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...

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.

Depth of Field

02.25.19

Living by the Rivers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
If the stories in this edition of Depth of Field share a common thread—apart from their distinguished photographic storytelling—it’s their interest in the flux and churn of life in China in 2019, where nothing seems fixed and pressure of constant...

Conversation

02.15.19

China is Upping Its Aid and Development Game. How Should the U.S. Respond?

Deborah Bräutigam, Mark Akpaninyie & more
During his September 2018 U.N. address, President Donald Trump threatened that the United States may decide to only give foreign aid to “those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends.” In August, the White House attempted to cut foreign aid...

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...

Viewpoint

12.21.18

A Look Back at China in 2018

Kyle Hutzler
In 2018, the outlook for China regarding its politics, economy, and relationship with the United States darkened considerably. The removal of presidential term limits and Xi Jinping’s interactions with the Trump administration prompted rare...

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}

Viewpoint

10.23.18

With an Influx of Blue Helmets and Cash, China’s Role in African Security Grows More Pervasive

Michael Kovrig
China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on September 3 and 4 with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the...

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...

Should African Governments Welcome Or Be Wary of Chinese Infrastructure Investment?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China announced a U.S.$60 billion financing package for African states to build out new roads, airports, railways, and other needed infrastructure. While no one questions the need for infrastructure, there are legitimate concerns as to whether it...

Is This Really the Best Time for a China-Africa Summit?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Does it still make sense for China to put on big, expensive mega-summits with African leaders, like FOCAC, which will take place in Beijing in September? Facing a slowing economy and a potentially devastating trade war with the U.S., maybe China is...

China in Africa: Win-Win Development, or a New Colonialism?

Guardian
As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the...

Where Does Africa Fit in Xi Jinping’s Worldview?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit will take place at a delicate time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he confronts enormous challenges related to the ongoing trade war with the United States and, at the same time, huge opportunities...

More of Africa Finds Itself in China’s Debt

Matina Stevis-Gridneff
Wall Street Journal
Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a slate of investment deals during a weeklong tour of Africa, feeding into concerns in the West and on the continent over ballooning levels of indebtedness to Beijing and its expanding political footprint.

China and India Launch Investment Spree in Africa Ahead of Key Summit

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have continued to lend in tandem to African countries ahead of a major emerging markets summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, beginning on Wednesday.

A U.S. View on China’s So-Called ‘Debtbook Diplomacy’ Agenda

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For the past year or so, senior U.S. government officials have been accusing China of engaging in so-called “debtbook diplomacy,” a tactic that Washington contends intentionally burdens developing countries with billions of dollars of loans. When...

Somalia Aims to Be Heard at Upcoming China-Africa Mega Summit

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Around 50 African leaders are expected to be in Beijing in September for the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. While Africa’s largest and most strategically important countries will likely do very well, receiving huge...

My Family Had Never Seen a Kenyan: The Chinese Making a New Life in Africa

Rajeev Gupta
BBC
“We fell in love but it was very difficult at first,” Xu Jing explains from the courtyard of the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi.

For Better or Worse, Africa’s Digital Future is Tied to China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Chinese tech companies are now the most important players in Africa’s rapid emergence as one of the world’s fastest growing digital markets. People’s Republic of China companies, private and state-owned, are working with local telecom operators...

Video

05.07.18

Ou Chen’s Good Run

Guo Rongfei from Arrow Factory Video
The number of Chinese racers has risen dramatically—a phenomenon that Chinese media call a “marathon fever.” Obed Tiony, a Kenyan studying at Shanghai University, works as an agent for some 300 runners from Kenya and its neighbor Ethiopia. Tiony’s...

How Africa Benefits from China’s Rapidly Aging Population

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s rapidly aging population presents a huge challenge for the country as it needs to find new ways to pay for rising healthcare and social welfare benefits. And that’s where Africa may be able to help. Home to one of the youngest populations on...

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...

‘Black Panther’ Sparks Debate over Anti-Black Racism in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The seemingly sharp fall in attendance prompted Western media outlets to write a series of articles that suggested Chinese moviegoers objected to Black Panther because of its all-black leading cast. “A torture for the eyes: Chinese moviegoers think...

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...

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.

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,...

Mugabe's Downfall Could Be Good Business for China

Ting Shi
Bloomberg
China has seen its influence rise in Zimbabwe during Robert Mugabe’s nearly four decades in power, becoming the African nation’s third-largest trading partner and biggest foreign investor. Beijing might gain even more if he goes.

‘Bloodless’ Takeover ‘Won’t Dampen’ Chinese Investment in Zimbabwe

Kinling Lo
South China Morning Post
China will continue to invest in its “all-weather friend” Zimbabwe despite a military takeover of the African country’s government, observers said.

China is Challenging the West’s Dominance in Foreign Aid

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Quietly, and largely out of sight, China has emerged to become a major player in the foreign aid space, challenging institutions and norms long established by the West. Although China’s international development budgets remain a tightly guarded...

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...

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.

Chinese Museum Pulls Exhibit Comparing Animals to Black People

Russell Goldman and Adam Wu
New York Times
A section of the “This Is Africa” exhibit at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan included side-by-side photographs of animals and people displaying similar expressions. One pair included a young boy and a howling chimpanzee, each photographed with...

China May Consider These Countries for Its Overseas Military Base

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
China is most likely to put more military bases on the African east coast, as well as along the Indian Ocean or Arabian Sea.

New Documentary Portrays Nuanced View of Africans’ Experience Living in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When filmmakers Zhang Yong, Hodan Abdi, and Fu Dong set out to make a new documentary on the African migrant experience in China, they were determined to ensure that their own voices and experiences came through in the story. Until now, most if not...

To Intervene or Not? China's Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan Raises Questions

Yanmei Xie and Casie Copeland
South China Morning Post
Yanmei Xie and Casie Copeland say China’s growing involvement in South Sudan’s civil war differs from its past approach to non-interference, though there is debate on the long-term implications as its role in African, and global, security affairs...

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.

Satellite Photos Reveal Underground Construction at Chinese Military Base

Joshua Berlinger
CNN
New satellite imagery of China's first overseas military base reveal it to be bigger and more secure than previously thought...