Angola: China’s Risky Gamble in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China has loaned Angola an estimated U.S.$60 billion dollars since the two countries established diplomatic relations back in 1983, making it one of the top destinations for Chinese financing in Africa. Angola is especially attractive for the...

China-Africa Relations in the Xi Jinping Era

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For much of the past 20 years, China’s strategy in Africa could be summarized in two words: invest and extract. Today, that is no longer the case. China’s agenda in Africa, and throughout much of the global south, has broadened significantly in...

Tillerson’s Last Act: ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ Advice for Africa

Eric Olander & Brooks Spector
There is a certain irony when a U.S. envoy travels to Africa to warn his hosts about the dangers of borrowing money from China. The United States, after all, is the world’s most indebted country and borrows more from China than any other nation in...

US’s Tillerson Warns African Nations Not to ‘Forfeit Their Sovereignty’ by Taking Chinese Loans

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned against African nations accepting Chinese cash in agreements which could “forfeit their sovereignty.”

China’s Media Is Struggling to Overcome Its Racial Stereotypes of Africa

Dani Madrid-Morales
Quartz
For most Chinese people, the Spring Festival is a time to honor family ties, friendships and acquaintances.

Hong Kong Millionaire’s Arrest Exposes Chinese Corruption in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Former Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping pleaded not guilty last month to corruption charges brought by a U.S. federal court in New York after he was accused of offering bribes worth a total of U.S.$2.9 million to prominent...

Where China’s Leaders Go in Africa May Surprise You

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Over the past 10 years Chinese leaders have made 79 official visits to 43 different African countries, according to new data from the Beijing-based consultancy Development Reimagined. Where the senior leadership goes offers some fascinating insights...

Life Drains from Little Africa as China Dream Fades for Its Fortune Seekers

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Kalifa Feika swapped Sierra Leone for southern China four years ago, determined to manufacture his fortune in the factory of the world.

Conversation

02.05.18

Is the Belt and Road Anti-Democratic?

Nadège Rolland, Tim Summers & more
During her visit to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan January 31-February 2, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to improve her country’s trade relations with China—an increasingly important partner for the post-Brexit United Kingdom. And yet, May was...

China “Gifted” the African Union a Headquarters Building and Then Allegedly Bugged It for State Secrets

Abdi Latif Dahir
Quartz
In an investigation published by French newspaper Le Monde, China, which also paid and built the computer network at the AU, allegedly inserted a backdoor that allowed it to transfer data.

How Trump’s Vulgar Comments Towards Africa Play Right into China’s Hands

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Somali-British freelance journalist Ismail Einahse joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his recent opinion column, “Trump’s Insults Will Nudge African Nations Closer To China.” The article, published on NPR.org, reflects a contentious debate going on...

China’s Evolving Military Strategy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Chris Alden, a professor of international relations and China-Africa scholar at the London School of Economics, joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his new book, China and Africa: Building Peace and Security Cooperation on the Continent.

The Island Paradise That Could Be China’s Next Strategic Transport Hub

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his annual trip to Africa on Tuesday with a visit to the tiny island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, off the continent's western gulf...

Trump’s Insults Will Nudge African Nations Closer to China

Ismail Einashe
NPR
Last week President Trump reportedly singled out Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” whose people were not the kind of immigrants the United States wanted.

Africa Is Changing China as Much as China Is Changing Africa

Lily Kuo
Quartz
In African countries, increasingly you find Chinese people who never meant to stay as long as they have. But now, they say they can’t go home, because being in Africa has changed them.

Industrial Parks Are Africa’s Latest Gamble to Lure Chinese Manufacturers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Freelance journalist William Davison joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his reporting from the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, which is the latest high-stakes gamble taken by a number of African countries to lure Chinese manufacturers. Officials...

China and the Rise of Africa’s New Autocrats

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Anzetse Were is a Nairobi-based international development economist and newspaper columnist who is increasingly worried about a resurgence of autocratic rule in Africa. Buoyed by the United States’ apparent receding interest in promoting democratic...

Conversation

11.27.17

What Does Mugabe’s Resignation Mean for China?

David Shinn, Huang Hongxiang & more
On November 15, soldiers placed the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe under house arrest. Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980. On November 21, he resigned after 37 years in power. China, Zimbabwe’s largest foreign...

A New Generation Looks at the China-Africa Relationship

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Independent filmmakers Jidi Guo and Philip Man join Eric and Cobus to discuss their new documentary about how a new generation is responding to China’s growing influence in Kenya. This is the first documentary produced by the Shanghai-based pair,...

Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa’s Manufacturing Sector

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Author Irene Yuan Sun argues in her new book that Africa is poised to become the world’s next manufacturing hub, boosted by Chinese investment and production expertise. With costs steadily rising in the People’s Republic of China, more and more...

Africa Will Take China’s Place as the next Factory of the World

Irene Yuan Sun
Quartz
I’m only thirty, but I personally witnessed a time when China’s now car-clogged streets were full of bicycles instead. Such has been the rapidity of China’s transformation, sparked by the rise of Factory China. In the quarter century since I first...

A Chinese Exhibit Comparing Africans to Animals Shows the Problematic Racial Attitudes in China

Zahra Baitie
Quartz
As a black woman in China, I’ve been relatively fortunate. My negative experiences have mostly consisted of being photographed and gawked at by Chinese people. While many of my fellow Africans have had much more traumatic experiences, my experience...

China’s "Rogue Aid" to Africa Isn't as Much or as Controversial as We Thought

Lily Kuo
Quartz
A decade ago, a New York Times columnist coined the term “rogue aid” to describe China’s financial assistance in the developing world: nontransparent, nondemocratic, and above all self-interested. Since then, the label has stuck.

North Korea’s Diplomats in Africa Are Making Big Money Selling Ivory to Chinese Consumers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The tightening of international sanctions against North Korea is helping to fuel the illicit ivory trade in Africa as the increasingly isolated country searches for new ways to generate revenue, according to a new report from the Global Initiative...

Africa Needs Infrastructure, China Wants to Build It. So What’s the Problem?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Every week seemingly brings a new announcement of a Chinese-financed mega project somewhere in Africa. Last week’s announcement of a $5.8 billion power station in Nigeria that will be financed and built by Chinese state-owned companies is typical of...

Under Pressure: The Story behind China’s Ivory Ban

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
For years Chinese government officials were followed around the world, at every meeting, by a single issue: the scores of dead elephants across Africa, and the international community that blamed China for this “ivory “holocaust”.  

‘China Has Conquered Kenya’: Inside Beijing’s New Strategy to Win African Hearts and Minds

Jonathan Kaiman
Los Angeles Times
It took the StarTimes satellite TV salesman about 30 minutes to install a pipeline for Chinese propaganda into Francis Gitonga’s squat, cinder-block home here in southern Kenya, near Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

China's ‘Belt and Road’ Opens up New Business in Africa—for Both the U.S. And China

Washington Post
There has been no shortage of headlines proclaiming China’s growing clout in a “new world order” in recent months. This speculation resurfaced after the July G-20 summit, at which the United States reconfirmed its withdrawal from the Paris climate...

China Sends Troops to Djibouti, Establishes First Overseas Military Base

Brad Lendon and Steve George
CNN
China has dispatched troops to Djibouti in advance of formally establishing the country's first overseas military base...

Uganda: President Cancels $175 Million Mining Project

Yasiin Mugerwa
President Museveni has stopped a multi-billion copper mining project with a Chinese company at Kilembe Mines following information that a former minister pocketed a $1m bribe to influence the deal.

Chinese Debt in Africa: How Much Is Too Much?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China now owns more than half of Kenya’s external debt, and that figure is likely to grow even higher as President Uhuru Kenyatta turns to Beijing to finance large infrastructure projects across the country. Most recently, China completed the first...

The U.S. and China Spend Millions Fighting Malaria in Africa, So Why Don’t They Work Together?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Both the United States and People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fight malaria in Africa. A pair of experts at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia contend that if the U.S. and P.R.C. stopped working in...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

Kenya President Urges Rebalance of China-Africa Trade

David Piling
Financial Times
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has called on China to rebalance an increasingly skewed trade relationship between Africa and the rising superpower, arguing that Beijing must do more to tackle a widening trade deficit.

China Appears to be Losing Interest in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Beijing-based investment attorney Kai Xue joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why he thinks Africa is no longer appealing to Chinese companies. Kai Xue is a longtime Sino-African affairs analyst and carefully monitors trade, foreign direct investment,...

China Says Silk Road Plan Is Not Tied to Presidency

Reuters
China’s President Xi Jinping initiated the ambitious “Belt and Road” development plan but it has become a world plan not tied to his presidency, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday, days before Xi hosts a global forum on the initiative.

Caixin Media

05.05.17

Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit—Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably...

China Focus: What to Expect from Belt and Road Forum

Xinhua
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for mid-May is a high-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative, a China-proposed trade and infrastructure plan connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

The U.N.’s Role in China’s African Development Agenda

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s embrace of multilateral diplomacy in Africa is a relatively new phenomenon. For years, Beijing rejected the Western aid model, preferring instead to work bilaterally with African governments where they often employed aid (or infrastructure)...

China Conducts Foreign Policy in Africa without Judgment

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, we pull the focus back to look at China’s rapidly evolving foreign policy agenda in this new era of Western populism led by Donald Trump in the United States.François Godement, Director of the Asia and...

Report Shows Labor Conditions at Chinese and American Firms in Kenya Comparable

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Nairobi-based researcher Zander Rounds joins Eric and Cobus to discuss a new comparative study on employment relations at Chinese and American firms in Kenya. Zander co-authored the report with China House Kenya founder Huang Hongxiang as part of a...

Good News for Africa’s Elephants: China Is Losing Its Taste for Ivory

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China will close 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops on Friday, roughly one-third of the total, as it moves to implement a pledge to end all domestic ivory sales by the end of the year.

Donkey Skin Is the New Ivory

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Countries throughout Africa are struggling to figure out how to contain the skyrocketing price of donkeys due to surging demand for the animals in China. Donkey skin is fast becoming an increasingly prized commodity due to its use in a traditional...

Is China a Partner or Predator in Africa (or Both)?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this week’s episode of the China in Africa podcast, Matt Ferchen from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his new paper on the perception gaps that exist around the world regarding China’s...

Africa to Pivot to China as U.S. Support Fades Under Trump

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this episode, international economist Anzetwe Were joins Eric and Cobus from Nairobi to discuss her recent column in Business Daily (Kenya) on how Africa is bracing for a Trump-inspired shift towards to China in response to the new U.S. president...

How China’s Insatiable Demand for Timber Threatens Congo’s Rainforests

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this episode, award-winning Shanghai-based environmental journalist Shi Yi joins Eric and Cobus to discuss the emerging crisis over the illegal trade of Congolese bloodwood. She recently reported on how surging demand in China is fueling...

Chinese Tourism to Africa Is Up, but Travel Companies Are Wary

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Africa is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination among adventure-seeking Chinese tourists. The number of visitors who went to Africa in 2016 was up sharply due to looser visa restrictions and new direct flights between China and...

How Donald Trump Could Give China a Real Boost in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The election of Donald Trump has introduced a new era of uncertainty in global politics, especially in Africa where the U.S. president-elect has said nothing about his foreign policy agenda for the continent. Not surprisingly, Trump’s unpredictable...

2016 China-Africa Year in Review

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
After years of relatively trouble-free development, 2016 marked a turning point in the China-Africa relationship, amid turbulent changes in the global economic and political order. China increased its deployment of combat troops to the continent,...

China’s Risky Power Play in the Arab World

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
International Relations Professor Zaynab El Bernoussi from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, joins Eric and Cobus this week to discuss her recent column on China’s growing influence in the Middle East and North Africa. Professor El...

The New Scramble for Africa: How China Became the Partner of Choice

Richard Poplak
Guardian
In 2014 alone China invested £56 billion in African infrastructure. But is this colonialism in another guise?

China to Set Date to Close Ivory Factories

Karl Mathiesen and Naomi Larsson
Guardian
Preparation is under way in China to bring in a ban on their domestic ivory trade, following a promise made with the US earlier this year

Does One Man in China Control the Fate of Africa’s Elephants?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In the powerful new Netflix documentary The Ivory Game, Elephant Action League Executive Director Andrea Crosta ominously warned that the entire fate of Africa’s elephants is in the hands of a single man, Chinese President Xi Jinping. Only President...

Uganda is Worried About the Number of Chinese Men Marrying Their Women

Lily Kuo
Quartz
An increasing number of Chinese men are marrying Ugandan women to gain residency and continue their business interests in the country

Depth of Field

12.06.16

From West Africa, the Czech Republic, and Home

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this month’s Depth of Field, Chinese photojournalists explore foreign terrain, both beyond China’s borders and within them. Independent photographer Yuyang Liu traveled the open seas to document the lives of Chinese and African workers who fish...

How Rwanda Attracts Chinese Money and Migrants Without the Lure of Natural Resources

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Quartz’s Africa correspondent Lily Kuo recently returned from a reporting assignment to Rwanda where she discovered a very different side of China’s engagement in Africa. Rwanda lacks many of the resources and large markets that other African states...

China Expands UN Peacekeeping Role as U.S. Influence Wanes

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
‘Blue helmet’ deployments offer opportunity to burnish international image

China is Poised to Benefit from Trump’s Ambiguous Africa Policy

Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden
Huffington Post
By neglecting to propose a clear approach toward the continent, the future U.S. president may end up boosting Beijing

Rwanda is a Landlocked Country with Few Natural Resources. So Why is China Investing So Heavily in it?

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Rwanda doesn't fit the usual narrative of China's interest in Africa-- namely that China is only interested in the continent's resources...