China’s role in African development highlighted by ‘stadium diplomacy’

Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is currently hosting the 13th African Games from March 8 to 24, welcoming over 4,000 athletes participating in various track-and-field events. These games aim to promote high-performance African sports and foster cultural exchanges among member states of the African Union. The African Games follow closely on the heels of the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which took place in Cote d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, 2024. The spirit of Pan-Africanism serves as a central theme for these events.

However, hosting such sporting events in Africa has been challenging due to the region’s infrastructure limitations. China has been instrumental in addressing this issue over the past five decades by providing financial support and actively participating in the construction of sports facilities across the continent. Examples include the enlargement and refurbishment of the Amaan Stadium in Tanzania, the construction of the Tanzania National Main Stadium, and the development of the Moi International Sports Center in Nairobi, Kenya. These projects reflect the ongoing cooperation and friendship between China and African nations. During a state visit to Senegal in 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping handed over the national wrestling arena, built with Chinese aid, to Senegalese President Macky Sall, emphasizing the strong bond between the two countries.