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How Will Biden Shake Up Africa Relations? Let’s Watch

Tomorrow, the whole world’s eyes will be on the inauguration of Joe Biden. Stepping into a moment of unprecedented domestic crisis, he will probably have relatively little bandwidth for Africa. Indications are that the Biden administration plans to steer away from the Trump era’s unilateralism. While ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

How Will Biden Shake Up Africa Relations? Let’s Watch

Tomorrow, the whole world’s eyes will be on the inauguration of Joe Biden. Stepping into a moment of unprecedented domestic crisis, he will probably have relatively little bandwidth for Africa. Indications are that the Biden administration plans to steer away from the Trump era’s unilateralism. While the incoming Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs hasn’t been confirmed yet, many State Department appointments have been filled by veterans from the Obama era. ...

Unpacking the Chinese Government’s New Development Vision

This weekend the Chinese government released a new white paper on development. It comes in unassuming guise – it’s basically a MS Word Doc with the workaday title of China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era. But in its own way it’s eye-popping. If (like ...

China’a Confusing, Contradictory Environmental Agenda

While scrolling today I came across this great piece by the China expert and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, laying out the wider implications of China's much-discussed commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. Rudd points out that ...

What It Was Like to Watch the Insurrection in the U.S. From South Africa

Lordeee…I went to bed early on Wednesday night, only to wake up to a full screen of notifications from the New York Times, and pictures of horned men storming the US Capitol. On the edge of the world in Johannesburg, I’m struck by the ...

Jack Ma’s Disappearance Is a Setback For Chinese Soft Power in Africa

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Africa at the moment. It has become a multi-decade tradition that the FM's first foreign trip of the year is always to Africa. These trips are arguably less important for what they achieve (although announcements of new deals frequently follow) ...

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 ...

China and the Dirty Secrets of ‘National Development’

The Financial Times today cited new work by scholars at Boston University on the global reduction of Chinese lending. The big story is that while Chinese lending rivaled that of the World Bank by the mid-2010s, it's now plummeting.

There Are Valuable Lessons For African Policymakers in the China-Australia Feud

The Guardian this week published a fascinating analysis of how the increasing diplomatic tensions between China and Australia could impact Africa. There are fears that recent Chinese crackdowns on Australian wine, barley, coal, and other commodities could be visited on the country’s exports of iron ...

How Long Can African Leaders Keep Repeating Themselves on Debt?

This week saw yet another African leader (this time my own president, Cyril Ramaphosa,) calling for international measures to soften the current debt crisis confronting poor countries in Africa and beyond. None of these measures are outrageous. Considering that seven out of the top 10 fastest-growing economies ...

It’s Not All Gloomy

The last few weeks have been marked by a pervasive gloominess about Africa's future.  As Zambia was defaulting on its Eurobond debt, the G20 was praising itself effusively for coming up with a debt response unlikely ...

The Challenge of Responding to the Zambian Crisis

Zambia’s slow creep towards an official default is raising a lot of discussion about how to avoid this kind of crisis from spreading. Not surprisingly, much of this focus is falling on China, and rightly so. China’s insistence on handling successive troubled loans on an opaque case-by-case ...
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