Sabella Abidde's picture
Call for Publications
May 18, 2020 to July 16, 2020
Alabama, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Political Science, Area Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations


China and Taiwan in Africa: The Struggle for Diplomatic Recognition and Hegemony

Sabella O. Abidde, PhD (Editor)


The relationship between the People’s Republic of China (PRC/China) and the Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan) is one of the most sensitive, complex, and contentious in the modern era. Central to the contest and contestation between Beijing and Taipei is the decades-old question: “Should Taiwan be recognized by the United Nations as a sovereign nation-state with all the duties and responsibilities accorded member states, or is Taiwan a province of China and must be seen as such?” Many countries seem to support Taiwan’s independence but dare not say so publicly or act on it because of China’s economic might and its political and cultural influence. No nation is willing to cross China because none is willing or ready to bear the economic and political cost. Principally, it boils down to self-interest: access to the Chinese market, unemployment numbers, and investments.


There are one hundred and ninety-three member states of the United Nations. Of these, only 20 recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign state. Historically, Taiwan has seen better days -- days when she was not this isolated. For instance, up until the later part of the 1960s, Taiwan, as opposed to China, enjoyed greater acceptance and diplomatic recognition in Africa. But since 1971 when the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution upholding China’s supplication, Taiwan has struggled for a role, a place, and relevance within the comity of nations. This is especially the case on the African continent where, by mid-2018, only one African country (Eswatini) recognized Taiwan as a sovereign nation while China has gone on to become a hegemon.


The struggle for diplomatic recognition between China and Taiwan was not confined to the African continent; nonetheless, the struggle has been politically nastier on the continent than anywhere else. The brutish nature of the contest could be attributed to the fact that the stakes were higher in terms of access to natural resources. To allow Taiwan a firmer and deeper foothold would have restricted China’s unlimited access and influence. Furthermore, China seems wary of African countries that tended to switch sides. This cross-carpeting may have forced China to adjust its tactics in terms of the iron-clad agreements African governments signed. It may have taken a while, but in the end, China has been able to isolate Taiwan -- leaving her with one diplomatic outpost and trade offices in others.


How was China able to accomplish this diplomatic coup? How did she prevail in this cloak-and-dagger-like political environment? What were the strategic and tactical planning and execution involved in the Struggle for Diplomatic Recognition and Hegemony? This and other questions necessitated this book project. It for these reasons that we seek to examine what brought the two countries to Africa; second, we seek to examine their overt and covert activities vis-a-vis Africa’s decolonization efforts; we seek to examine their respective tactics and strategies as they struggle for diplomatic recognition; we also seek to understand how Taiwan responded to China’s gain. Also, of value is “how and why” African countries that earlier recognized Taiwan switched their position in favor of China.


This project is germane for many scholarly and political reasons, but largely because it fills a gaping hole in our knowledge and understanding of seven decades of China-Africa-Taiwan relations. There are too many unknowns that needed to be known. Hence, we invite scholars, former diplomats, and members of governmental and non-governmental organizations to submit chapters that address the suggested topics or other topics that fall within the overall theme of the book:


  1. Case Studies: The Switching of Sides by the Gambia and Burkina Faso
  2. Case Studies: The Switching of Sides by Senegal and Nigeria
  3. China’s Foreign Policy Towards Africa, 1949-1970
  4. China’s Foreign Policy Towards Africa, 1970-2020
  5. China-Africa-Taiwan relations in the post-Cold War Environment
  6. Diplomatic Isolation: China’s Strategy, Taiwan’s Reaction
  7. The Implication of Eswatini’s (Swaziland’s) Continuing Recognition of Taiwan
  8. How Taiwan “lost” Africa
  9. Japan and the Political status of Taiwan
  10. Nationalism and the Question of Independence
  11. Sovereignty and International Recognition
  12. Taiwan and Apartheid South Africa
  13. Taiwan: A State or a Province of China
  14. Taiwan’s Foreign Policy Towards Africa, 1949-1970
  15. The Betrayal of Taiwan by States and Societies in Africa
  16. The Scope and Dimensions of the Contest/Contestation Between Beijing and Taipei
  17. Taiwan’s Foreign Policy Towards Africa, 1971-2020
  18. The 1971 UN Resolution
  19. The Aftermath of the Chinese Internal Politics, post-1949
  20. The Outcome of the Chinese Civil War
  21. The Cold War and the China-Taiwan Impasse
  22. The Economic and Political Implication of Recognizing Taiwan
  23. The history of China and Taiwan’s foray into Africa
  24. Taiwan’s Investments and Contributions to post-Independent Africa
  25. The OAU/AU Policy Toward China and Taiwan
  26. The Political and Economic Inducements Africa Countries Succumbed to
  27. Case Studies: The Switching of Sides by Ghana and Mozambique
  28. China’s Binding Documents (Secret Agreements Between China and African Countries)
  29. Nelson Mandela, the ANC, China, and Taiwan
  30. The UN and State Formation
  31. China’s “One State, Two Systems” Policy: Implications for Africa



Please submit a 300-350-word abstract plus a 150-250-word “About the Author” along with your contact information by 15 July 2020 to

You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of your abstract by 30 July 2020. You will also be informed of the publisher and information regarding formatting/citations

Your completed chapter -- if your abstract is accepted -- should not be longer than 30-double spaced pages (including the tables/figures, maps, endnotes, and bibliography) and would be due 30 November 2020



Sabella Ogbobode Abidde is a Professor of Political Science at Alabama State University. He earned his Ph.D. (2009) in African Studies, World Affairs, Public Policy and Development Studies from Howard University. He is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of numerous publications including Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean: The Case for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation (Lexington Books, 2018); Africans and the Exiled Life: Migration, Culture, and Globalization (Lexington Books, 2018); and Nigeria’s Niger Delta: Militancy, Amnesty, and the Postamnesty Environment (Lexington Books, 2017).  Dr. Abidde is a member of the Association of Global South Studies; the American Political Science Association; the African Studies and Research Forum; and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. Dr. Abidde was a weekly columnist for one of Nigeria’s prestigious newspapers, The Punch.

Contact Info: 

Department of History & Political Science
Alabama State University
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

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