Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chinese Volunteering in Africa

Annali di Ca' Foscari published in March 2016 a study titled "Chinese Volunteering in Africa: Drivers, Issues and Future Prospects" by Antonella Ceccagno and Sofia Graziani, University of Bologna.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first and only in-depth study in English of China's small youth volunteer program in Africa. It is known by various names, including the China Youth Volunteers Overseas Service Program. Since 2005, it has dispatched 408 volunteers to 16 countries in Africa and encountered some internal criticism as to its effectiveness. By comparison, the U.S. Peace Corps has since 1961 assigned more than 100,000 volunteers to nearly every country in Africa and currently has about 3,000 volunteers serving in 29 African countries.

The study also examines the practice and policy of China's international aid voluntary service and frames the issues surrounding new approaches and future prospects for voluntary service in Africa within the context of China's soft power strategies. This is a fascinating study on a China-Africa subject that has received very little attention.

We briefly described this volunteer program in our China and Africa: A Century of Engagement (2012) on page 154.

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