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China-MENA Podcast December 21, 2022

China-Global South Relations

By Atlantic Council


Key takeaways

  • Overview of China’s influence on the Global South
  • The different perspectives of China between Western and Global South countries
  • Africa’s positive impressions of China
  • Position of Africans in the US-China competition
  • China’s influence in the production dimension


[00:00] Introduction
[02:17] An Overview of China’s outreach to the Global South
[09:10] Western perspective of China versus the perspective of the Global South
[16:11] Reasons why China has positive impressions in Africa
[24:13] Africans in the US-China competition
[35:58] Developing the social capital of Africa
[45:06] Measuring China’s influence in the production dimension
[51:57] Professional approach to learning about China’s influence in the Global South

In this episode

Lina Benabdallah
Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Wake Forest University

Dr. Lina Benabdallah is an Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. Her research focuses on international relations theory, foreign policy, critical theories of power, politics of the past, and knowledge production and hegemony in South-South relations. Her book, Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa Relations (July 2020 ), probes the type of power mechanisms that project, diffuse, and circulate China-Africa relations. The crux of the argument is that it is necessary to take into account the processes of knowledge production, social capital formation, networks, and skills transfers in Chinese foreign policy towards African states to fully understand how power permeates these encounters.

China has made significant inroads into much of the global south, a trend that does not always receive adequate attention in the West. China’s image in those countries has deteriorated in recent years, and there appears to be an assumption that this is universal. However, polling data from Africa and the Middle East shows that China’s reputation in the developing world is in much better shape.

In this podcast’s episode, we are joined by Dr. Lina Benabdallah, a Wake Forest University assistant professor of politics and international affairs. Dr. Lina joins us to provide an overview of China’s influence in the Global South, as well as why China is viewed positively by African countries. She also discusses how China gained positive impressions from Africans and the global implications.

Hosted by

“China is identifying itself as a member of the Global South family. This makes them more appealing to countries in the Global South, as well as a model for countries aspiring to be great nations.”

Lina Benabdallah

About the China-MENA podcast

The China-MENA podcast features conversations with academics, think-tankers, and regional specialists on Chinese Influence in the Middle East and informs US and MENA audiences in the policy and business communities about the nature of China’s outreach to the region.

At a time when China’s global footprint is getting deeper and deeper, it has never been more important to understand its foreign policy and the Middle East is one of the world’s most consequential regions: home to major religions, diverse cultural and social heritage, central to global energy markets, and of course, geopolitics, linking people and markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.  This show will help you understand what China is doing in the region, and how the region is engaging with China as an increasingly important external power.

Podcast series

Listen to the latest episode of the China-MENA podcast, featuring conversations with academics, government leaders, and the policy community on China’s role in the Middle East.

Recommended reading

This podcast was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

Further reading

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Image: China's President Xi Jinping, front center, gives a speech during the opening ceremony of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 3, 2018. Madoka Ikegami/POOL Via REUTERS