The China Africa Project (CAP) is a non-profit independent multimedia organization dedicated to exploring every aspect of China’s engagement with Africa. The CAP is registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation in the United States with no partisan agenda whatsoever and does not advocate on behalf of any country, company, or culture.
The CAP was co-founded in 2010 by journalist Eric Olander and media scholar Dr. Cobus van Staden. Until August 2019, the CAP was a passion project that Eric and Cobus worked on during nights and weekends. Now, Eric works full-time on CAP to produce the daily email newsletter, podcasts and to maintain the website. Cobus remains employed by the South African Institute of International Affairs as the lead China-Africa researcher and works on CAP in his spare time.
The CAP produces a mix of editorial content that combines original material with carefully curated third-party information. The current CAP production output includes:
- The China in Africa weekly audio podcast
- The weekly CAP email newsletter
- The China Africa Project Facebook page
- The China Africa Project on YouTube
- Eric Olander on Twitter
- Cobus van Staden on Twitter
- Eric Olander on LinkedIn
- Cobus van Staden on LinkedIn
Eric Olander is a journalist with more than 30 years of experience reporting, producing and managing newsrooms for some of the world’s leading editorial organizations including CNN, FRANCE 24 and the BBC World Service among others. He has an extensive background working in newsrooms and doing content production in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia. China, though, has been the central focus of Eric’s professional career. He first went to China in 1989 and spent more than a decade of combined time living, studying and working there. Eric is fluent in both French and Mandarin Chinese. He received his undergraduate degree in East African history from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s of International Public Affairs with a focus on Chinese foreign policy from the University of Hong Kong.
Director of Research & Analysis:
Dr. Cobus van Staden is currently the Senior China-Africa Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg, South Africa’s leading foreign policy think tank. SAIIA is not affiliated with the CAP and does not fund, influence or provide any material support. Cobus completed his Ph.D. in Japanese studies and media studies at the University of Nagoya in Japan in 2008. He focused on comparisons of Chinese and Japanese public diplomacy in Africa during postdoctoral positions at the University of Stellenbosch, and the SARCHI Chair on African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg, before joining the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2013. His academic research focused on media coverage of the China-Africa and Japan-Africa relationships, as well as the use of media as public diplomacy in the global south. He joined SAIIA as the head of their China-Africa program in 2017.
Dr. Cliff Mboya is a journalist and researcher with more than 10 years of experience in research and reporting. He completed his Ph.D. in international politics from Fudan University in Shanghai in 2020 where he analyzed China’s public diplomacy initiatives in Africa. He holds an M.A in Development Communication from the University of Nairobi where he wrote about China’s media portrayal in Africa using China Daily as a case study. He has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and journalism minor from the United States International University. He has produced editorial content in both local and international media outlets such as Daily Nation, The Standard, The People, Capital FM, Diplomat East Africa magazine, and various digital outlets. He started his career as an intern at the Ministry of foreign affairs in Kenya; worked as a part-time reporter at Diplomat East Africa magazine; joined the Chinese embassy in Kenya as an information and public affairs officer and worked as a China-Africa analyst and consultant after his PhD. He is also a research fellow at the Afro Sino Centre of international relations (ASCIR).
Han Zhen (寒槙) has an extensive background working and conducting research in both China and Africa, including this in-depth analysis on anti-Black racism on Weibo. Unfortunately, for personal security reasons, we can’t use their real name or provide any other identifying information about them. Han explained that they’re not concerned about the Chinese government’s reaction to their work with CAP, since most of this content will draw on material already in the public domain. Rather, they’re concerned about attracting the attention of nationalist trolls online. Getting doxxed and harassed by the online mob is a real concern in China today. There are a lot of people, regrettably, who regard the contextualizing of Chinese-language content for an international audience as treasonous.
The China Africa Project passionately believes in being upfront and transparent about its funding. Since CAP’s inception in March 2010 through January 2018, CAP was entirely self-funded by Eric and Cobus with no outside financial support. That changed in 2018 when CAP received its first grant from the Ford Foundation through the Africa-China Reporting Project.
Currently, the CAP has two sources of funding to support its operations:
- Subscriptions: The CAP charges $15 per month or $149 per year to subscribe to a daily email newsletter and access to the CAP website.
- Foundations: From time to time, CAP receives grant funding from foundations to support portions of its editorial operation. Current funding includes:
- General reporting: through a grant from the Africa-China Reporting Project at Wits University in Johannesburg (funded by the Ford Foundation).
- Research projects: through support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
SUMMARY OF THE AFRICA CHINA REPORTING PROJECT GRANT: This grant is intended to support the following:
- Underwrite the operational expenses of the CAP, including but not limited to:
- Podcast and website hosting
- Monthly expenses to support email newsletter
- Web design and development
- Music licensing fees
- Translation expenses
- Equipment purchases
- Produce journalism training materials related to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Conference (FOCAC), including but not limited to:
- Promote the work of ACRP, its events, and grantees. The ACRP receives the following promotion on CAP:
- Pre-roll sponsorship announcement on the weekly China in Africa podcast.
- Midroll sponsorship announcement on the weekly China in Africa podcast.
- Two logo placements and one banner advertisement on the weekly CAP email newsletter.
Want More Information?
Both Eric and Cobus are fully transparent about the mission of the CAP, its funding and partnerships. If you have any questions or would like more information on anything mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact Eric at email@example.com.
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