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 a South African journalist and academic who started his career in 1998 as a TV reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In 2001, he went to graduate school in Japan, 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.” He is currently 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.

Last Updated: March 16, 2015

Sam Pa, China’s Mysterious Middleman in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Publicly, China's engagement in Africa is purportedly based on “mutual benefit” or, as Chinese officials like to phrase it “win win.” Behind the scenes, though, it's a little more complicated. Many of those multibillion-dollar natural...

Mugabe Critic: Zimbabwe’s ‘Old Friend’ China is Bleeding it Dry

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Harare-based economist and columnist Vince Musewe doesn’t mince words in his criticism of Zimbabwe’s growing financial dependence. Beijing is “bleeding Zimbabwe dry” through loans and Musewe says enough is enough. He is calling on Robert Mugabe’s...

South Africa to Dalai Lama: ‘You’re Not Welcome’ (Really)

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
For a third consecutive time, South Africa has made it clear to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that he is not welcome to visit. Most recently, the Dalai Lama was informed he would not receive a visa, forcing the controversial religious...

Cameroon’s Illegal Timber Finds a Market in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Cameroon’s rain forests are rapidly vanishing due to widespread corruption, according to a new report from Greenpeace Africa. The environmental activist group alleges that much of the illegally-harvested timber from Cameroon ends up in China where...

China-Africa Trade May Be Booming, But Big Problems Loom

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Trade between China and Africa will break another new record this year as it’s expected to top $200 billion. As trade continues to grow, officials from both regions frequently point to these figures as evidence of steadily improving ties. However,...

Massive Chinese Mining Deal in DRC Back on Track

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The controversial Sino-Congolese mining deal Sicomines has been revived thanks to new financing from China's Exim Bank. This is one of Beijing's biggest natural resources-for-infrastructure deals in Africa. If successful, the deal would...

China Steps up in West Africa to Help Fight Ebola

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China appears to be leveraging the Ebola crisis in West Africa to radically improve its controversial foreign aid record. In contrast to Western countries, many of whom have evacuated their medical personnel from the region, China has sent teams of...

China & the U.S.: “Complementary Rivals” in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There is a persistent meme within the international media that China’s rise in Africa represents a “new scramble” for resources on the continent or a new form of colonialism. Beijing-based China-Africa analyst and attorney Kai Xue says, contrary to...

China’s Second Continent: The Howard French Interview

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China may be sincere in its belief that its engagement in Africa is not neo-colonial or imperial in nature but author Howard French argues that may be what ultimately happens if Beijing continues on its current path. In his provocative new book,...

The Chinese-African Honeymoon is Over

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There is a growing sense among Africans and Chinese alike that their once heady romance is now entering a new, more pragmatic phase. Across Africa, people and politicians are becoming visibly more concerned about the surging trade deficits, massive...

Terrorism: U.S. and China’s Common Enemy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
While U.S. and Chinese interests often have divergent interests in Africa, they do share at least one common enemy: terrorism. Chinese nationals have been kidnapped and held for ransom in a number of African countries, including South Sudan, Egypt,...

Sino-African Marriages in China: ‘Til Death Do Us Part’?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A marriage boom of sorts is underway in China, where a growing number of African men are tying the knot with Chinese women. While these new families are breaking long-held cultural stereotypes, they are also confronting a whole set of new challenges...