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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 ...

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 ...

Africa’s Mosaic Approach

Afrobarometer is the gift that keeps on giving. Every few years the survey company tracks public opinion in African countries about external partners. The result is a growing and fascinating body of work that shows African public opinion about actors like China shifting in real-time. This time, 

Africa’s Asian Decade

In today’s China-Africa Daily Brief email newsletter we showcased an article by the analyst and former Liberian Public Works Minister, Gyude Moore, arguing that the pandemic-induced economic crisis will lock in Chinese influence in Africa for at least a decade. He argues ...

The Nested Tragedies of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway

Recently we've seen two new pieces of research on Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR,) which make for fascinating – if depressing – reading. They show that the project was doomed from the start by corruption and bad dealing from ...

The U.S. Elections and the Rest of Us

Welp, here we are. It’s finally November 3. As a non-American, I’m always amazed by the power of American politics to draw in the rest of the world. It isn’t that the rest of us feel involved, exactly. And it isn’t only due to the fact that ...
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