FOCAC 2021- Bridging Partnerships for Deeper Cooperation

Since the first Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, the China-Africa relationship has grown significantly, both in size and scope. FOCAC has been instrumental in coordinating and progressing the relationship, with a number of important agreements being announced during previous FOCAC meetings.

For example, China’s loan commitment increased from US$5 billion in 2006 to US$10 billion in 2009, US$20 billion in 2012, US$35bn in 2015 and US$60bn in 2018. China also committed to training 10,000 African personnel in various fields in 2003, 15,000 in 2006, 20,000 in 2009 and 30,000 in 2012. At the 2003 FOCAC, China announced a decision to grant zero-tariff treatment to exports from least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa. In 2006 China announced it would set up 10 agricultural demonstration centers across Africa, and increased this to 30 in 2009, in partnership with the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The US$5 billion China-Africa Development Fund announced at the 2006 FOCAC summit, has since been increased to $10bn, and has supported Chinese investment in Africa, including 6 Special Economic Zones in 5 African countries: Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mauritius and Egypt. And finally, in 2018, President Xi announced 8 initiatives for China-Africa cooperation going forward. These included industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green developments, capacity building, healthcare, people to people exchanges, and peace and security.

The year of 2021 will witness the 8th FOCAC to be held in Senegal in the fourth quarter. The context around FOCAC has changed dramatically, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is critical to assess the updated cooperation needs from the African side and their expectations towards China. China can be key partner for Africa to achieve the SDGs, but it will require significantly more direction from African leaders and from African organisations such as the AU to drive it forward. Africa now has the Africa continental free trade agreement and more cross-African institutions are being planned over the next 10 years. FOCAC represents an opportunity to embrace this, actively listen, actively support African leadership and progress.

At Development Reimagined, we firmly believe Africa’s own development plans and priorities should be highly valued by the Chinese side (and all development partners) and the government and private sector must develop cooperation measures with African demands and needs aligned.

Development Reimagined is therefore working with a range of partners, from African & Chinese Governments, to the United Nations, and the Gates Foundation to support African leaders to develop their strategic priorities for FOCAC 2021 and ultimately support poverty reduction efforts in African countries through partnerships and “win-win” bilateral and multilateral relationships with China. Our work draws on Development Reimagined’s unique network of African diplomats, policymakers and other experts, and DR’s trusted role in China, and highly well-regarded portfolio of China and Africa research to disseminate a series of original, topical research and innovative capacity building activities related to African countries’ existing and future relationships with China.

What projects are the Development Reimagined team working on around FOCAC 2021?

2021 Ambassadors Retreat

Between the 9 & 10 September 2021, Development Reimagined hosted the second virtual African Ambassadors in China retreat to engage and share ideas regarding the forthcoming FOCAC meeting. The retreat covered three major thematic areas in China- Africa cooperation- agriculture, health and infrastructure development. Read More >

2021 African Ambassadors Dinner Gala & Celebration

On 28 October 2021, Development Reimagined organized the “2021 African Ambassadors Gala Dinner” in Beijing. The dinner provided a unique and relaxed platform for African Ambassadors, African leaders and Chinese partners to come together and reflect on the upcoming FOCAC 2021 and review how FOCAC can support poverty reduction efforts in African countries through partnerships and “win-win” cooperation with China. Read More >

African Needs Facilitation with CAITEC

In July 2021, Development Reimagined supported the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) with a consultation meeting with African Embassies on “African needs assessment under FOCAC”. The consultations focused on progress, challenges and opportunities on cooperation in health and agriculture. Read More >

UNAids Dialogue on China- Africa Health Cooperation

In September 2021, Development Reimagined supported UNaids on the virtual dialogue on China-Africa health cooperation under FOCAC. The dialogue brought together a number of VIP speakers from Africa and China to explore challenges in health cooperation. Read More >>

Exploring the Role of Digital Cooperation in FOCAC 2021

Speech exploring how a China-Africa Digital Cooperation Initiative included in the next FOCAC Plan of Action. Read more >>

From China-Africa to Africa-China: A Blueprint for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide African Strategy towards China

This report attempts to craft a comprehensive strategy for what African countries should – or at least could – be trying to get out of the China relationship. Read More>>

FOCAC Preparation Reports

  1. “Reimagine FOCAC Going Forwards”. Read here >>>
  2. Deepdive: Agricultural Cooperation Under the FOCAC Umbrella. Read here >>>
  3. Deepdive: Health Cooperation Under the FOCAC Umbrella. Read 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 Economics and Statistics and 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.