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China’s Evolving Economic Relations with North Africa Before and After COVID-19

Date and time: September 10, 2020, 12 noon British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Register here [1].

China’s economic presence across North Africa has grown in recent years. The global power has forged close economic relationships with Egypt and Algeria, while also continuing to develop ties with Morocco and Tunisia. Beijing, which views the region as a geostrategic intersection between Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa, has primarily focused its efforts on developing bilateral relations, while also working within the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China–Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF). All countries of the region have agreed to participate in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which has raised concerns among Western powers. As North African countries grapple with fiscal constraints as part of the fallout from COVID-19 (and the oil price drop for hydrocarbon exporters such as Algeria), it is yet to be seen whether China’s ambitions and relations within the region will continue to develop at the same pace going forward.

In this webinar, organised by Chatham House’s MENA and Asia-Pacific Programmes, experts will discuss the evolving economic relationship between China and North African states, and explore the impact of China’s pandemic diplomacy across the region. How asymmetric are economic relations between China and North African states? Which sectors are most important, and what are the prospects for China to develop the region’s digital and healthcare infrastructure? Will China’s increasing economic interests necessitate an increasing political and security engagement? Should North African states be wary of Chinese loans? What is the public opinion of China’s economic presence in North Africa? Have Chinese ‘soft power’ efforts helped to bolster economic (and political) ties? What will be the likely fallout of COVID-19 on BRI and infrastructure projects in the region?

Event Contact: Lucy Ridout, Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Programme, tel. +44 (0) 20 7314 2761, lridout@chathamhouse.org [3]