This edition of West Africa Insight reflect on the ways China is extending its influence across West Africa. Tobi Oshodi and James Barnett start by providing an overview and analysis of the role Confucius Institutes, of which there are now 15 in West Africa, are playing in support of China's soft power agenda in the region. The focus on China's efforts to extend its influence in more indirect ways are also discussed in pieces by Emeka Umejei and Solomon Elusoji. Both look at the ways in which China has sought to gain a foothold in the media space in West Africa through providing content and supporting media houses and journalists, and to what extent these efforts are impacting reporting with specific focus on Ghana and Nigeria. Folashadé Soulé switches the focus of attention to China-Benin military relations in a piece that seeks to better understand how and why such cooperation is being forged, and with what impact. Finally, Adedayo Bakare offers analysis of how Sino-West African trade relations might adapt to, and benefit from, the African Continental Free Trade Area as it becomes operational.
Increasing Influence: China in West Africa
1 January 2021