Howard French lecture: “Understanding China's Engagement with Africa in a Historical Perspective”


Location: Hesburgh Center for International Studies C103

French 1200

About the Lecture

In this talk, French will argue that China began its recently much-remarked turn to Africa far earlier than is commonly recognized. The basis for Beijing’s renewed engagement with the continent was laid early in the Jiang Zemin period, when it was argued that Africa offered a set of fundamentals that were uniquely suited to China as it sought ways of broadening its growth model after the successes of building a system of Special Economic Zones under Deng Xiaoping. After exploring these fundamentals in depth, French will turn to considering how China executed its Africa strategy and how its successes and failures in economic and political engagement with this continent helped set the stage for even larger Chinese global economic ambitions which are embodied in the ongoing Belt and Road Initiative.

This talk is part of the yearlong China-Africa Lecture series sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

About the Speaker

Howard W. French is a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He is a career foreign correspondent and global affairs writer and the author of four books, including most recently “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power.” From 1990 to 2008, French reported overseas for the New York Times as bureau chief for Central America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, Japan and the Koreas, and China, based in Shanghai. He is currently writing a book about Africa and the birth of modernity.