University Professorial Lecture Series

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September 2015 saw the international community sign up to the post-2015 global development agenda in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals. The driving force behind the new agenda is a new ‘Global Partnership’ designed to ensure inclusivity and that ‘no-one is left behind’. The elimination of poverty and inequality remain at the heart of the agenda. Key to the success of the SDGs will be the role played by the emerging economies, such as the so-called BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) and by both ‘South-South Cooperation (SSC)’ and ‘Triangular Cooperation (TC)’. The part played by China, as the world’s second-largest economy, will be of particular importance. With its own story of reform, economic growth and major success in reducing poverty as well as its emergence as a new and international development partner in its own right, make it stand-out for specific attention. Adding to this, China’s role and impact in international development and especially its involvement in Africa is highly controversial with question marks raised as to whether its development contribution is truly “win-win” or, as critics claim, more “zero-sum”. This lecture examines China’s development role and contribution to the post-2015 agenda and SDG Goals. What is China’s approach to the SDGs? Does China bring anything different and new to international development? Does China (and perhaps the wider emerging economies), new structures and processes of development cooperation, new agencies such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and China’s flagship “One Belt, One Road” 21st Century Silk Road Initiative represent supplementary support for the existing Western-dominated development architecture or an emerging, challenging alternative to it? What are the implications for the SDGs? If we gain some insight into the likely answers to these searching and critical questions, we may just gain insight too into the future direction of the 21st Century.