I first became interested in Chinese engagement in Africa while living in Niger. My favorite restaurant in Niamey (the capital) was Chinese and much of my kitchenware came from a Chinese shop in the city of Zinder, near where I lived. Youth in Zinder occasionally greeted me (a caucasian male) in Chinese. The Chinese were also constructing a large embassy while I was in the country, using predominantly Chinese labor.
The Brookings Institution convened several experts yesterday to discuss The U.S., China and Africa: Pursuing Trilateral Dialogue and Action. I couldn’t make it, but read Winslow Robertson’s post on the event.