From a report by the Africa Report, “twitter diplomacy”, debt and sustainable energy will shape China-Africa relationship in the year ahead. This article was written prior to the COVID-19 became a global pandemic.
Beijing had started an experiment on public diplomacy last year. Previously, public diplomacy was about a staid interview on CCTV. But now, Chinese diplomats in Africa started to have their own Twitter accounts. Chinese diplomats are having debates with African ministers on twitter and posting their own opinions on African issues and also other political issues.
But social media is not the only away for China to improve its soft power. Private corporations in China have provided initiatives such as satellite TV to expand their influence in Africa.
Debt is a long-lasting problem for the relationship between China and Africa. China owned a large proportion of African debt, and there were concerns about China intentionally indebting poor countries and ultimately take over their national assets, which is called “debt trap”.
This kind of narrative was popular in western countries. But there are problems with this. Firstly, western lending is also entering Africa at a fast speed. Secondly, there was indeed a great benefit of those debts, which always link with large-scale infrastructure.
There is a trend in recent years that private money will enter the debt deal and share the risk, which is also an important factor to notice in 2020.
Africa really needs dependable sources of power. There has a report showed that 43% of investment in infrastructure in Africa goes into power.
This sounds good for Chinese State-Owned Enpterirses who are expertise in building coal-powered plants. But conventional power generation received pressure locally.
China is a world leader in both polluting and sustainable power generation. From 2020, we can notice how China and the African government will choose which route.
Link to the original article: https://www.theafricareport.com/21866/china-africa-in-2020-three-trends-to-watch/