Time and Location

Thursday, 9 May 2019, 19:00 – 21:00
Diplomatic Academy Vienna, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Anzetse Were
Development economist and independent consultant, Nairobi, Kenya

Jue Wang
Political economist and lecturer, Leiden University, NL

Karin Fischer, Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities/VIDC

Martina Neuwirth, VIDC

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: neuwirth@remove-this.vidc.org

China in Africa – Threat or Opportunity?

© Shutterstock/Akarat Phasura
© Shutterstock/Akarat Phasura


Bagamoyo is a small fishing port in Tanzania. With Chinese investments, it may become Africa’s biggest container port within the next ten years. A special economic zone, modelled on Shenzhen, shall attract investors for a Tanzanian “industrial revolution” to the mainly rural country. Other African countries also welcome Chinese investments, hoping that they will spur economic growth and development.
143 billion USD of loans were transferred to African states from 2000 to 2017. In 2018, Beijing pledged another 60 billion USD in aid, loans and for the China-Africa Development Fund.
However, attitudes towards China are highly polarized. It is either celebrated as a genuine development partner who is dedicated to South-South cooperation. Or it is condemned as a neo-imperialist coloniser who seizes Africa’s resources for its own development.

Which internal dynamics drive China’s engagement? Can African countries benefit from China’s infrastructure investments and how? Are Chinese investments primarily adhered to the One Belt One Road initiative or to African development strategies? Will these investments be favorable for locally embedded industries and an environmentally and socially sustainable development path?
Anzetse Were and Jue Wang will take stock of China’s investments in Africa and will evaluate these questions from an African as well as a Chinese perspective.


Anzetse Were

is a Nairobi-based development economist and independent consultant. She works on development, manufacturing and industrialisation, regional integration and investment impacts with a special focus on Sino-African Relations. She has a Masters in Economics from the University of Sydney (Australia) and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University (USA). Anzetse Were is a weekly columnist for Business Daily Africa. Her work is disseminated by BBC, The Economist, China Global Television Network, and many African media houses and television networks. Her articles can be accessed from her blog https://anzetsewere.wordpress.com/.

Jue Wang

is a lecturer at the Institute for Area Studies at Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. She is a scholar of international political economy, with focuses on China’s political economy, its external economic relationships and its role in regional and global economic governance. She also has a wide range of research interests in international economic organizations, international cooperation, and the development of emerging economies. Jue Wang, who has a PhD from the University of Warwick (UK), is also an associate fellow for the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. She commented on Chinese and international affairs for, among others, BBC World News, BBC4 Radio, CGTN, The New York Times, and The Times.

Karin Fischer

is the head of the Politics and Development Research Department at the Institute of Sociology at Linz University as well as a consultant to the VIDC. She is the chairwoman of the Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities.

Martina Neuwirth

works at the VIDC on international economic and finance policy issues. Her major focus is on tax and development issues, especially on the impact of the international tax system on lower income countries.

Information material