UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

COVID-19 and South Africa-China’s Asymmetric Relations

World Affairs
Volume 185, 2022 – Issue 3


While South Africa–China relations were only formalized in 1998, relations between these states date back to the 1800s. South Africa’s quest for sustainable development through partnerships with global powers motivated its close ties with China. The 2015 Cape Town Declaration committed the two countries to improve health facilities and disease control. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink this partnership. Drawing on desktop research, this article engages the reality of COVID-19 and explores South Africa–China relations in the context of the pandemic. The emergence of the virus in China, its rapid spread, and the high fatality rate have had devastating repercussions across the world. This article argues that Beijing’s response to COVID-19 raises more questions than it answers. The outbreak of the virus in China, its response, and emerging cases of racism and xenophobia against Africans in China also raise concerns about the future of South Africa–China relations.

Adeoye O. Akinola and Oluwaseun Tella

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