Africa’s Economic Transformation: exploring the Role of Chinese Investment

When: November 12, 2020
Where: Online event hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs, global
Add to Calendar 11/12/2020 12:00 pm 11/12/2020 01:30 pm Africa’s Economic Transformation: exploring the Role of Chinese Investment

This webinar explores the role of Chinese investment in Africa’s economic transformation, and its path to a Covid-19 pandemic recovery.

While China’s approach to Africa was initially quite narrow, with a strong focus on extractives, it is now active in many areas of the African economy. From infrastructure provision to investment in Africa’s growing technology and services sectors, this event was a chance to reflect on the complexity of China’s role, while also looking forward. The Covid-19 crisis is putting unprecedented pressure on Africa – now it is not only a health crisis, but also rapidly evolving into a debt and economic crisis too. China is intimately involved in all these areas and can play a key role in Africa’s post-pandemic recovery.

In this webinar, the focus was on how Chinese trade and investment will contribute to a post-Covid-19 Africa and what the continent’s options are for making this interaction more fruitful.

In broad terms, the event focused on the following questions:

  • How can trade and investment boost a post-Covid-19 recovery?
  • How can African policy increase linkages between African and Chinese firms to boost job creation?
  • How can development be maximised all along value chains, rather than in isolation?
  • How can joint ventures and other longer-term partnerships be supported?
  • How can policy boost virtuous competition while minimising malicious competition?
  • What should African policymakers understand about Chinese investment?

This event was co-hosted by SAIIA and ODI, and launches the Development and Economic Growth Research Programme (DEGRP) new report Africa’s Economic Transformation: The Role of Chinese Investment. DEGRP funds world-class scientific research on inclusive economic growth in low-income countries (LICs) and is supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and UK Economic and Social Research Council.


  • Anzetse Were – Economist, FSD Kenya
  • Tang Xiaoyang – Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University and Deputy Director at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
  • Lesley Wentworth – Managing Director of Tutwa consulting
  • Linda Calabrese – Research Fellow in the International Economic Development Group, ODI and the Evidence and Policy Group (EPG) China-Africa lead
  • Hannah Ryder – Chief Executive Officer at Development Reimagined

Watch the webinar on the SAIIA YouTube channel