China’s development project in MENA

This event will address China’s present and future development project in MENA, as well as MENA governments’ response to development priorities on the ground. 

Research event, Webinar
23 November 2021 — 2:00PM TO 3:00PM

Great power competition between the West and China is exacerbating MENA’s internal development. Seeking to benefit from Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative and considering China a global investment engine, a wide breadth of MENA states have embraced China’s regional foray. Despite efforts to cultivate and deepen relations, China has until recently refused to take sides in the many intra-regional conflicts, ever reliant on the United States’ regional security architecture and exclusively engaging in security discussions via United Nations organs.

Once hailed as critical for China’s Belt and Road Development Initiative, MENA is now both a dwindling priority in the US foreign policy space and a second-tier strategic and military priority for China. At the same time, BRI’s relevance in Chinese foreign policy discourse is shifting as Chinese policymakers are increasingly viewing development and security priorities as one and the same. A deeper understanding of China’s stated development intentions and actual priorities in the MENA will become increasingly relevant to geopolitical discourse, and feed back into conversations on China’s tumultuous relationship with the United States.

At this webinar, part of the MENA Programme online events series, panellists will seek to answer the following questions:

  • What does the present and future look like for China’s development project in MENA?
  • How are MENA governments responding to various development priorities on the ground?

This event will be held on the record and will be livestreamed on the MENA Programme’s Facebook page.


Tin Hinane El Kadi, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Stella Hong Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow, China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Fellow, China & the World Program Fellow, Columbia University

Sophie Zinser, Schwarzman Academy Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme and Middle East North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Moderator: Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow,

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