Eric Olander is the Founder of the China Africa Project, producer of the China in Africa Podcast which he co-hosts.

Olander is a media executive based in Shanghai, China. Currently, he is employed by Prism Communications as the Managing Editor of the Ford Motor Asia Pacific Content Factory, where he works exclusively to produce automotive content for the Ford Motor Company’s nine Asia Pacific markets. (Prism Communications, WPP, or any of its affiliates are not affiliated with the China Africa Project.)

Prior to joining Prism Communications in 2017, Olander spent five years in Vietnam, where he led ELLE magazine’s digital division and served as the General Director of Financial & Business News Channel (FBNC), Vietnam’s largest financial news channel. Before that, he worked as a broadcast and digital journalist for more than 25 years with many of the world’s leading news organizations including CNN, the BBC World Service, and FRANCE 24, where he was the Editor in Chief of the network’s digital division.

Olander is fluent in both French and Mandarin Chinese. He received his undergraduate degree in East African History from the University of California, Berkeley and received a Master’s in International Public Affairs with a focus on Chinese Foreign Policy from the University of Hong Kong.

Last Updated: October 29, 2018

How Chinese Traders Both Help and Hurt Local Merchants in Ghana

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It is well documented that a lot of people in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa resent the growing Chinese migrant presence, in terms of both the people who come into their countries and the Chinese way of doing business that is often culturally out of...

Why China’s ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ Critics Are Wrong

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s critics, led largely by the United States, are determined to warn developing countries about the risks of borrowing too much money from Beijing. They contend China will use these loans to financially entrap economically vulnerable countries...

Confused About China’s Belt and Road Agenda? You’re Not Alone.

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Thirty-seven foreign heads of state came to Beijing this week to take part in the second Belt and Road summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Some leaders, like Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, came with expectations to sign huge...

Chinese and Africans are Having Totally Different Conversations About Their Relationship

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Chinese news coverage and African and international reports are often starkly different from one another, even when discussing the same issues. With Chinese and African news consumers reading vastly different perspectives, what can be done to narrow...

Is the Belt and Road Initiative a Bold Economic Agenda or a Political Ploy?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In an ongoing series that explores different interpretations of what exactly is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Eric and Cobus are joined by Zhu Zheng, an international affairs columnist for Caixin and a research fellow at the China-Eastern...

A Conservative American View on U.S.-China-Africa Relations

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Colonel Chris Wyatt, Director of African Studies at the U.S. Army War College, joins Eric and Cobus to discuss a conservative U.S. foreign policy outlook regarding Africa and his views on Chinese engagement on the continent.

Why China Doesn’t Need to Worry about Washington’s New Africa Policy

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced Washington’s new strategy for Africa last December, he mentioned China 14 times in his speech. So often, in fact, that a lot of observers commented that the new policy seemed to be more...

African Governments Need to Negotiate Better Deals With China. Here's How They Can Do It.

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The problem with the “debt trap” theory is that it too often strips Africans of their agency in the negotiating process. That either they don’t know what they are doing or they’re simply negotiating bad deals. While both of those may be true, in...

China’s Economy is Slowing and That’s Really Bad News for Africa

Eric Olander & Jeremy Stevens
Pretty much every major economic indicator suggests that the Chinese economy will continue its downward momentum in 2019. Industrial production, retail sales, and even the once red-hot property market are all showing real signs of weakness. Some...

The Promise and Peril of Chinese Tech Investment in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this week's show, we bring you two perspectives on the promise and peril of increased Chinese technology investment in Africa.Harriet Kariuki is an emerging markets analyst in Kenya where she surveys the digital landscape and local start-up...

The End of China’s Non-Intervention Policy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Obert Hodzi discusses his new book, “The End of China’s Non-Intervention Policy in Africa,” and why he thinks this major Chinese policy shift is happening in Africa faster than in other parts of the world.{chop}

Whose Problem is Kenya’s Debt: Kenya’s or China’s?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Nairobi-based international development economist Anzetse Were suggests in a new paper that Kenya’s leaders, not China, should be the ones held accountable for borrowing too much money without a detailed, transparent plan on how to repay the loans...