Cobus van Staden is the co-host of the weekly China in Africa Podcast and co-moderator of the China Africa Project’s popular Facebook community. He is Senior Researcher: China Africa at the South African Institute of International Affairs. Previously, he was on the faculty of the Media Studies department at The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, tracking the expansion of Chinese and Japanese media interests in Africa. A South African journalist and academic who started his career in 1998 as a TV reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Van Staden went to graduate school in Japan in 2001, getting a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Media Studies from the University of Nagoya. After his return to South Africa, he worked as an investigative journalist for the award-winning news show “Special Assignment.”

Last Updated: November 28, 2017

China’s Controversial Trade in Africa’s Natural Resources

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging, and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all...

Chinese Dreams and the African Renaissance

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Leaders in both China and Africa have articulated new visions for their respective regions that project a strong sense of confidence, renewal, and a break from once-dominant Western ideologies. In both cases, argues East is Read blogger Mothusi...

This Little Bridge Connects Guangzhou and Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is home to China’s largest African migrant population, predominantly from Nigeria. In the city’s Little North Road neighborhood there is a small pedestrian bridge where immigrants from all over the world go to...

The Politics of Banning Ivory in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In February 2015, China announced a one-year ban on ivory imports. While many conservation groups such as the Environmental Investigation Agency denounced Beijing’s policy as “ineffective,” the San Francisco-based group WildAid said the ban is an...

A Chinese Perspective on the #RacistRestaurant Scandal in Kenya

Cobus van Staden & Huang Hongxiang
The Chinese restaurant in Nairobi that barred Africans after 5pm sparked a frenzied week of news coverage on both local and international media and, of course, on Twitter. The actions of this small, inconsequential restaurant seemingly took on much...

Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese population on the east African island of Madagascar defies many of the poorly-informed, albeit widely-held, stereotypes about Chinese migrants on the rest of the continent. First, the community in Madagascar isn't small or isolated...

Cameroon Highlights Pros and Cons of Chinese Infrastructure Development

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When finished, the new deep-sea port in the southern Cameroonian city of Kribi will likely become a major gateway for all of Central Africa. This will be Cameroon’s only deep-sea port that can accommodate the larger inter-continental trading ships...

The Spy Cables: Chinese Espionage in Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Buried in the trove of secret intelligence documents known as “The Spy Cables” obtained by Al Jazeera and The Guardian is a passing reference to allegations Chinese spies broke into a South African nuclear facility in 2007. Interestingly, this was...

China’s BIG Gamble in the TINY Comoros Islands

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Comoros is a tiny archipelago nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian ocean where a major Chinese experiment is underway. Chinese scientists and pharmaceutical have undertaken a radical experiment to test an unlicensed anti-malarial herbal...

Is Chinese Corporate Behavior Improving in Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The list of grievances against Chinese companies operating in Africa is long and varied, from violations of labor rights to environmental destruction to widespread allegations of corruption. Although it is hard to tell how many companies are truly...

Chinese Studies at the University of Botswana

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s long been said that while China may have an Africa policy, Africans do not have a China policy. In particular, too many Africans do not understand the language, culture, and politics of their new number one trading partner. The University of...

China’s Mystery Transportation Infrastructure Deal with the African Union

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s not really news anymore when China announces yet another massive infrastructure construction deal in Africa. Typically these deals are done at the national level, so when Beijing and the African Union signed a major transport infrastructure MOU...