Oxford University

China Africa Network

Natural Resources in the Changing Landscape of China-Africa Relations

16 June 2015

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Conference Report

'China's Engagement in African Energy' by David Benazeraf, China Deputy Programme Manager, International Energy Agency

'Natural Resources in the Changing Landscape of China-Africa Relations' by Jeremy Weate

'Chinese Hydropower in the Global South: Lessons from Bui (Ghana) and Kamchay (Cambodia)' by Oliver Hensengerth, Northumbria University

'Environmental Impact of Chinese Investments in Africa's Agricultural Sector' by Xiaoyang Tang, Tsinghua University

'China's Engagement with the Oil and Gas Sector in Ghana' by Thomas Akabzaa, Chief Director of Ghana Oil Ministry

'Preventing Conflict and Corruption Risks in Overseas Mining Investment: the Case for Supply Chain Due Diligence and Financial Transparency' by Yimin Yi, Resident Advisor in Beijing, Global Witness 

Conference Report

DPIR Logo  OUCAN LogoLMH 2ODID LogoNew African Option B

Natural resources hold tremendous potential for the transformation of African economies and societies. The recent rapid growth rates in many African countries have been linked to the rising demand for its resources from emerging economies, particularly China. African countries increasingly acknowledge the necessity of translating the benefits of this growth into job opportunities, poverty reduction, improved incomes and shared prosperity for their citizens.  The conference therefore assesses how evolving China-Africa relations in their complexity and diversity affect these opportunities that natural resources provide, for broader economic and social development. It explores China’s influence on industrialisation, economic diversification, regional integration and other such vehicles for actualising these developmental goals. Enablers such as infrastructure, financing, technology diffusion and governance institutions will also be discussed, as well as how other development and investment partners in North America, Europe and other parts of the world feature in the equation. Overall, the conference seeks to provide an understanding of how Africa’s resource endowments can be harnessed within the context of the evolving relations with China. It will rely on insights from a wide range of stakeholders in policy, business and the academia, in civil society and the media.


Hydrocarbons: oil and gas

This panel will discuss how China is engaging with both established and emerging oil and gas exporters on the continent. It will assess how China features in the prospects for resource-based industrialisation and the petrochemicals industry, jobs creation in this sector and broader economic development. The panel will also explore the convergence and divergence of Chinese, local oil companies and IOCs strategies of engagement with the hydrocarbons industry in Africa. Cross-cutting themes such as transparency in revenues management and broader governance and institutional frameworks will also be discussed.

Mineral Resources: metals and non-metals

The panel will discuss China’s involvement in the solid minerals sector around the continent. It will assess how China features in the prospects for mineral-based industrialisation, jobs creation and the potential for regularising artisanal mining and broader economic development. Enablers in the operating environment such as infrastructure, governance and regulatory frameworks and access to commodity markets, critical for the full development of mineral resources will also be discussed.

Energy: hydropower, renewables, fossil fuels

Africa has vast unmet energy needs to attain economic transformation. As the continent’s economic growth drives greater energy consumption what role is China playing in meeting these demands? What are the individual or collective strategies of China’s engagement with the energy sector in the context of national agendas, regional integration goals, and global initiatives like the Power Africa Initiative? Discussions in this panel will cover hydropower, fossil fuels and renewable energy.

Agriculture and Environment: Food Security and Agro Industry, Land and Water Resources

Agriculture is the dominant economic activity and a major employer of labour in many parts of Africa with tremendous scope for the development of agro-allied industries. This panel therefore will assess China’s involvement in value-addition in the agricultural sector in Africa for domestic, regional and global markets. The panel will also examine the imperatives for attaining food and water security, and improving productivity among smallholder farmers. Land rights, mitigating pollution and the effects of climate change and other environmental issues will also be discussed. 

The following speakers and moderators have been confirmed.


Keynote Speakers:

Dr Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)


Others Include:

Professor Thomas Akabzaa, Chief Director, Ghana Ministry of Energy and Petroleum

Dr Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, University of Oxford

Dr Zhang Haibin, Peking University-University of Oxford

Roaslind Kainyah MBE, Managing Director, Kina Advisory Limited, London

Dr Miles Larmer, Associate Professor in African History, University of Oxford

Dr Tang Xiaoyang, Resident Scholar, Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy and Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China

Dr Harry Verhoeven, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, OUCAN Convener

Yimin Yi, Resident Advisor, Global Witness, Beijing

Seth Cook, Senior Researcher in Agroecology and China Teams, International Institute for Environment and Development, London 

J.R. Mailey, Africa Centre Headquarters, National Defense University, Washington D.C.

Dr David Benazeraf, China Programme Deputy Manager, International Energy Agency, Paris

Dr Oliver Hensengerth, Lecturer in Politics at Northumbria University

Dr Jeremy Weate,  Governance and Accountability Professional in Extractive Industries, London


In the meantime, contact us if you have further questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr. Harry Verhoeven, OUCAN Convener

Zainab Usman, OUCAN Co-Convener and Conference Organiser

Rebecca Engebretsen, Event Co-Organiser


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