We’re Not Building an Empire

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
There is a custom in Chinese diplomacy that the Foreign Minister’s first overseas trip of the year always begins in Africa. This year was no exception, as Wang Yi led a high-profile tour of five African states including Kenya, Sudan, the DR Congo,...

South Africa: China’s BFF in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
South Africa is emerging as one of China’s most important international partners as the relationship deepens across all levels. Economically, South Africa is the source of more Chinese investment than any other country on the continent. However,...

Religion Among African Immigrants in China

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Nestled in apartments and offices throughout the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are dozens of improvised churches that cater to the region’s Pentacostal Africans, largely from Nigeria. These churches not only serve the community’s religious...

From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Made in Africa’

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
A growing number of Chinese companies are looking to outsource production overseas in a bid to lower costs and meet Beijing’s increasingly stringent environmental laws. Ethiopia and South Africa are among the beneficiaries of this new trend as...

China in Africa: 2014 Year in Review

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Two thousand fourteen marked another landmark year in Sino-African relations as bilateral trade set new records while political, diplomatic, and military ties strengthened across the board. Yet despite the tangible progress made this year, this...

Who Are the Chinese in Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Some say the number of Chinese in Africa now exceeds one million people; some even go as high as two million. Although no one has a precise accounting of just how many Chinese migrants now live on the continent, there is no doubt their numbers are...

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...

South Africa to Dalai Lama: ‘You’re Not Welcome’ (Really)

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
For a third consecutive time, South Africa has made it clear to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that he is not welcome to visit. Most recently, the Dalai Lama was informed he would not receive a visa, forcing the controversial religious...

Cameroon’s Illegal Timber Finds a Market in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Cameroon’s rain forests are rapidly vanishing due to widespread corruption, according to a new report from Greenpeace Africa. The environmental activist group alleges that much of the illegally-harvested timber from Cameroon ends up in China where...

China-Africa Trade May Be Booming, But Big Problems Loom

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Trade between China and Africa will break another new record this year as it’s expected to top $200 billion. As trade continues to grow, officials from both regions frequently point to these figures as evidence of steadily improving ties. However,...

Massive Chinese Mining Deal in DRC Back on Track

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The controversial Sino-Congolese mining deal Sicomines has been revived thanks to new financing from China's Exim Bank. This is one of Beijing's biggest natural resources-for-infrastructure deals in Africa. If successful, the deal would...

China Steps up in West Africa to Help Fight Ebola

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China appears to be leveraging the Ebola crisis in West Africa to radically improve its controversial foreign aid record. In contrast to Western countries, many of whom have evacuated their medical personnel from the region, China has sent teams of...

China & the U.S.: “Complementary Rivals” in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There is a persistent meme within the international media that China’s rise in Africa represents a “new scramble” for resources on the continent or a new form of colonialism. Beijing-based China-Africa analyst and attorney Kai Xue says, contrary to...

China’s Second Continent: The Howard French Interview

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China may be sincere in its belief that its engagement in Africa is not neo-colonial or imperial in nature but author Howard French argues that may be what ultimately happens if Beijing continues on its current path. In his provocative new book,...

The Chinese-African Honeymoon is Over

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There is a growing sense among Africans and Chinese alike that their once heady romance is now entering a new, more pragmatic phase. Across Africa, people and politicians are becoming visibly more concerned about the surging trade deficits, massive...

Terrorism: U.S. and China’s Common Enemy in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
While U.S. and Chinese interests often have divergent interests in Africa, they do share at least one common enemy: terrorism. Chinese nationals have been kidnapped and held for ransom in a number of African countries, including South Sudan, Egypt,...

Sino-African Marriages in China: ‘Til Death Do Us Part’?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A marriage boom of sorts is underway in China, where a growing number of African men are tying the knot with Chinese women. While these new families are breaking long-held cultural stereotypes, they are also confronting a whole set of new challenges...

CCTV Africa: The Frontline of Soft-Power Diplomacy

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Since its launch in 2012, CCTV Africa has grown considerably in its distribution and programming. However, the central question remains as to whether or not anyone is actually watching, to justify the massive investment undertaken by the Chinese...

China’s New Diplomatic Strategy in Africa: Humility

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Just a few weeks after Chinese premier Li Keqiang admitted that China was going through “growing pains” in its engagement with Africa, Beijing’s central bank chief, Zhou Xiaochuan, acknowledged some of the 2,500 PRC companies operating in Africa are...

Chad Pushes Back Against China’s National Oil Company

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
The Chadian government shut most or all oil operations run by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) over allegations of an oil spill, poor worker safety, and violations of other environmental regulations. CNPC, not surprisingly, denied the...

Rally Cry for the U.S. to Catch Up to the Chinese in Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
In this episode of the China in Africa Podcast, hosts Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden focus on Delaware Senator Chris Coons' warning that unless the United States places a greater emphasis on Africa, it will be too late to catch up to the...