4th Global Africas: Africa and China

November 2023

Invited speakers:
Dr. Duncan Yoon, Samantha Biffot

The increased intensity of economic and political relations between the People’s Republic of China and African nations in the 21st century has been of great international interest. At the start of this century, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a uni-multilateral partnership, was established between China and 53 African nations. In 2006 at the FOCAC summit in Beijing, Chinese and African leaders agreed to a new strategic partnership, which has resulted in Chinese financial assistance to African nations including the cancellation of African debt, significant investment agreements, and a sharp rise in trade between China and African nations in which raw materials leave the African continent in exchange for Chinese manufactured goods. China’s expanding influence in Africa has raised concern for disrupting the dependent relationships between African nations and the United States and European nations. In 2013, China announced its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) (also known as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative”), a global infrastructure plan to improve trade routes on land and over water. When combined, the FOCAC and BRI have dramatically reshaped life on the African continent, as many journalists and analysts have pointed out. For Achille Mbembe, “China has, for now, become a far more prominent actor than others in the future-making of Africa, to the point where Africa is not only a planetary question … but also and more specifically a Chinese question.”

The 4th Global Africas symposium, “Africa and China,” looks to the past and the present to enrich our understanding of the relationship between Africa and China beyond geopolitical and economic endeavors and does so through culture. First, Dr. Duncan Yoon, Assistant Professor at New York University, will speak about his new book, China in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century African Literature, in which he explores “the controversial symbol of China in African literature.” Second, there will be a screening of the 2015 documentary The African Who Wanted to Fly (L’Africain qui voulait voler) about Gabonese Luc Bendza, who dreamt of mastering the martial arts thanks to his childhood passion for films featuring Bruce Lee and Wag Yu by Gabonese director Samantha Biffot, who will also join us for an online discussion of her documentary and her work.

Register to attend here

Zoom Link