Centers & Institutions

This page highlights the key research centers and institutions working on the China-Africa relationship globally. It is based on an SSRC mapping study, published in January 2012, and identifies institutions across China, Africa, and the rest of the world that host research projects on the China-Africa relationship. Our mapping study list has been supplemented with additional in-house research. The list is by no means exhaustive, but should instead be used to generate discussion about where and how knowledge is produced. As always, we welcome your input on other centers and institutions that do focused work on China-Africa issues.



African Economic Research Consortium

Nairobi, Kenya
The African Economic Research Consortium has a threefold mandate: enhance the capacity of locally-based researchers to conduct policy-relevant economic inquiry, promote  retention  of such capacity, and encourage its application in the policy context. The African Economic Research Consortium provides publications on African economics that  are of interest to China.

Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University

Cape Town, South Africa
The Center for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University (CCS) was established in June 2004 as the only China-Africa-focused research center in Africa. CCS is committed to China-Africa issues, and its outputs include member publications, a weekly news update, a strong media presence, and commissioned reports. They have recently established a peer-reviewed journal, African-East Asian Affairs, and have a good archive of reports and newsletters.

Council for the Development of Social Science in Africa (CODESRIA)

Dakar, Senegal
CODESRIA is the region’s largest and oldest pan-African research organization with a primary focus on the social sciences. Its objectives include supporting comparative African research with a focus on developmental issues, combating the fragmentation of knowledge and of the African research community (particularly along linguistic lines), and promoting the publication and dissemination of African scholars’ research results. The organization has recently partnered with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and is currently leading a region-wide effort to address the deficit in research on and understanding of the China-Africa relationship.

Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, one of Open Society Foundation’s regional foundations, is an institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region, all with a strong media presence. Its focus on southern Africa occasionally touches upon China-Africa issues.

SinoAfrica Centre of Excellence Foundation

Port Louis, Mauritius; Nairobi, Kenya; Beijing, China
The SinoAfrica Center for Excellence Foundation is a China-Africa-focused initiative that aims to promote the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experiences between China and Africa. It also provides work placements for both Chinese and African graduates from Chinese tertiary institutions.

South African Foreign Policy Initiative

Cape Town, South Africa
The South Africa Foreign Policy Initiative is a program established by, and based at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) and promotes understanding of the ways in which South Africa articulates its foreign policy principles on the international stage in service of realizing a more equitable world order. While not devoted exclusively to China-Africa research, it curates news, produces weekly digests, blogs, and publications that deal with China within the framework of BRICS-related analysis.

South African Institute of International Affairs, University of Witwatersand (SAIIA)

Johannesburg, South Africa
The South African Institute of International Affairs tracks South Africa’s international engagements, offers original analysis on its site, and produces research reports and working papers.  Through their Global Powers and Africa program they have conducted flagship research on China and Africa. SAIIA has a large archive of their China-Africa publications and reports, easily accessible through the SAIIA China-Africa Toolkit.


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China Foreign Affairs University, Center of African Studies

Beijing, China
The Center of African Studies [site in Chinese] at the China Foreign Affairs University is a non-profit academic research organization that focuses its activities around politics, economics and culture. The Center also holds educational events about the China-Africa relationship and its research activities, including academic discussion forums, symposia, public lectures, and information exchange forums. The Center collects and distributes domestic and international academic materials, and translated and edited publications of the Center’s research. The Center also provides consultation services for diplomatic purposes, to the department of foreign affairs and other related organizations.

China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR): Institute of West Asian and African Studies

Beijing, China
The China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) is a comprehensive government research institution for international studies established by the State Council and linked to the Ministry of State Security.

Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS): Institute of West Asian and African Studies

Beijing, China
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is a leading academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences, as well as a national center for comprehensive studies in China.

Chinese Institute of International Studies

Beijing, China
The China Institute of International Studies is affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and focuses strictly on foreign policy studies. CIIS only recently established full-time staff positions covering Africa, but has engaged in significant work on multilateral institutions such as the EU and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. CIIS also houses the Institute of International Strategic Studies, which specializes in multilateral diplomacy and the United Nations.

Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Africa

Beijing, China
The Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association (CAPFA), founded in April 1960, is a national people’s organization of the People’s Republic of China. The CAPFA aims at enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and African people, promoting the exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa, safeguarding world peace, and promoting common development.

Chinese Society of African Historical Studies

Beijing, China
The Chinese Society of African Historical Studies was established in 1980 at Peking University’s School of International Relations. The Society’s aims are to foster domestic and international academic exchange, encourage deep engagement with African studies, and push for stronger China-Africa connections. It also connects academic institutions engaged with African history throughout China, and brings together researchers and practitioners to study African history. The Society organizes discussion forums and public lectures, and shares compiled writings, translations, reports and informational materials by Society members.

Development Research Center of the Chinese State Council (DRC)

Beijing, China
The Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council is a policy research and consulting institution directly under the State Council. Its main functions are to undertake research on strategic and long-term issues concerning China’s economic and social development. The DRC provides policy recommendations for the government’s Central Committee and the State Council. The Asia-Africa Development Research Institute, a division within the DRC, conducts the Center’s China-Africa research.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

Beijing, China
FOCAC is a high-level official summit between China and various African states, and has taken place every three years since 2000, alternating between Beijing and various locations in Africa. Held on the ministerial level, each FOCAC has resulted in outcome documents laying out next steps for China-Africa relations, and often serves as a venue for announcements of new Chinese lending programs, development projects, or debt forgiveness.

International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC): Research Center of Africa

Beijing, China
The IPRCC was established by the government of China, UNDP, and other international organizations in 2005. The Center aims to advance poverty reduction research and policy, disseminate good practices, and strengthen international exchanges and collaboration on poverty reduction.

Institute for African Studies, Jinan University

Guangzhou, China
In order to strengthen research on Africa and promote collaboration with African research organizations, Jinan University officially established the Center of African Studies in 2010. The Center’s research goals include African politics, regional African cooperation,  Africa’s relations with world powers, ethnic Chinese abroad, and  economic cooperation between Africa and other countries (including China). The Center’s establishment is a sign of Jinan University’s commitment to the study of Africa. The Center will promote collaboration between Jinan University and African institutions of higher education; it has a relationship with Rhodes University in South Africa amongst others.

Institute of African Studies, Nanjing University

Nanjing, China
Founded in 1964, the Research Center of Africa Studies at Nanjing University was established in order to strengthen the China-Africa relationship. From 1964 to 1993, the Center’s research focused on analyzing the geographic issues of Africa. Its series of papers, books, and reports were the earliest academic or popular archives of Africa in China, which helped many Chinese become more familiar with Africa. Since 1993, the Center’s research fields have broadened, and currently relate mostly to geographic topics and comparative studies of Sino-Africa economics, as well as those relating to traditional culture and history.

Center of African Studies, Peking University

Beijing, China
The Center for African Studies of Peking University (PKUCAS), founded in 1998, is an interdisciplinary institution for comprehensive African research. It consists of teachers and research fellows from different departments and institutes at the university, who specialize in African politics, economy, culture, history, sociology, languages and literature. The center now has about 20 staff members, 10 invited guest researchers, and several dozens of students and associates that now are based world-wide.  The mandate of the Center is to promote African studies at Peking University, and improve their linkages with other institutions.

Center for African Studies, Shanghai Normal University

Shanghai, China
The Center of African Studies at Shanghai Normal University, founded in 1999, focuses on African history and economics, and is working to further China-Africa relations. In recent years, besides instructing both undergraduates and graduate students, the Center has undertaken research. At the invitation of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Center has participated in the FOCAC summit meeting in Beijing, the Minister of Education’s China-Africa Forum, among other important conferences, and has also been a part of the Ministry of Education’s delegations to Africa.

Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS): Research Center of West Asia and Africa

Shanghai, China
The SIIS Research Center of West Asia and Africa conducts research primarily on Middle East politics and international relations, energy security and geopolitics, Islamic culture in international politics, China-Middle East relations, African politics, and China-African relations.

Tongji University School of International Relations and Political Science

Shanghai, China
Tongji University has established the “Library of International Conventional Arms Control” in partnership with the UK-based organization Saferworld. While not exclusive to Africa, much of the literature deals with Chinese arms transfers to the continent.

