Cynthia Liao

Academy Associate, Africa Programme

Headshot of Cynthia Liao


Cynthia’s research and analysis examines the geopolitical implications of emerging development strategies from China and the West and how developing countries, particularly in Africa, are evolving their approaches to development in the context of COVID-19 recovery and climate change. 

Cynthia’s expertise also stems from her thesis research on the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative during her time as a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University. Cynthia previously served as an experienced global health practitioner at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. She implemented projects with government, multilateral institutions and private sector partners to improve healthcare access across Africa and Asia, including on pandemic response and preparedness.

Previously, Cynthia was an investor in clean energy transition and infrastructure finance in both developed and developing country contexts. Cynthia’s career has spanned North America, Europe, Africa and China.  Cynthia holds a Master’s in Global Affairs from Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School, Western University. She is Canadian and originally from Shanghai, China. 

Past experience

2022-present  Deputy Head of Climate Change & Environment, British Embassy in Beijing, China

Schwarzman Academy Associate, Chatham House Africa Programme

2020-21 Master’s of Global Affairs as Schwarzman Scholar, Tsinghua University, Beijing
2017-20 Senior Global Markets Officer for Oxygen, Solar and Assistive Technology, Clinton Health Access Initiative 
2014-17 Renewables Energy Investments, General Electric