Taming the Dragon? Defining Africa's Interests at the Forum on China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC)

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), Midrand, South Africa, cohosted a policy advisory group meeting in Tshwane (Pretoria) on 13 and 14 July 2009 on the theme, “Taming the Dragon? Defining Africa’s Interests at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC)”. FOCAC has held three summits between 2000 and 2006. The fourth summit will be held in Egypt in November 2009. The policy seminar examined systematically how Africa’s 53 states define and articulate their geo-strategic interests and policies for engaging China within FOCAC. Beijing has a structured long-term view of engaging Africa at FOCAC, but Africa is yet to develop a coherent multilateral response. The policy advisory group meeting sought to encourage African governments to adopt nationally, regionally and continentally appropriate policies, strategies, and responses to engaging China more effectively, in order to ensure “win-win” outcomes for the continent in this partnership. The advisory group focused on four key spheres of FOCAC: political relations; economic co-operation; international affairs; and social development, as well as on broader issues of Sino/African relations.