Accepted paper:

China's training to African officials: soft power, public good or mutual learning?


Jinyan Zhou (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

With China's increasing engagement with Africa, the soft areas of China-Africa cooperation remain underresearched compared with trade, investment and infrastructure.This paper will review China's training to African elites under the framework of FOCAC and the evolving China-African relationship.

Paper long abstract:

China's presence in Africa has attracted a lot of research interest in trade, investment and infrastructure. However, little attention has been paid to soft issues in China-Africa cooperation. In fact, China's training courses to African elites become increasingly important. With focus on the history and present of China's training to African elites under FOCAC and the evolving China-Africa relationship, following questions will be discussed. What is the mechanism of China's training to African elites and which ministries, departments and colleges are involved in the training to African elites? What are China's motivations to provide training to African elites? What are the main content of those traininigs? What are the differences of China's training with those provided by Western donors? What are the impact of China's training and the transferability to African countries?

The paper argues that China's training to African elites have unique characters: First, it is based on equality and mutual benefit; Second, Africa's stance of "looking east" in the beginning of the century gave a boost to the exchange of experience on governance between China and Africa. With the deepening of cooperation, African countries realized that they not only need funds and investment from China, but also China's development and governance experiences; Third, China does not take the training as a soft power strategy, but rather as mutual learning process in the South-South cooperation. It is also a public good that China provides to African countries.

panel His16
Shaping hearts and mindsĀ : African elites' training from the colonial era to the present