China’s MSRI in Africa and the Middle East: Political Economic Realities Continue to Shape Results and Ramifications

Jean-Marc F. Blanchard
Publication Date: 
December 2nd, 2020

This chapter serves both as a primer on China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) and the MSRI in Africa as well as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the introduction to the edited volume. It begins with background on the history, features, and goals of China’s MSRI, noting various contemporary issues surrounding China’s ambitious scheme. It next gives an overview of Africa and MENA countries’ political and economic relations with China from 1949 to the present, partly to supply historical context, but primarily to highlight the diverse international and domestic political and economic forces that have shaped the attitudes and stances of African and MENA states towards China. Subsequently, it examines various aspects of the MSRI in Africa as well as Africa in MENA, detailing the objectives of both China and African and MENA MSRI participants as well as issues associated with the MSRI—e.g., neocolonialism—in these two important regions. It then summarizes some of the key points in the book’s chapters. The final section of the introduction highlights some of the diverse findings of the introduction and the book’s contributions, describes some of the book’s policy and theoretical implications, and suggests some avenues for future research. The chapter may be purchased individually here: