Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale > 52 | 2016 > Chinese Volunteering in Africa

Chinese Volunteering in Africa

Drivers, Issues and Future Prospects

Antonella Ceccagno    Università di Bologna, Italia    

Sofia Graziani    Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna, Italia    



Due to the growing importance of people-to-people diplomacy in China’s global strategies, this is a momentous time for China’s international development volunteering. Drawing from underexploited Chinese sources, the paper shows that international volunteering has the potential for enhancing China’s public appeal globally and giving a ‘softer’ connotation to China’s aid to Africa. In this paper the policy, practices, and discourses about China’s voluntary service are examined and framed within the context of China’s soft power strategies. Moreover, the recent domestic debate on shortcomings of the ‘China Foreign Aid Youth Volunteers Program’ in Africa and the new directions suggested to the country’s leadership by influential Chinese academics are critically analysed. The focus is on the tailoring of a new political and ideological ‘space’ for the Chinese NGOs as implementers of future international volunteering programs. In spite of considerable debates and evolutions, Chinese international volunteering programs seems to remain under tight state control and to be best understood as social engineering efforts, with China’s soft power as their main objective.

June 30, 2016
March 17, 2016
April 9, 2015

Keywords: Chinese youth volunteeringChinese NGOsChina-Africa relationsChinese soft powerChina's foreign aid

Copyright: © 2016 Antonella Ceccagno, Sofia Graziani. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.