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...

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

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.

China Is in the Middle of Diplomatic Spat With One of Its Oldest Allies in Africa

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Zambian authorities have detained 31 Chinese citizens on suspicion of illegal copper mining, according to Chinese officials who have formally complained about the arrest.

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...

‘The New York Times’ on China, from on the Ground in Namibia

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Western news coverage of China’s engagement in Africa often is confined to the business section, generally focusing on loans, resource deals, or other financial dealings. Moreover, ambitious international feature reporting, particularly from Africa...

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,...

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...

China Spends Billions in Egypt to Woo the Middle East

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s recent state visit to Beijing is the latest evidence that China is maneuvering to play a bigger role in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The two countries reportedly signed deals worth upwards of $65 billion during...

China Isn’t Displacing Traditional Aid Donors in Africa

Haley J. Swedlund
Quartz
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s decision to make Africa his first stop on a five-nation tour in early January highlights the importance China places on its relations with Africa.

Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
China, which designed the system, supplied the trains and imported hundreds of engineers for the six years it took to plan and build the 466-mile line. And the $4 billion cost? Chinese banks provided nearly all the financing.

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 Taiwan Became a Divisive Political Issue in South Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), now sees the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party’s close ties to China as a vulnerability that the DA aims to exploit. Evidence of this new strategy came in December when the DA...

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...

China’s Money, China’s Blue Helmets for Africa

Deutsche Welle
It’s not just about raw materials anymore. China’s expanding influence in Africa poses risks to European interests, but it offers opportunities as well.

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,...

Conversation

01.10.17

Can Beijing’s Ivory Ban Save the Elephants?

Eric Olander, Peter J. Li & more
On New Year’s Eve, Beijing announced it will ban the ivory trade in China, potentially shutting down the world’s biggest ivory market. Why did Beijing decide to curb the ivory trade? Will it put enough muscle behind it to enforce the decision? What...

China Resumes Ties with São Tomé, Which Turned Away from Taiwan

Associated Press
New York Times
Beijing suspended its relationship with São Tomé in 1997 after the African island nation established diplomatic ties with Taiwan

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 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...

China’s Controversial, Out-Sized Role in Africa’s Digital Revolution

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Africa is home to one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world. In fact, more African households own a mobile phone than have reliable electricity or clean water. The combination of a young population, quickly growing economies, and...

A Chinese Aid Project for Rwandan Farmers is More of a Gateway for Chinese Businesses

Lily Kuo
Quartz
The Chinese approach to development cooperation does not separate aid, diplomacy, and commerce

Trump May Push African Countries Away From America and Closer to China

Cobus van Staden
Quartz
The idea of the US as the guardian of liberal values against powers like China might now be upended

Chinese-IMF Rivalry Worsened Congo’s Debt Load

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In 2007, when China’s Exim Bank unveiled a massive U.S.$6 billion mining deal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it rocked the normally-staid world of international development finance. The agreement, known as Sicomines, was among the...

Here’s What Africans Think of China’s Influence in Their Countries

Kim Yi Dionne
Washington Post
An African-led research network conducting surveys in 36 African countries reported on citizens’ attitudes toward China. They’re mostly positive.

A New Generation Of Chinese Social Entrepreneurs Is Emerging In Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The dearth of Chinese NGOs in Africa should not come as a surprise given that the emergence of the non-profit sector in China is a relatively new phenomenon. Today, there are an estimated 500,000 registered NGOs in the P.R.C., most of which focus on...

Japan to Expand Djibouti Military Base to Counter Chinese Influence

Nobuhiro Kubo
Reuters
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to give the SDF a greater regional and global role as his nation steps back from seven decades of state pacifism.

Chinese Aid is Helping African Economies, but Not in the Places that Need it Most

Bradley Parks et al.
Washington Post
New data shows that Chinese projects are disproportionately sited in the home towns of African leaders

China’s Experiment in Djibouti

François Dubé
Diplomat
China’s role in Africa is changing from resource extractor to long-term strategic partner. Djibouti is a prime example

China’s Media Challenges Western Narratives of Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese media presence across Africa has expanded dramatically over the past ten years, as Beijing has built a vast distribution network for its newspaper, radio, and TV content. China’s flagship TV network, China Central Television (CCTV),...

Humanizing the China-Africa Relationship with Film

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When independent filmmaker Carl Houston Mc Millan was growing up in the tiny southern African country of Lesotho, he saw firsthand the effects of China’s surging engagement in Africa. Even in this remote country, embedded within South Africa, far...

