Speech: Forum On China-Africa Private Sector Cooperation

 In speech

Speech by Development Reimagined CEO, Hannah Ryder, at The Forum on China-Africa Private Sector Cooperation. Recommendations by the Development Reimagined team for future cooperation regarding Africa-China private sector cooperation are provided below.

Full Speech Below

Distinguished guests, Ministers, Governors, Ambassadors, colleagues and friends,

It gives me great pleasure to join you virtually this afternoon, at this forum on China-Africa Private sector cooperation, hosted by the All-China Federation of industry and commerce and the Hunan provincial government, and organised by our very close partners, the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) and Hunan Federation Of Industry And Commerce.

I have fond memories of attending the same forum in 2019 and signing an MOU with CABC at the time, so it is my pleasure to be here once again. I am also happy that the Development Reimagined team, with the support of CABC and Hunan province, is hosting the “Africa Reimagined” booth once again, showcasing 10 African sustainable and high-end brands from 8 African countries, and I encourage everyone to visit us and find out more about these amazing companies.

This year’s forum comes at a critical time for Africa’s economic and social development. As COVID-19 has spread across the world, and while China has largely recovered from it, for African countries, it has exposed a range of our strengths, as well as clarifying what African countries need in the long-term from their partnerships with others, including China, as well as the private sector and investors.

Today, I want to share with you three facts that I hope will illustrate both the opportunity ahead as well as the need, especially when it comes to health.

First, when it comes to the health sector in African countries, we cannot assume that it is all bad. The fact is, Africa’s COVID19 response to date has been very strong overall. There are some outliers, but with the AU CDC strategy of Communication, Coordination, Cooperation, and Collaboration, 70% of African countries initially responded to the COVID19 threat with social distancing measures before even recording 10 cases. This is not a dark continent, not a continent without hope. That is an outdated and colonial view. Not every country in Africa is rising, but many are working and are real opportunities for investment and trade. These opportunities will only increase with the African continental free trade area, which became operational in January this year and creates a unified domestic and regional market.

Second, when it comes to health, the continent is highly dependent, with very skewed patterns. Only 123 million vaccines have been delivered across the continent so far. While China is the largest source of these vaccines, that still only provides vaccines for less than 5% of the entire continent’s population. And so far, no vaccines have been produced on the continent, although work is ongoing. The fact is Africa produces 1% of the vaccines it consumes. It imports the rest, the 99%. When it comes to pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, the balance is better, but it is still highly import-dependent. Yet, with its 1.2 billion population – a population expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050 – the need and opportunity to turn this dependency around and invest in local manufacturing is huge.

Third, when it comes to trade with China, whilst China is our largest bilateral trade partner, in general, most African countries – 40 out of 55 – import more from China than they export to China. Our exports to China are often raw materials, low-value. Our exports to China are dominated by mineral oils, ores, concentrates, agricultural products, horticulture and precious metals, most of which enter the Chinese market duty-free and quota-free. This is not sustainable, especially given the lack of jobs in African countries – over 600 million unemployed as we speak. Yet, if China is to become a high tech economy, labour-intensive manufacturing, including medical equipment, needs to relocate to lower-cost destinations, including African countries. The time is now to invest in this future, both for Africa and for China.

What do these three facts mean for private sector cooperation between Africa and China going forwards?

I suggest future cooperation in the area of health in four areas.

  1. First, helping African countries to recover swiftly from COVID19 is key. China and its private sector companies – who have already played a very strong role – should continue to supply Africa as a whole with a predictable amount of vaccines and other supplies over the coming three years. This will no doubt be in China’s interest.


  1. Second, we need to redouble efforts to push local manufacturing of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, vaccines and other essential medicines in Africa, including by Chinese companies. Any Chinese companies with a bit of interest – must be followed up, supported to match with African counterparts, and directed, for example, to the hundreds of Special Economic Zones that exist on the continent. As I explained, given Africa’s large market and China’s own domestic trends, this is a win-win opportunity.


  1. Third, we need Chinese and African counterparts to work better in partnership – to focus on joint R&D that enhances technology transfer in health and the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. This cannot be just about Chinese stakeholders teaching African stakeholders; there is a lot for Africans to teach Chinese stakeholders. Our own African traditional medicine is hugely undervalued but very crucial.


  1. Finally, and fourth, we need to prioritise African actors. The fact is key actors and mechanisms driving African imports to China are Chinese – there are very few African actors involved. Chinese players themselves, including due to language barriers, find it difficult to identify key products available in Africa, to understand the pharmaceutical environment in African countries, cannot identify top brands in Africa, and therefore have a limited understanding of what Africa can offer. Chinese players, therefore, stick to simple products and few markets. As a practical and advisory consultancy, we are amongst those few Africans through our flagship project Africa Reimagined, and we hope to do much more in future, with your support.


As I said at the beginning of these remarks, COVID-19 presents a distinct “moment” for change. It is time to leverage this for the benefit of both African countries and China, and by doing so in the health sector specifically, save lives, create jobs, and support development. The time is now.

Watch the full speech below

Find out more about Development Reimagined’s projects on FOCAC 2021– click here

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Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.


    Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.


Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.


China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.


Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.


Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.


Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.


Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.


Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.


Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.



Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.



Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.


Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.


Project Manager

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.


Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.


Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds B.com Economics and Statistics and M.com respectively.


Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.


Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.


Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.

Yixin Yu

Research Analyst 

Yixin is a Junior Research Analyst and her focus areas is on public-private partnership and entrepreneurship. She has over three years of working experience in both private and public sectors in Ethiopia. She was the China Liaison Officer for project ‘Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa’ at International Trade Centre, where she accumulated rich experience in investment and trade promotion


Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.