Speech: Three proposals for China and Africa to live in peace with nature

 In speech

Speech by Development Reimagined CEO, Hannah Ryder, at the Nanjing Peace Forum.

Full Speech Below

Distinguished guests, Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning good afternoon dajia shang wu hao, xia wu hao, and a huge thank you to the organisers for the kind invitation to be here today. it is a priviledge and an honour to be asked to join this discussion today.

Before I begin the substance of what I want to share with you today, let me first introduce my own African-led company, which was first established and has its headquaters in China.

Development Reimagined is a private sector company with a mission. Our ambition is to bring new solutions to the global complexity of poverty reduction and sustainable development, drawing from experience all over the world – including China – as well as piloting new ideas. We design projects, we evaluate projects, we help implement them for and on behalf of organisations.  However, while we do this broader international development work, we’ve developed a strong speciality on China-Africa cooperation. Our clients range from African governments trying to get more investors or trade with China, to African businesses and brands trying to enter the Chinese market, and the other way around – helping Chinese organisations deliver their aid better, and Chinese businesses understand and operate better in African countries. 

We are proud to be a diverse team, primarily based in China, but we have members from all over the the world. We aim to be as diverse as the UN, and ideally even more so!

Now, we have three specific core values that we believe are essential to a new approach to development.  These three values are… 

  1. Aid is not the only answer to development. Solving economic and social problems in poor and middle income countries requires structural change – in trade, investment, people = it means we use a holistic approach to development
  2. Development is not about “them”, it’s about “US”. It involves real people who act rationally in the situations they find themselves in and with the information they possess = it means we focus on real, on-the-ground data and real tangible experiences – not ideology or ideal scenarios
  3. Diversity is a strength in helping to “reimagine” development ideas and action in our ever-changing world.

Now, you may ask why DR even exists? What is the point of such a company, and how does it relate to peace? The title of today’s forum is harmony and coexistence: living in peace with nature. This is a crucial topic, especially in the context of the climate change summit which is taking place in the UK at the begining of November, where all UN member states will gather including China and Africa’s 55 countries, as well as the forthcoming Forum on China Africa Summit, expected at the end of November in Senegal.

As we know, African countries are behind in development terms versus China –  close to 400 million still need the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty across the continent. In order to meet the SDGs, African countries on average have to cut poverty at twice the rate of China. China is already entwined with Africa, China is aleady the continents largest trade partner, the largest provides of concessional loans after the multilateral and is projected by 2024 to become Africa’s largest bilateral investor.

Today, we have an opportunity to work together to ensure these links are as peaceful and in harmony with nature as possible, which is a huge priority for African countries. Ethiopia is building a great green wall; Rwanda is at the forefront of eco-tourism; Gabon is trying to keep its forests from being deforested; and so on.

So how can we do that? I have three key proposals to share today.

First, we need new low-interest loans from China into renewable energy production in African countries. Right now, China’s 1.3 billion people are reliant for around 13% of of its energy consumption on renewables, and Africa’s 1.2 billion people are also reliant on 9% of their energy consumption on renewables. But here is the difference Africa is at a very low base – China accounts for 36% of global solar capacity, Africa less than 2%. The capacity is distributed very unequally across the world. Hence, 600 million people in Africa do not have access to energy. However, Africa has plans to become the world’s manufacturing hub by 2063. African school children need energy to study, to turn on lights and use computers. There is no doubt that renewable energy needs to scale up massively in African countries. If China can help with this it will be crucial. 

Second, we need China to help to build local manufacturing of environmental goods -not just to send the goods to Africa. Most African countries already import more goods from China than they send to China. This needs to change, and can be done for example by Chinese manufacturers creating factories in places such as Kenya, Egypt or Nigeria to make solar panels or high standard environmentally friendly products in African countries. These are the types of factories that need to be encouraged to move to African countries.

Third, we need China to invest into value-addition of the minerals that will power the transition to net zero, the future. Global demand for electric vehicles will continue to rise and is key for its transition to net zero. Smart cities and e-commerce across the world requires smartphones – which have crucial ingredients. Many of the materials for all these – such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, gold and platinum – are sourced from mines in African countries. Helping African countries to modernise their mines, process the materials and even manufacture the initial components in country, while making sure they meet the highest environmental and social standards globally. This is crucial and can be win-win for China and African countries, and genrate peace in itself – we know that many countries in conflict are in conflict because of poverty and the poor distribution of the benefits of natural resources. Expanding the “cake” that countries get from their natural resources will create peace.

I hope these three areas can infuse the future partnership of Chinese stakeholders with African countries, including expressed through the climate summit and the future FOCAC agenda. We have an opportunity to create a peaceful world through new partnerships, lets seize it.

many thanks, asanteni, and xie xie dajia.

**The End**


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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.