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A Changing Relationship between China and Africa: Moving beyond a Focus on Oil and Extractive Commodities

The new focus is more on industrial production, job creation, investments that lead to African exports, and productivity-enhancing agricultural and digital technology opportunities. This model, called the “Hunan model”, is named after the province in southern China that is leading the push. The Hunan model aims to support the 2035 Vision for China–Africa Cooperation by pushing for: medical cooperation, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade, investment, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, peace and security. The delivery of those goals happens under the umbrella of the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and a pilot zone for in-depth China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation. Both are centred on Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. Hunan province was chosen as the new frontier of China-Africa relations partly because many of China’s competitive industries are based there. They include major agri-tech companies, a leading Chinese electronic vehicle company (BYD Changsha), and manufacturing equipment and construction industry companies. Many of these companies have a presence in, and long-run strategy for, African markets.