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About The China Africa Project

The China Africa Project (CAP) is a fully-independent multimedia organization dedicated to exploring every aspect of China’s engagement with Africa. The CAP is a purely informational endeavor 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:

  1. The China in Africa weekly audio podcast
  2. The weekly CAP email newsletter
  3. The China Africa Project Facebook page
  4. The China Africa Project on YouTube
  5. Eric Olander on Twitter
  6. Cobus van Staden on Twitter
  7. Eric Olander on LinkedIn
  8. 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.

For more information about Eric and his professional background please visit his LinkedIn profile. If you would like to contact Eric directly, please email him at eric@chinaafricaproject.com.

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 PhD 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.

For more information about Cobus and his professional background please visit his LinkedIn profile. If you would like to contact Cobus directly, please email him at cobus@chinaafricaproject.com.

Funding

The China Africa Project passionately believes in being upfront and transparent about its funding. Since the CAP’s inception in March 2010 through January 2018, the CAP was entirely self-funded by Eric and Cobus with no outside financial support. That changed in 2018 when the CAP received its first grant from the Ford Foundation through the Africa-China Reporting Project.

Today, in late 2019, the CAP has two sources of funding to support its operations:

  1. Subscriptions: The CAP charges $15 per month or $149 per year to subscribe to a daily email newsletter and access to the CAP website.
  2. Foundations: The CAP receives grant funding from three foundations to support portions of editorial operation:
    • The Ford Foundation: through a grant from the Africa-China Reporting Project at Wits University in Johannesburg.
    • The European Climate Commission: to support coverage of sustainability issues in the China-Africa discourse.

SUMMARY OF THE FORD FOUNDATION GRANT VIA THE AFRICA-CHINA REPORTING PROJECT: This grant is intended to support the following:

  1. 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
  2. Produce journalism training materials related to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Conference (FOCAC), including but not limited to:
    • The Reporting FOCAC website in English and Chinese
    • The 2018 FOCAC Reporting Guides in both English and Chinese.
    • Participate in ACRP-hosted journalism training seminars and workshops
  3. 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.
    • Logo placement and organizational information included in the 2018 FOCAC Reporting Guide.

As of October 2019, it is not clear if this grant will be renewed for the upcoming two-year period.

SUMMARY OF THE EUROPEAN CLIMATE COMMISSION GRANT: This grant is intended to support the following:

  1. To provide funding for freelance, independent Chinese and African journalists to create editorial content on any issue related to environmental sustainability within the broader China-Africa relationship.
  2. To provide support for coverage on the weekly China in Africa Podcast to interview guests about sustainability issues related to China-Africa relations.
  3. To pay transcription of the podcast interviews.

As of October 2019, it is not clear if this grant will be renewed for the upcoming one year period.

Other than the two grants detailed above neither the CAP or its founders have ever accepted any money, goods other forms of compensation from anyone, be they an individual/organization/government/corporation.

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 eric@chinaafricaproject.com.

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