Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Is China pivoting towards the Middle East?

Mirek Dusek Head of Middle East and North Africa, Member of the Executive Committee Undo, World Economic Forum
Maroun Kairouz Community Lead, Regional Strategies, MENA, World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum - 04 Apr 2017

At this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared his intention to host a Belt and Road Summit for international cooperation, to which most countries from the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) have been invited.
This follows China’s first Arab Policy Paper, outlining the government’s vision for an enhanced relationship with the countries of the region, which was issued in January 2016. The document indubitably reflects the Middle-East’s soaring importance in Beijing’s eyes, and could very well be a harbinger of its future plans. Indeed, in the decade to 2014, trade flows between the two sides have surged by 600%.
But does this development indicate a Chinese pivot to the region? And what are the key issues around the intensifying relationship between China and the countries of the MENA region throughout the past decade?