China's Evolving Economic Relations with North Africa: Before and After COVID-19

Research event
10 September 2020 — 12:00PM TO 1:30PM

China’s economic presence across North Africa has grown in recent years. The global power has forged close economic relationships with Egypt and Algeria, while also continuing to develop ties with Morocco and Tunisia.

Beijing, which views the region as a geostrategic intersection between Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa, has primarily focused its efforts on developing bilateral relations, while also working within the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China–Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF).

All countries of the region have agreed to participate in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which has raised concerns among Western powers. As North African countries grapple with fiscal constraints as part of the fallout from COVID-19 (and the oil price drop for hydrocarbon exporters such as Algeria), it is yet to be seen whether China’s ambitions and relations within the region will continue to develop at the same pace going forward.

In this webinar, organized by Chatham House’s MENA and Asia-Pacific Programmes, experts will discuss the evolving economic relationship between China and North African states, and explore the impact of China’s pandemic diplomacy across the region.

How asymmetric are economic relations between China and North African states? Which sectors are most important, and what are the prospects for China to develop the region’s digital and healthcare infrastructure? Will China’s increasing economic interests necessitate an increasing political and security engagement? Should North African states be wary of Chinese loans? What is the public opinion of China’s economic presence in North Africa? Have Chinese ‘soft power’ efforts helped to bolster economic (and political) ties? What will be the likely fallout of COVID-19 on BRI and infrastructure projects in the region?

You can express your interest in attending by following this link. You will receive a Zoom confirmation email should your registration be successful. Alternatively, you can watch the event live on the MENA Programme Facebook page.


Chuchu Zhang, Associate Professor, School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University
Emilie Tran, Assistant Professor, Department of Government & International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
Mohamed El Dahshan, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Yahia Zoubir, Visiting Fellow, Brookings Doha Center; Senior Professor of International Studies, KEDGE Business School
Chair: Adel Hamaizia, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme

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