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The Optics of Leadership in the COVID-19 Era

As 2020 crawls to its end, it's becoming clear that, all things considered, China is emerged from the year's nested crises in better shape than many expected.  While Europe and Japan seem headed to new slumps, and the American recovery also ...

Traditional Chinese Medicine Training in Mali: “A Revolution of Sorts” but Skepticism Remains

In December 2019, when the Tianjin government launched its Luban Workshop in Mali, it stood out from the Luban Workshops (named after Lu Ban, the father of Chinese architecture) in other African countries which offer courses on ultra-modern device manufacturing, high-speed rail technologies and Chinese cuisine ...

Ghana’s Thinking Small (And That’s a Good Thing)

The Bui Power Authority (BPA) in Ghana recently launched a new solar farm that's connected to a Chinese-built hydroelectric dam. The idea here is that when water levels run low and power generation dips, the solar farm kicks in to make up the difference. ...

The Once Frenetic Debate Over Chinese Debt in Africa Has All But Disappeared

China's top diplomat for sub-Saharan Africa, Wu Peng, posted a tweet today that restated China's often-repeated position about its commitment to implement the G20's Debt Service Suspension Initiative and to help "alleviate debt pressure on African countries." It's not ...

Ambassador Zhou Pingjian: China’s Tried Its Best to Meet Kenya’s Request on Loans

The Nation's Senior Diplomatic Writer, Aggrey Mutambo, sat down with China's ambassador to Kenya for a wide-ranging interview that covered access to Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, next year's FOCAC summit in Dakar, and how Beijing will deal with Nairobi's difficulty in repaying its debts.

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

FOCAC’s Powerful Optics Present a Challenge to China’s Rivals

FOCAC is for me what the Winter Olympics is for a curling fan – the one moment every few years when the world briefly shares one’s obsession. So it was interesting (and revealing) how relatively muted the coverage of the triennial meeting has been this time around.

In part, this is due to the fact that FOCAC 8 itself has been slightly smaller than usual. It was held at the ...

China, Debt and the Future of Kenya

The investigative series Africa Uncensored broadcast a riveting one-hour documentary on Kenyan national TV last night that explored the country's ballooning national debt. The program highlighted how, as Kenya's largest bilateral creditor owning an estimated 70% (or $6.2 billion) of its ...

African Diplomats in China Are Spending a Lot More Time These Days Talking About The Belt and Road Initiative

Ethiopia's ambassador to China, Teshome Tog Chanaka, shared his enthusiasm on Twitter Tuesday about his participation in the latest forum on how to integrate Africa into the Belt and Road. The event was organized by the Algerian embassy and the Taihe Institute, an international policy ...

Nigerians Share First Impressions of The New Chinese-Built Lagos to Ibadan Railway

Passengers have had a week to try out Nigeria's brand new Chinese-built standard gauge railway that links Lagos to Ibadan. The new service is operating on a limited schedule with just two trains a day but that'll expand to 16 daily departures shortly once construction of the ...

Billions of New FDI Flowing Into West Africa. Where’s the Chinese Money Going?

$1.46 billion of new foreign direct investment made its way to Nigeria in the third quarter of 2020, according to new data from the National Bureau of Statistics, but very little is coming from China. In fact, China (ex Hong Kong) wasn't among the list ...