Dr. LAM Ka Ian holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in African Studies from ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon and University of Lisbon respectively. She is currently an Integrated Researcher at the Centre for International Studies (ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon. She is the first Chinese Africanist to have studied and researched in Portugal. Besides conducting on-the-ground fieldwork and dedicating research writings to Cape Verde, she participated actively in Africa-focused conferences, seminars, and experiential learning programmes across Europe. Her scholarly approach is interdisciplinary, meshing political science and social anthropology.
Africa has always been important for Europe. African labour and natural resources were indispensable for the grandeur of European capitals and the edification of great empires. European legacies on the black continent are still highly visible today. Cross-continental public investments, business partnerships, and human movements and exchanges of all kinds are incessant. Post-colonial scholars have been fighting a difficult battle of decolonizing African mind. Meanwhile, western critics have been framing 21st century Chinese engagements in Africa as neo-colonialism and so indifferentiable from their old selves in substantive terms. Yet other scholars point out that Africa is crucial on European Union external relations agendas and that EU institutions will continue to be the stage par excellence for Africa-centric and Africanist political lobbying despite the comparative reduction in budgetary allocations for Africa vis-à-vis the rapid jump in monetary injections from the PRC for that continent.