RAS Salon

Power Politics – China-Africa Relations in an Age of Uncertainty

Speaker: Eric Olander

China’s engagement in Africa is one of Beijing’s most pivotal economic, political and, increasingly, military relationships anywhere in the world — yet it’s also one of the least understood. China is now Africa’s single largest trading partner and one of the continent’s largest sources of foreign investment, both of which prompts a mix of excitement and fear. In the West, accusations abound that China is the continent’s new colonizer where it uses loans to entrap financially weak countries. Meanwhile, in Beijing, the government actively promotes a “win-win” agenda with “no strings attached” policies to contrast its approach in Africa from the West’s.

So which is it? Eric Olander will discuss what the Chinese are doing in Africa and how interpretations of their actions there are shaped by powerful media narratives in the US, Europe and China.

Eric Olander, co-founder of the China Africa Project, an independent, non-partisan multimedia editorial initiative dedicated to exploring every facet of China’s engagement in Africa. Eric is also the co-host of the weekly China in Africa Podcast. He is a long-time journalist who has worked with many of the world’s leading news organizations including CNN, AP and FRANCE 24 among others. Prior to coming to Shanghai, Eric was the General Director of Vietnam’s largest business news TV channel, FBNC. Currently, Eric works for a leading international corporate communications agency where he runs one of Asia’s largest branded content studios for a major automotive brand. Eric received his undergraduate degree in East African history from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in Chinese foreign policy from the University of Hong Kong. He is fluent in both Mandarin and French and currently resides in Shanghai.

Listen to the weekly China in Africa Podcast: https://chinaafrica-podcast.com/

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn