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

The BRICS Bank: China’s Drive to Shake Up Development Finance

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (aka the ‘BRICS’) are moving forward with an ambitious plan to shake up the clubby world of development finance. The new BRICS bank announced over the summer 2014 is expected to have a profound impact on...

A Career in China-Africa Research

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Dr. Yoon Jung Park is among the most well-known Sino-Africa scholars in the field. Park has taught and done research on China-African affairs for over 20 years at universities in both the U.S. and Africa. Now based in Washington, D.C., where she co-...

Report: Chinese Diplomats & Officials Tied to Ivory Trade in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A recent report by the U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) alleges Chinese diplomats and officials have been directly involved in the ivory trade in Africa. Most damaging, the EIA reports that even some members of visiting Chinese...

China’s Booming Africa Trade in Torture Devices

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation recently published a new report that alleges China is selling hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called "torture tools" to African governments. Despite mounting evidence these...

Love & Hate: Michael Sata’s Complex Relationship with China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Few figures defined China's early engagement more than Zambia's late president Michael Sata. As as opposition leader, the man known as the "King Cobra" was among Beijing's most vocal critics in Zambia but later, once in...

Chinese Corporations in Africa: Saints or Sinners?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
“The African way of life is under attack by Chinese corporations,” argues University of Technology, Sydney doctoral candidate Onjumi Okumu. The Kenya native contends that a combination of weak governance in African mixed with no legal restraints on...

The Dalai Lama Forces China to Overplay its Hand in South Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Pretoria’s apparent refusal to grant Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a summit of Nobel peace laureates has sparked outrage in South Africa. Critics allege the government is bowing to China, undermining South African...

‘China Halts Arms Sales to South Sudan’ (Wait, What?)

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
In June, China’s ambassador to Juba, Ma Qiang, publicly declared that Beijing would not sell weapons to any side of the ongoing civil conflict in South Sudan. So it was a bit of a surprise when it was discovered that $38 million of weapons had been...

China and ‘The Battle for Africa’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Al Jazeera stands alone among the major international news channels in its regular coverage of the Chinese in Africa. In the network’s latest documentary released in September 2014, veteran Sierra Leonean journalist Sorious Samura hosts “The Battle...

Ebola Crisis in West Africa: Fair to Compare U.S. and China Aid?

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
When the ebola crisis first struck West Africa, China was among the only major powers to not only keep its personnel in the affected countries but to also send tens of millions of dollars in badly needed aid. The U.S., by contrast, was visibly...

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...