Yunnan University, Center of African Studies

Kunming, China
The Center of African Studies [site in Chinese] is a part of the School of International Relations at Yunnan University, with a staff of six full-time researchers and ten part-time researchers. The Center has published a number of research papers and books, and conducted about ten research projects at the state level. The Center’s research focuses on the history of sub-Saharan Africa, and China-Africa cooperation in agriculture and science & technology. The Center attaches great importance to public service, acting as an advisory body to both government and enterprise, in order to promote mutual understanding and friendship between China and Africa.

Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University

Jinhua, China
The Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University consists of four research centers: the Center for African Political and International Relations Studies; the Center for African Economic Studies; the Center for African Educational Studies; and the Center for African Historical and Cultural Studies. In addition to graduate programs, including exchange programs with African universities, IAS researchers focus on development challenges facing Africa, and the implications of Sino-African relations for both partners.


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American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Philadelphia, USA; office in Beijing, China
The AFSC is an American-based international non-governmental organization committed to addressing the root causes of poverty, injustice and war. AFSC’s North East Asia Quaker International Affairs Representative works throughout the Asia Region and in collaboration with other local offices and the Quaker United Nations Office to facilitate dialogue, research, and exchanges between China and the United States and between China and developing countries.

China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI), Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Washington, D.C., USA 
The China Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) is based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Their mission is to promote research, conduct evidence-based analysis, foster collaboration, and train future leaders to better understand the economic and political dimensions of China-Africa relations and their implications for human security and global development.

China's Trade and Investment in Africa, Center for International Forestry Research

The Center for International Forestry Research had a three-year project investigating Chinese investments in several African countries’ forests and their effects. It produced a number of publications available for download.

Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Globalisation Team

London, UK
The Institute of Development Studies hosts six research teams and a number of post-graduate courses on various topics surrounding international development. The Globalization Team in particular houses a number of projects studying China-Africa.

Oxford University China-Africa Network

Oxford, UK
Founded in 2008, the Oxford University China-Africa Network (OUCAN) is a student-driven, multi-dimensional organization that that seeks to forge cross-disciplinary and trans-regional links between researchers, practitioners, and officials around the emerging phenomenon of Chinese engagement with Africa. It brings together scholars, graduate students, and experts from the field to push forward the research pertaining critical political, cultural and socio-economic trends, both from a macro and a micro perspective. The focus is not just on governments and state-owned enterprises, but also on cultural bodies, NGOs, small and medium-sized businesses, minorities and ordinary people. OUCAN aims to help provide an empirical basis for a better understanding of the nature and future of these interactions.


London, UK
Saferworld is a non-governmental organization that works with governments, international organizations and civil society to encourage and support effective policies and practices for the prevention and reduction of violent conflict, and the promotion of cooperative approaches to security. Saferworld is working with Chinese academics to encourage debate on how China can play a more active role in international efforts to counter arms proliferation. It is also working with School of International Relations and Political Science at Tongji University in Shanghai to set up a resource center on conventional arms.

School of Oriental and African Studies: Centre of Chinese Studies

London, UK
The Centre of Chinese Studies was established to facilitate and develop interdisciplinary research, teaching, and other activities relating to China in the United Kingdom and Europe. The Centre works closely with The China Quarterly, the Early China Seminar, the Contemporary China Institute, and the China Postgraduate Nework at SOAS. The Centre fosters postgraduate research on Chinese societies, and is responsible for the MA degree in Chinese Studies. It organizes interdisciplinary research seminars and provides annual events for the analysis of developments in contemporary China.


Atlanta, USA
The China in Africa/Sino-Africa website was launched by The Carter Center's China Program, and provides original research and cross-posts interesting China-Africa stories from other sites.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI): China and Global Security Programme

Stockholm, Sweden
SIPRI established its China and Global Security Programme to advance contemporary China studies with a particular emphasis on China’s role and impact in global, non-traditional and transnational security. It conducts research and analysis, produces policy-relevant publications, and aims to help policy makers, scholars, businesses and the general public more fully understand the foreign and security policy implications of China’s role.

Tracking Chinese Development Finance to Africa is an online platform that seeks to make information about Chinese development finance flows to Africa more accessible by posting information and crowdsourcing its accuracy.


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