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Ambassador Shu Zhan Visits the Carter Center, Discusses US-China Collaboration in Africa

On October 11th the China and Peacekeeping Program welcomed Ambassador Shu Zhan to The Carter Center.

Ambassador Shu, an expert on African studies, has years of experience on the continent.  He has held diplomatic posts, representing the People’s Republic of China in Namibia and South Africa.  Shu Zhan, now retired, was the Chinese ambassador to Eritrea from 2006-2009 and Rwanda from 2010-2013.

The China Program’s area of focus include promoting U.S.-China collaboration in other nations.  With China’s rising presence in Africa, and America’s historic support, the continent provides ample opportunities for collaboration in peacekeeping, public health and anti-piracy efforts.  Ambassador Shu’s visit sparked a rich discussion with Dr. John Goodman and Dr. Yawei Liu as strategies to bring China and the United States closer together were scrutinized.

One common theme is the need for Africa to take a leadership role in stating how to move forward with collaboration.  Africa must clearly describe its most pressing needs and how best the US and China can address these requests. China and the US need to see themselves as partners and assets for African governments to improve the lives of African people.

Secondly the need to discover projects for every stakeholder’s gain was emphasized. To develop a truly collaborative environment China, Africa and the US must be sufficiently motivated through benefits. While seemingly challenging many initiatives that develop a continent, improve security or increase trade help all members of the global community.

The necessary discussion was expansive in scope.  Several areas of focus which maybe ideal zones to start collaboration include anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea, medical assistance and agricultural development.

The meeting also tackled politically sensitive issues like security in the Sahel region, peacekeeping and climate change.  These options maybe possible in the future when stronger trust is developed between the three players.


William Pierce holds the graduate assistantship for The Carter Center’s China Program. He is a masters student at Rollins School of Public Health, with a policy and management concentration. Mr. Pierce served in the Peace Corps, living in a Ghanaian village, carrying out public health programs from 2013 to 2015. William holds an executive position in the Rollins Returned Peace Corps Committee.  He has worked at CARE International within the new business development department, responding to U.S. government solicitations, including those from USAID.  William holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University at Buffalo. He speaks Hausa and Buili.