Hunan Trade Fair, and Other News and Commentary ABCF Week 27 Commentary

Why a Chinese province’s trade plans could be a game-changer for Africa – The China Project

Hunan Province wants to be a key node in Africa’s trade with China and the rest of the world. This is a refreshing change for a continent whose people often feel future-starved, and tired of empty rhetoric from Western capitals.

“The United States is ‘all in’ on Africa’s future.” This was the line from President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in December. This linking of Africa and “future” is a tic of our time. It play-acts inclusivity while deftly stepping past the fact that living in Africa frequently feels like there is no future.

[Living in the Caribbean feels the same]

Africans have learned the hard way that all this “future” talk is mostly about other people’s futures — not that of the continent. This is as true for Biden’s “future” as it is for Beijing’s “community of a shared future for humankind.” …

This is why developments in China’s Hunan province are so notable. …

… In the first four months of the year, African agricultural exports to Hunan increased 16.6 times. …

Second, the expo isn’t a standalone event. It’s part of Hunan province’s larger ambition to position itself as a hub for African agricultural trade.


The Middle Corridor and China’s reorientation of Eurasian trade – The China Project

The war in Ukraine provides an opportunity for the Middle Corridor to become an alternative to the Russian route. Initially, China has been hesitant to embrace the idea, but as the war protracts, the calculus is changing, and the Middle Corridor may be finally getting China’s attention.

… The South Caucasus is the shortest geographic area which would allow China’s westernmost parts to connect with the EU. This is often referred to as the “Middle Corridor,” which runs from Turkey via Georgia and Azerbaijan and then across the Caspian Sea to Central Asia and China.


The deep roots of China's friendship with Zambia – The China Project

Zambia represents one of the People’s Republic of China’s earliest success stories in Africa. The relationship is one that Chinese leaders past and present have cultivated.

  • The defining episode was the construction of the Tazara Railway, one of China’s first big Africa projects.
  • In the 1960s, Zambia was surrounded by white-dominated colonies and desperate to have nothing to do with them. Then-president Kenneth Kaunda was turned down for loans and aid from Europe for the project, but got help from Máo Zédōng 毛泽东.


How digital tech changes life experience in China (

On June 20, Henry Huiyao Wang, Founder and President of the Center for China and Globalization, moderated a panel discussion in the 2023 Future Close-Up Forum organized by China International Communications Group and Tencent, the Chinese technology giant.

The forum is the culmination of a week-long trip - part of the Tencent-sponsored THINC Fellowship Program - by 16 young foreigners to China, where they shared their experience with Chinese experts and audience.


Weekly Roundup: Five China stories you need to read (

1) An internet educational influencer's controversial comments on the career-defining choice dilemma about college major faced by Chinese students

2) Why some Internet startups could quietly make money while big corporations downsizing

3) Why the grassroots research department has no time for research

4) How underground idols become a new refuge for the city workers

5) Grassroots governments are paying students to come back as teachers and doctors.

"Although the department is named 'Research Department,' it is not actually involved in research work. Its main responsibilities include drafting speeches, reporting on situations, summarizing meetings, and drafting documents for leaders," said a cadre from the research department of a policy research office in a western region.


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This compilation is put together by DeLisle Worrell, President of the ABCF. Previous updates may be found at commentary | Association for Barbados China Friendship (