Psychology and Interdisciplinary Sciences Building
36 Eagle Row #290, Atlanta, GA 30322
Lecture by Howard French
When China began to re-engage with Africa beginning in the mid- 1990s, its focus on economic opportunity on the continent took many outside observers, and indeed most Western countries by surprise. This talk will explain how China’s push to engage Africa flowed from a careful analysis of China’s own strategic needs as it sought to transition from being a center of elementary manufacturing to becoming a global economic power of the first rank. Unlike the United States, which traditionally sees Africa almost entirely as a zone of security risks and humanitarian crises, China paid due attention to the continent’s rapidly changing demographics, to its urbanization, to the emergence for the first time of numerically important African middle classes, and to the continent’s immense need for new infrastructure. The United States and the West generally can learn much from China’s advances in Africa, but in order to do so, they will first need to revise many of their traditional assumptions about the continent’s place in the international system.