Continuity and caution key to China-Africa relations in Xi Jinping’s third term –

He said Xi inherited an African policy that was already on an upward trajectory under his predecessor, Hu Jintao, and to some extent his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who founded the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. China since Mao”.

He said the recent congress also adopted a number of Xi’s policy ideas and directives in the party constitution.

“This strong consolidation of personal power means that Xi’s signature policies — including the revised China Policy on Africa passed in 2021 — will continue,” Nantulia said.

In his two-hour speech to Congress, Xi spent a great deal of time realizing China’s vision of “leading global governance reform and establishing a new type of international relations” based on Chinese and common standards.

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“At the heart of this framework is the role of countries in the Global South – including African countries – in laying the groundwork for Chinese leadership initiatives on the global stage,” Nantulia said.

Interestingly, the word “global” appeared more than 30 times in the Central Committee’s work report, on which Xi’s speech was based.

“China’s efforts to reshape global institutions depend heavily on diplomatic support from the Global South, especially from African countries that make up the largest constituencies in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations,” Nantulia said.

Africa will continue to play a major role in all of this, even as China turns to pushing harder on higher-order issues such as unity with Taiwan, maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, and intense military competition with the United States, especially in the western Pacific, Nantulia said.

He said Xi’s policies are also a continuation of the long-established principle that “major powers are the key, China’s periphery is the priority, developing countries are the foundation, and multilateral platforms are the stage.”

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“This arrangement of foreign policy priorities is set to continue, which means that Africa will remain a major component of China’s foreign affairs, even as China is likely to scale back funding and larger initiatives on the continent,” Nantulia said.

Nairobi-based international relations analyst Adair Cavenes said Xi’s third term will provide continuity, as many of the signed projects launched in the decade after his rise to power, such as the Belt and Road plan, will continue.

But he said there will also be change, with a new partnership approach where high-quality development will be the main theme.

“This signals a shift away from flashy infrastructure projects in favor of so-called ‘small and beautiful’ cities,” said Cavins.

He said investments in healthcare, digital connectivity, clean energy and poverty reduction were likely to define the next five years, with frameworks such as public-private partnerships given higher priority.

Cavins said Beijing is increasingly seen as an alternative to the Western model of social and economic transformation, which many developing countries like.

“As the main source of many industrial products consumed in Africa, as well as a preferred destination for young Africans seeking higher education abroad, any political decision China makes will have a direct impact on many African countries, hence the interest of the Communist Party Congress. Cavins said.

Congress has reinforced recent policy realignments of overseas Chinese engagement with domestic political and economic priorities, said Tim Zaguntz, a researcher at the Center for International and Comparative Politics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

However, he said, this does not mean that Africa will receive less attention from Beijing.

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“The Sino-African engagements will rather become more pragmatic and strategic,” Zaguntz said. “The Belt and Road Initiative, which Xi signed, has already been scaled back in the wake of mounting debt pressures.”

Congress also made clear that there would be no easing of China’s Covid-Zero policy anytime soon, and said this would continue to have significant ramifications for the tens of thousands of Africans who study, work or do business in the country. In addition, Chinese economic growth is likely to be curbed, which could negatively affect demand for African goods and Chinese investment in Africa, Zaguntz said.

In the next five years, he said, Africa will continue to play a central role in Xi’s vision of an alternative model to globalization under Chinese leadership.

“During Xi’s third term, Chinese policy in Africa is likely to be increasingly characterized by geopolitical and geoeconomic competition with the West,” Zaguntz said.

He said Beijing will focus its resources and diplomatic efforts more on mobilizing political support for Xi’s global ambitions as well as resolving the Taiwan issue.

“On an institutional level, Xi’s third term could serve as an inspiration for autocrats in African capitals to remove period boundaries and reinterpret democracy along the lines of the Chinese Communist Party,” Zaguntz added.

Emmanuel Matambo, director of research at the Center for African-Chinese Studies at the University of Johannesburg, said Xi’s speech highlighted the importance of promoting peace and development in the world, and that this will have an impact on Africa, where the need for security has seen some citizens. Support for military dictatorships, as in Burkina Faso.

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“This is driven by the false hope that military leadership is the surefire way to deal with violent extremism,” Matambo said.

He said that China is Africa’s single most important partner and that it will increasingly rival entire blocs such as the European Union.

Beijing has not provided direct financing for the controversial $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam across the Blue Nile near Juba, Ethiopia, but has provided loans for related infrastructure. Photo: AFP

Beijing has not provided direct financing for the controversial $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam across the Blue Nile near Juba, Ethiopia, but has provided loans for related infrastructure. Photo: AFP

“So, whatever [Partito Comunista]”Especially with regard to international issues, it will have an impact on Africa’s security and economic trajectory,” Matambo said.

Since he came to power, he said, Xi has been very keen on choosing Africa as China’s partner.

“Xi has visited South Africa more than he has visited many other countries in the world, and it is also worth noting that China has maintained the tradition of the country’s foreign minister choosing Africa as the first place he visits at the beginning of each year,” Matambo said.

Thus, Xi Jinping’s third term in office will see Africa continue to rank high in the priorities of China’s global prospects. This, of course, says nothing about whether this third term bodes well or badly for Africa in the long run.”

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