Shaping The Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations

How do rising powers increase and exercise their influence in Africa? Looking at China’s foreign policy in Africa, one might be compelled to strictly think about China’s military base in Djibouti or Chinese investments in natural resources and infrastructure projects. However, I argue that there is a whole other side to China-Africa relations that is very important to understand yet often gets neglected. The Chinese government spends millions of dollars on professionalization trainings, elite visits, party-to-party relations, and cultural exchanges with African partners. Chinese universities have become the top destination for thousands of Africans seeking higher education degrees. Even when Chinese financial loans to Africa decreased in 2018, pledges to provide scholarships, training opportunities, and exchange visits increased. More on the book here.

H-Diplo: Book Roundtable XXIII-13 on Benabdallah.  Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations


Introduction by Xiaoyu Pu, University of Nevada, Reno

Review by Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa

Review by Renanah Miles Joyce, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Kennedy School

Review by Haley J. Swedlund, Radboud University

Response by Lina Benabdallah, Wake Forest University

Fun fact:

I took the picture that ended up being the cover of the book just outside of Beijing while visiting the Lafang training base in May 2018.

Reviews, Podcasts, and Book Talk Chats

12/15/2021 Book Presentation (in French) at CNRS, Paris.

04/22/2021 Book Talk at Tufts University

4/20/2021 Book Review in China Quarterly by Dr. Lauren Johnston.

3/5/2021 Boor Review in The Journal of Development Studies by Dr. Miriam Driessen.

3/3/2021 Book Launch event at the University of Oslo.

2/17/2021 Podcast discussion of the book on Dan Banik’s In Pursuit of Development.

2/ 10,16,28/ 2021 Great Decisions Lecture based on my book

11/19/2020 African Studies Association Author Meets Critics Roundtable.

11/13/2020 Book Review in African Studies Review by Dr. Padraig Carmody.

10/17/2020 Ep. 97: A conversation with Lina Benabdallah on the link between China and Africa Ufahamu Africa

10/16/2020 Book talk at the University of Ottawas’s Centre for International Policy Studies

09/21/2020 Ep. 34: People-centered Power: Chinese knowledge production, networks, and training programs in Africa – Lina Benabdallah. Belt and Road Podcast.

8/28/2020 MonkeyCage review of #ShapingtheFutureofPower by Dr. Laura Seay: What is China up to in Africa? Read this book.

07/21/2020 Podcast conversation with Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden of the China Africa Project: #ShapingtheFutureofPower

03/05/2020 Book talk at Notre Dame University’s Liu Institute

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