FOCAC 2021: China’s retrenchment from Africa? (Yun Sun, Brookings)

The eighth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) ministerial meeting that took place in Dakar, Senegal, concluded just last week. Like previous FOCAC meetings, China presented its vision for China-Africa relations for the next three years, this time under the theme “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era.” A review of the content, however, illustrates significant shifts in China’s priorities, emphasis, and approaches from its earlier patterns. In fact, the Financial Times has lamented the quantitative reduction of China’s financial commitments from $60 billion in 2018 to $40 billion this year. However, it is the qualitative changes that raise bigger questions as to whether China is leaving Africa after two decades of robust and ever-growing engagement. Some of the shifts could be temporary and tactical. However, the impact of the others could be far-reaching and long-term.

FOCAC 2021: China’s retrenchment from Africa? (