial costs.


The major impact of the pandemic has been on people-to-people engagement. African students at Chinese higher educational institutions have had their programmes or admission suspended or cancelled. For academics and researchers interested in empirical research, the pandemic has inevitably caused a rethink of methodological approaches and perhaps theoretical dispositions. Moreover, stringent inbound travel restrictions meant that African merchants had no access to their business connections in China, leading to extensive financial losses. With no let-up on China’s restrictions on international inbound and outbound travel, Africa-China people-to-people exchange seems to be getting the least attention from African and Chinese officials.


While the Chinese economy has picked up, the reduced engagements between Africa and China have been detrimental to fragile African economies. Even for economies that were on a positive growth trajectory, signs of fragility are emerging - signalling Africa’s dependence on trade with China and other major global economies, particularly in commodities. The civil war in Ethiopia and military coups in Guinea, Mali and Sudan further derail infrastructure and development programmes funded and implemented by China in these countries and more significantly raise more questions on Beijing’s stance regarding governance and politics in Africa.


As Africa and China prepare for the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC to be held in November 2021 in Senegal, there is no doubt that the post COVID-19 era brings with it significant changes to their engagement. Taking stock of the effect of COVID-19 on Africa-China engagements, this symposium also prods the emergent shifts and trends in Africa-China engagements, be it macro, meso and/or micro. 



By drawing on what we know so far in the periods before the pandemic, this two-day symposium will deliberate on the implications of the changes and experiences during the pandemic for the future of different aspects of Africa-China relations. It will be an opportunity to discuss what the proceedings of the 2021 FOCAC meeting mean for the future of Africa-China relations. Thus, the symposium aims to debate on, among others, these questions:


  1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the dynamics of China-Africa political, economic and other development partnerships at macro, meso and micro levels?
  2. What are the implications of the pandemic for the future of research and studies of China-Africa relations?
  3. How has African agency been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in what new ways can it be exercised?
  4. To what extend has the pandemic affected the progress made in China-Africa relations as regards people to people engagements?
  5. What have been the effects of the pandemic on public perceptions of Africa and China engagements?



Key Themes of the Symposium


The symposium will deliberate on these questions from theoretical and empirical approaches in four main areas including:

  1. Political and economic aspects of Africa-China engagement
    1. Chinese investments and industries in Africa
    2. China’s role in infrastructure building
    3. Knowledge and innovation transfer in China and Africa
    4. Natural resource contentions and people
    5. Governance, development models and policy learning
  2. Security and peacekeeping missions
  3. People to people engagements
    1. Perceptions and attitudes towards Africans in China and Chinese in Africa
    2. Cultural exchanges between China and Africa
    3. Migration trends and experiences
  4. Human development and well-being
    1. Health and well-being (e.g. China’s role in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa)
    2. Educational partnerships: experiences of people involved


The symposium will comprise mainly of themed paper presentations by invited speakers.



Invited Speakers and Guests


  1. Adams Bodomo (University of Vienna, Austria)
  2. Benjamin Mulvey (The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
  3. Yoon Jung Park (Executive Director, Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network; Adjunct Professor, African Studies, Georgetown University; JHU School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-CARI), United States)
  4. Obert Hodzi (University of Liverpool, United Kingdom)
  5. Roberto Carlos Castillo (Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
  6. Liang Xu (Peking University, China)
  7. John H. S. Åberg (Malmö University, Sweden)
  8. Mark Obeng (University of Ghana, Ghana)
  9. Frangton Chiyemura (Open University, United Kingdom)
  10. Cliff Mboya (China-Africa Project, Kenya)




Programme with ZOOM Links


12 May 2022 (Thursday) 13 May 2022 (Friday)



Full Programme Book

Click HERE



Partner Organisations


  • Africa-China Research Network
  • The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network





Prof. Padmore Adusei Amoah ([email protected]




The conference has been supported by the Postgraduate Students Conference/Seminar Grants of the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong


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