The growth of Chinese engagement in African cities prompted the Centre for African Studies, Peking University and the non-governmental organization (NGO), Development Workshop-Angola, to propose an examination of the impact of China’s investment on African urban development. The concept was presented at the Beijing Forum in November 2011 where it attracted a lot of interest.

 In July 2012, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a conference in Nairobi on “Pro-Poor Urban Development: China and Africa,”  discussed how to stimulate economic growth to be more inclusive and benefit more poor people.  Conference attendees also identified a set of priority themes of focus:  Corporate social responsibility, executive education; housing and finance; urban land access; and urban transport.