Beijing is not just building roads but also making friends in Africa, according to a Foreign Affairs article commenting on China’s influence in Africa published on Thursday.
China’s evolving presence in Africa, including Belt and Road Initiative projects, is based as much on investment in building social and human capital as it is on infrastructure projects, according to the article.
The article gave examples of China’s efforts in cultivating people-to-people connections with African countries, such as supporting joint research initiatives between Chinese and African universities and holding the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
China now has the preferred development model for a growing number of African countries, according to the article.
“If Biden’s B3W plan stands a chance of transforming Washington’s relationship with the developing world, his administration must realize the power of building people-to-people connections,” the article said, adding that “divisive events” such as the US proposed Summit for Democracy can end up pushing excluded countries closer to Beijing.