Strengthening Africa-China relations : a perspective from Botswana

Youngman, Frank (2013-11)

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This paper is a preliminary consideration of issues relating to the relationship between Botswana and China. There is little existing research on the subject and the paper seeks to develop the basis for further conceptual analysis and empirical study. It provides a country-level exploration of Africa-China relations and how they might be strengthened. The paper addresses three general questions on Africa-China relations in the context of Botswana, namely: What are the different dimensions of Africa-China relations? What are the issues currently facing Africa-China relations? What specific measures can be taken to strengthen Africa-China relations? Firstly, the paper identifies the different dimensions of relations between Africa and China so that the multi-faceted and complex nature of these relations is emphasized. The next section considers the historical development of Botswana-China relations, after which an assessment is made of the issues present in the current situation. On the basis of this analysis, possible measures to strengthen relations are examined. A case study is provided of the role of the University of Botswana in promoting Botswana-China relations. In conclusion, it is proposed that empirical research on the topic is necessary. This paper was initially presented at the Third Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum in Beijing in October 2013. It should be noted that the sequence ‘Africa-China’ is used deliberately to emphasize that an Africa-centred perspective has been taken. Furthermore, the paper relies predominantly on African and Chinese writers and sources in order to circumvent the problem of the over-reliance on Western analysts in the study of Africa-China relations.

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