What Do Zambians Really Think of Chinese Immigrants?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For decades, Zambia had been the flash point of anti-Chinese sentiment in Africa. Late president and outspoken opposition leader Michael Sata was unrivaled in his seething criticisms of both China and the Chinese who had migrated to his country...

Chinese Business’ Complicated Role in Kenyan Corruption

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
One of the many simple, widely-believed narratives about the Chinese in Africa is that Chinese businesses fuel corruption across the continent. Chinese corporate corruption in Africa is well documented, from allegations of paying off corrupt...

Depth of Field

09.12.16

African Migrants in Guangzhou, Forgetting, Family Planning’s Fate, and More...

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Photographing the aftermath of catastrophic events is challenging—one that photographer Mu Li handles with creativity and grace looking back at the chemical explosion in Tianjin that damaged as many as 17,000 homes August 12, 2015. Another challenge...

Why More Africans Are Learning Mandarin

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The South African government’s 2015 decision to start offering Mandarin Chinese classes as a foreign language option at schools nation-wide sparked an uproar that baffled people in other, often more affluent, societies around the world where the...

Is Huawei Doing Enough to Train Local Staff in Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese telecom giant Huawei recently launched a massive publicity campaign to raise awareness in Africa about what it is doing to train local employees. The company has opened at least five training centers in different countries across the...

China’s Undeserved Reputation for Building Bad Infrastructure in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese build more infrastructure than any other country (foreign or African) in Africa. Chinese banks are financing billions of dollars in new loans, aid packages, and other deals to build badly-needed infrastructure across the continent, and...

The Honeymoon between China and Africa Is Over and That’s a Good Thing

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It wasn’t that long ago when it was all smiles between the Chinese and Africans. The headlines were all about “win-win” development, China’s role in helping Africa to rise above its colonial past, and investment—lots and lots of Chinese investment...

There Are a Lot More Chinese Soldiers in Africa Today... And Likely More To Come

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Around 2014, the Chinese began to shift their military engagement strategy in Africa to include the deployment of combat-ready infantry units to countries like Mali and South Sudan where the United Nations is being actively targeted by Islamist...

China’s Relationship Status with South Africa: ‘It’s Complicated’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa’s relationship with China has undergone a profound transformation in a remarkably short period of time. In less than 20 years, the two countries have gone from barely acknowledging one another to developing a deep partnership that...

China Was Once a Hot Destination for African Migrants, Not Any More

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It was not that long ago that entire neighborhoods in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were overflowing with African migrants. Although there are no precise figures, scholars estimated that between 20,000-100,000 African immigrants used to...

Infographics

06.30.16

Visualizing China’s Aid to Africa

Eva Constantaras
In June of last year, 50 countries signed on to the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, and South Korea, acknowledgement of China’s success in driving development through mega-projects to build...

Namibia’s Chinese Ivory Smugglers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Namibia is the rare country in Africa that seems to be holding its own against ivory poachers. Whereas in most other southern African countries the elephant population is being decimated, in Namibia, according to the government, the number of...

Why the Stakes Are So High for China in South Sudan

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Nowhere else in Africa do China’s financial, diplomatic, and geopolitical interests confront as much risk as they do in South Sudan. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in the country’s oil sector, deployed over a thousand troops to serve as U...

China’s Ambitious New ‘Silk Road’ Trade Route Takes Shape in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Four years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, China’s ambitious global trading strategy known as the “New Maritime Silk Road,” or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR), is now coming to life, particularly in parts of East Africa where major...

Environment

06.09.16

Namibia’s Secret Ivory Business

Shi Yi from chinadialogue
Many locals and wildlife conservation institutions I talked to didn’t even know about the existence of the ivory black market in Okahandja.It was a quiet evening in Zambezi, until a herdsman heard a gunshot in the wilderness. By the time the police...

Industrialization in Africa: Ethiopia Wants to Become the New ‘Made in China’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There’s a pretty good chance that some of the clothes you’re wearing, the shoes on your feet, and even the device you’re using to read this were made in China. Even as its economy slows, China remains the world’s factory, churning out billions of...

Online Outrage Over Racist Chinese Ad Says a Lot About How China and the West React to Racism

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The company behind the racist Chinese laundry detergent ad that sparked widespread online outrage around the world issued a half-hearted apology for the uproar it caused. Actually, it was one of those “we’re sorry if anyone was offended” kind of...

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Chinese in Africa But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it’s left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka’s open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian...