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3. The Soil from South Africa Performs in Beijing

The Soil from South Africa Performs in Beijing

A four-member acapella group from South Africa has been putting on performances at the National Center for the Performing Arts here in Beijing to help commemorate the year of South Africa in China. Source: China Radio International (

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4. China's controversial trade in Africa's natural resources

China's controversial trade in Africa's natural resources

China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite of Africa's natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all, African countries, environmental protection laws are minimal at best, totally ineffective at worst, allowing Chinese companies to operate unregulated in this legal void. While in many cases, this has led to horrific environmental abuses, in other instance local actors throughout Africa say the Chinese are often unfairly accused of operating in the informal economy that accounts for 9/10 African jobs. This week, Eric and Cobus tackle the myths and realities of China's natural resource extraction record in Africa.

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5. BBC Business Daily: Special Economic Zones

BBC Business Daily: Special Economic Zones

Are Africans benefiting from the billions China is spending on the world's poorest continent? We look at China's role in Africa and ask whether Africans are benefiting from the billions the world's second largest economy is investing in the world's poorest continent. Nnenna Obibuaku reports from the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria and we hear from Martyn Davies, chief executive of the consulting company Frontier Advisory in South Africa. Plus Neo Simutanyi, director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Lusaka, tells Justin Rowlatt that there are questions over what benefit Chinese investment brings to Africa.

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6. 中国是否会在非洲制造从属国?


中国最大贷款银行工商银行4月29日同赤道几内亚签署总价值20亿美元的基础设施建设框架协议。另外,中国还在非洲拿下投资大单。4月27日中铁建下属的中非建设有限公司签订系列建设项目订单,总金额55亿美元。其中尼日利亚奥贡州城际铁路项目商务合同35.06亿美元,津巴布韦一处住房工程项目19.3亿美元。该公司现在是非洲最大轨道交通承包商。 上述重大工程的融资细节尚不清楚。不过,众所周知,许多非洲国家为自身基础设施建设需要,向中国大规模举债。假如债务违约,这些国家对中国的依附是否会更强? 资深媒体人兼“中国非洲项目”创始人欧瑞克 (欧瑞克提供) 资深媒体人兼“中国非洲项目”创始人欧瑞克 (欧瑞克提供) 资深记者欧瑞克(Eric Olander)兼多媒体平台“中国非洲项目(China Africa Project)创始人,目前正在越南越南胡志明市,他在接受美国之音采访时表示,非常担心中非关系中出现这种依附现象,尤其是加纳、津巴布韦、莫桑比克等非洲小国。

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7. China in Africa Podcast: China's big media push in Africa

China in Africa Podcast: China's big media push in Africa

China is embarking on an aggressive media campaign in Africa with the launch of CCTV's new broadcast operation in Nairobi, Kenya. The network says it hopes to join BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera among the major players in the international news business. Both Cobus and Eric have their doubts that Beijing is actually capable of attaining that goal given the fact that CCTV does not have a very good track record producing compelling content for an international audience.

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8. China-Ghana relations in an age of uncertainty

China-Ghana relations in an age of uncertainty

Ghana is emerging as a strategically vital country in China's broader Africa strategy but with the sudden death of President John Atta Mills, tensions over immigration and recent violence related to illegal mining, the Chinese face a growing list of challenges | One week after a huge Sino-African conference in Beijing, we explore if anything was actually accomplished at the FOCAC | A new Chinese joint venture oil pipeline off the coast of East Africa. Join the discussion at

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9. China's growing appetite for African real estate

China's growing appetite for African real estate

Amid a prolonged economic downturn and a weakening yuan, Chinese investors have steadily turned their focus to buying overseas assets. While there a number of complicated reasons behind the massive capital outflows over the past 18 months, the fact remains that both individual and corporate investors are looking abroad for growth opportunities and hedges against currency fluctuations at home. In 2015, an estimated 750 billion dollars of Chinese money left the country. For individual, foreign real estate is among the preferred investment options as Chinese families buy second homes in Australia, the United States and Europe. For some, these homes are purely for investment but for many other Chinese buying real estate allows them to secure residency, secure a base for their children's education and as environmental conditions worsen in China, living abroad is increasingly seen as a desirable option. Africa has not been a popular destination for Chinese real estate investors but there is new evidence to suggest that may no longer be the case. Dr Honita Cowaloosur of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town recently completed an in-depth research study on China's growing appetite for property in South Africa and Mauritius. Honita joins Eric & Cobus to discuss why Chinese investors are now choosing to invest in African real estate and why the continent is seen as an increasingly desirable investment destination. Join the discussion. What do you think of more Chinese investment in African real estate? Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque

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10. Why China's development model is gaining popularity in Africa

Why China's development model is gaining popularity in Africa

Phd candidate Eljse Fourie is the special guest this week to discuss her research on how China's economic development model is gaining popularity in parts of Africa | Anti-Chinese, anti-immigrant journalism in South Africa | The increasingly cozy relationship between Chinese and African elites.

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11. Europe isn't happy China's building all the roads in Africa

Europe isn't happy China's building all the roads in Africa

It's well documented China's investment in African infrastructure dominates that of every other country, particularly those in Europe. So it was a bit surprising to see the agenda at the 2014 Build Africa infrastructure forum in Brazzaville where Chinese speakers and a discussion about the huge Chinese presence in the continent's infrastructure sector. The fact is that China's economic model gives it tremendous advantages over Western countries when it comes to financing and building infrastructure regardless of whether Europe and the US like it.

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12. China-Africa relations in the Xi Jinping era

China-Africa relations in the Xi Jinping era

For much of the past twenty years, China's strategy in Africa could easily be summarized in two words: invest and extract. Today, that is no longer the case as China's agenda in Africa, and throughout much of the global south, has broadened significantly in pursuit of Beijing's military, humanitarian and geopolitical interests. While investment and resource extraction still play an important role in China's African policy, these economic motivators are definitely not as important as they were even just a few years ago. Evidence of this can be found in the Sino-African trade and FDI data that reveal steady declines over the past several years. Whereas five to ten years ago, Chinese companies didn't have as many options on where they could invest, so Africa's relatively open markets were rather appealing. Now, with the development of Beijing's hugely ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) global trade initiative, the government is "encouraging" (read: pressuring) Chinese companies to diversify their investments to support OBOR in other parts of the world including Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe among other regions. Although China may be losing some interest in Africa in terms of trade and economics, that does not necessarily mean that the continent's overall importance to Chinese foreign policy is diminishing. The recent state visits in Beijing of leaders from Cameroon, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, all in just the past month, suggests that Chinese president Xi Jinping places a high degree of importance on his government's relations with Africa, both at the national and regional levels. "I would say the political-military relationship is the emerging area of interest that I think we are going to see more in the future," said Joshua Eisenman, a China-Africa scholar at the University of Texas in Austin and a senior fellow for China studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C. Professor Eisenman is among a growing number of scholars who are carefully watching the evolution of China-Africa relations in the new Xi Jinping era. He joins Eric & Cobus to talk about what to expect in the coming months as both Africans and Chinese officials prepare for the upcoming Sino-Africa mega-summit, the Forum on China Africa Cooperation, that will take place in Beijing in September. Join the discussion. Are you encouraged or more concerned about the evolving Chinese strategy in Africa that is shifting away from economics to focus more on political/military issues? Let us know what you think. Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque | @joshua_eisenman Email: [email protected] Get a curated digest of the week's top China-Africa stories delivered straight to your inbox with our weekly email newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

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13. China's rapidly changing views on wildlife conservation in Africa

China's rapidly changing views on wildlife conservation in Africa

A dramatic shift in Chinese public opinion about animal welfare and global wildlife conservation appears to be underway. Supported by high-profile celebrity campaigns by NBA legend Yao Ming and actress Li Bing Bing, there is growing awareness in China over the country's role in the illicit African wildlife trade. On Chinese social media, evolving public opinion is reflected in the emerging consensus among young people that eating sharks from Mozambique or consuming ivory from Kenya is no longer "cool." It is very likely that this increased public opinion pressure, both at home and in Africa, played a role in the Chinese government's decision to ban the domestic ivory trade. That change is not only taking place online but also on the ground in places like Kenya. A group of young Chinese expats is now mobilizing their local community in Nairobi to partner with wildlife conservation groups to save zebras and other animals from being trapped in deadly snares. The events have been organized by China House Kenya, the first NGO in Africa dedicated to Chinese corporate social responsibility and social integration. China House founder Huang Hongxiang and Wildlife Conservation Project Manager Sunny Huang join Eric & Cobus to explain how their recent de-snaring events highlight the rapidly evolving views among Chinese youth about animal welfare and conservation.

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14. China-Africa trade may be booming, but big problems loom

China-Africa trade may be booming, but big problems loom

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, Beijing-based attorney Kai Xue warns that while the trade stats are indeed impressive, they also mask emerging difficulties in the Sino-African relationship.

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15. Chinese money is helping Africa to be next manufacturing powerhouse

Chinese money is helping Africa to be next manufacturing powerhouse

Author Irene Yuan Sun argues in her now book that Africa is poised to become the world's next manufacturing superpower. With costs steadily rising in the PRC, more and more companies are looking to offshore production from China to lower-cost countries. Africa and its abundant population of young workers, free trade access into the US market and proximity to the European Union make it an attractive investment destination for cost conscious manufacturers.  But Africa is not alone vying for the estimated 85 million jobs that will be in play as China transitions away from manufacturing to a services/consumption-based economy. African countries will have to compete vigorously against Vietnam, India and other Asian nations to lure Chinese manufacturers.  Time is also a key factor. Major international manufacturing companies like Foxconn and Pegatron, contract manufacturers that both produce hi-tech products for Apple, HP and Dell among others, are working very hard to automate their production lines using robots powered by artificial intelligence. With more companies, including once low-tech industries like apparel and furniture assembly, moving as quickly as possible to automate their production lines, African policy-makers must no doubt be concerned that with the pace and sophistication of automation steadily increasing, might encourage Chinese manufacturers to keep their operations rolling back home, albeit with fewer workers. Sun, for her part, argues the fear of technological dislocation is overblown. "The essential point automation alarmists miss is that technological adoption happens through millions of individual decisions by companies that are constrained by the demands of their value chain, the financing capability of their balance sheets, and their own managerial know- how. Just because they could produce something in a more automated way doesn’t mean they will," she said. Already, Sun contends, Chinese-factories in Africa are using robotics and automation with human labor still playing an essential role throughout the production process. Sun joins Eric & Cobus to talk about her new book, "The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa." The book is part travelogue, part business intelligence of a fascinating trend that operates largely out of sight yet has potentially massive implications for the future direction of almost every economy in Africa. Join the discussion. Do you think Africa is well positioned to become the world's next manufacturing powerhouse or do you think the high-levels of corruption, poor infrastructure and weak governance in many parts of the continent will inhibit this kind of industrial development? Let us know what you think. Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque

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16. China no longer afraid to challenge critics of its role in Africa

China no longer afraid to challenge critics of its role in Africa

There's been a discernible change in how the Chinese government responds to criticism about their policies in Africa, particularly from other major powers like the U.S. Until recently, Chinese officials often avoided direct conflict with its critics, opting instead for low-key responses from official spokespeople in Beijing. Not anymore. China's ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, is at the forefront of this new, more aggressive strategy. For the second time in two months, Ambassador Lin convened a press conference in Cape Town in February to rebut allegations that Beijing was spying on the African Union headquarters and then again in March he held another media event to push back against former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warnings to African governments about the risks of taking on too much Chinese debt. Ambassador Lin is by no means the only Chinese official engaging the media on these issues but he is certainly the most pointed in his attacks. It would have been unthinkable just a few years ago for a senior official like Ambassador Lin to hold live, unscripted press conferences in a foreign country to take on China's critics. Eric & Cobus discuss how this radical departure from China's earlier media engagement strategy no doubt reflects president Xi Jinping's desire to project a more confident Chinese posture in its foreign policy. Join the discussion. Have you noticed the more robust Chinese media response? Do you think it's good PRC leaders now are challenging their critics in the media and in Western governments? Let us know what you think. Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque Email: [email protected]

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17. Outrage over the #RacistChineseAd: what did we learn?

Outrage over the #RacistChineseAd: what did we learn?

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 apologies, nonetheless Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics did say sorry to Africans for any misunderstandings caused by the Qiaobi detergent ad: "We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media,” the company said. It's the second part of their 'kind of' apology that is especially interesting. Deep down, it's highly likely that they are not really that sorry about the whole thing, but they do seem perturbed that the international media made such a fuss: "The foreign media might be too sensitive about the ad," said a company spokesman. The media seemingly picked up on the massive internet outrage that erupted, mostly in the US and UK, about the ad and the shocking characterization of black people as being "dirty." For most westerners, this type of blatant in-your-face racism is more reminiscent of 19th century 'black face' media in the US than the more subtle, yet equally destructive, stereotypes of black people that remain depressingly-common in contemporary television and film. Now that this incident appears to be settling down and we can step back to analyze what happen, it's apparent just how little Chinese society has progressed in understanding the importance of racial and cultural diversity as well as how seriously much of the rest of the world takes this issue. Throughout much of this affair, it really seemed that Chinese and Westerners were speaking past each other as if it was two totally different conversations. Westerners, mostly white people, were visibly outraged by the Chinese callousness. Meanwhile, the prevailing Chinese response was often confusion over what all the fuss was about. Not surprisingly, this led to a retreat into an instinctive defensive crouch that occurs whenever China comes under sustained criticism from the West. Nicole Bonnah is the Beijing-based founder of the Blacks Lives in China blog and a documentary producer working on a new film about black and African experiences in China. In response to the recent controversy, Nicole wrote an entry for her blog this week that said the time is now here for the Chinese to accept some responsibility for the "Afric-phobia" and anti-black racism that is prevalent in contemporary Chinese society. She joined Eric to discuss her recent blog post and to reflect on the Qiaobi ad controversy as a whole. Join the conversation. We'd love to hear your thoughts on whether you agree with the online outrage that enough is enough and the Chinese can no longer hide behind the veil of "cultural context" that is so often used to justify offensive Chinese attitudes towards people of other races and ethnicities? Or do the Chinese have a point that the hyper political correctness in the West, so often criticized by Westerners themselves (ahem, Donald Trump) is to blame and that everyone is getting excited over this simple TV commercial for nothing. Tell us what you think: Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque

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18. Who are the Chinese in Africa?

Who are the Chinese in Africa?

The estimates now run as high as 2 million for the number of Chinese who now call Africa home. Who are these people and why have they chosen to move to Africa? Leading Sino-Africa scholar Solange Chatelard is our guest this week to discuss this important trend that is re-shaping communities across the continent.

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19. Why "Nambia" is so important to the China-Africa narrative


U.S. President Donald Trump revealed deeper levels of ignorance about Africa than many thought possible during a luncheon speech this week to a group of African leaders. During his brief, 800-word speech, Trump twice mentioned the non-existent country of "Nambia." Immediately after the speech, there was widespread disbelief and even confusion as to whether the president was referring to Gambia, Namibia or Zambia. Later, the White House confirmed that the president had indeed spoken in error about Namibia. While the gaffe itself is insignificant, it comes amid a broader context of growing U.S. detachment from Africa as Washington's policy for the continent appears increasingly rudderless. Wednesday's speech was the first major address (which is being generous) the president has given about Africa since he came to office, while policy for the continent drifts amid turmoil over at the State Department. Trump was slow to nominate an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs whose confirmation is now stuck in the Senate. Reaction to the "Nambia" speech largely ranged from ridicule to "what else do you expect from this guy?" African social media commentary, which are usually quick to criticize foreign leaders who disrespect Africa, were surprisingly benign, just laughing it off. Namibian president Hage Geingob, for his part, even went so far as to suggest that Trump's error was actually a blessing as it will invite more attention to be focused on his country. What's interesting here is how the United States, despite any sense of a coherent policy, declining corporate investment and steadily expanding military presence in Africa seems to get a pass from critics who level charges of "neo-colonialism" and "imperialism" towards other countries including China, Japan and some European states. In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, Eric & Cobus discuss the different narratives about the U.S. relationship with Africa compared to that of China's and some of the reasons why African perceptions vary so greatly between the U.S. and China. Join the discussion. What do you think of the "Nambia" speech? If another world leader made the same mistake, how would you react? Let us know what you think. Facebook: Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque

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