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Panel 5. Africa and China: A Challenge to IR theory?

Chair: Arrigo Pallotti (University of Bologna)
Discussant: Corrado Tornimbeni (University of Bologna)

Date: Saturday |  9.00 - 10.45
Room: Aula M (Complesso Belmeloro)


The African states have long been portrayed as weak, dependent and vulnerable actors within the International Relations literature. While during the Cold War Sub-Sahara Africa was seen as a victim of Western neo-colonialism or a theatre of Cold War competition, after the end of the Cold War the African countries seemed to have lost any strategic relevance. The analysis of the economic and political relations between China and Africa since the end of the Cold war puts into question this mainstream view of Africa’s place within the international system. The growing ties between China and Africa offer the latter increasing access not only to development finance, but also to intellectual and technological resources that help to transform the economic structures of the African countries. As a consequence, not only the Western countries see their traditional spheres of influence increasingly at risk in Africa, but new questions arise concerning the agency of the African states within the international system and, in particular, in their relations with the international donors, and the long-term political consequences of the economic transformations under way on the continent. The panel aims at offering new insights on Africa’s international relations by addressing these and other questions arising from the growing China-Africa relations.


Confirmed Papers: 

  1. Maddalena Procopio (ISPI), Agency nei rapporti tra Africa e Cina: un framework analitico
  2. Sofia Graziani (University of Trento), La cooperazione allo sviluppo sino-africana: l’approccio discorsivo di Pechino
  3. Arrigo Pallotti (University of Bologna), Tanzania e Cina: una nuova ISI? 
  4. Mario Zamponi (University of Bologna), Brics e agricultura in Africa. Il ruolo di Cina e Brasile