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Learning From South Sudan

We recently featured an article in our daily newsletter by South China Morning Post correspondent Jevans Nyabiage about the rapid decline of Africa's oil sales to China. In 2007, China bought about a third of its oil from African countries. Today, this share has shrunk to about ...

Development and the Complications of Tech

Today's news presents a vivid, if sobering, glimpse into the complications of Chinese tech in Africa. The same company - Transsion - is both boosting African startups and allegedly allowing African consumers to be scammed.  The discussion about the spread ...

Nigeria’s China Moment

The current anti-Chinese sentiment in Nigeria is a fascinating sign of the times, but I'm a it baffled about what it signals. I don't know enough about Nigerian society to be able to unpack it in detail. However, it seems like a symptom that China's narrative of ...

Nigeria’s Conversation About Chinese Debt

The first thing to say about the ongoing controversy about Chinese loans purportedly compromising Nigerian sovereignty is that it's based on a misreading of standard language found in loan contracts. Rather than stating that, in the case of a default, China will have the right to seize ...

The Country, the People, and the Debt

The news last week that South Africa has received a $4.3 billion loan from the IMF to help tide it over the COVID-19 crisis resulted in a revealing moment online. Rather than celebrating this lifeline to an economy that was already weak before the pandemic, ...

Excuse Me. Who Exactly is Mike Pompeo Referring to When He Talks About “The Free World?”

I'm afraid I've devolved into the kind of person who checks Twitter before even putting on my glasses in the morning. On good days it jolts me out of my lockdown torpor at least long enough to make coffee. On bad days it makes me want to ...

New Words = New Lives

One of the weird realities of the current moment is that while we're seeing much more widespread popular energy behind social justice causes, many of these campaigns seem siloed and isolated from each other. For example, over the last few months we've spent much energy tracking the ...

Why Are We Still Talking About Chinese “Debt Traps?”

My own focus on China-Africa relations is filtered through my background in media studies. One effect of this training is that I'm fascinated by the narratives that shape the relationship, how they spread and what they reveal.  One of the hardiest ...

A Not-So-Extraordinary Summit

This week's 'Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19' was largely uneventful. The initiatives announced in President Xi Jinping's address were either projects that had already been announced before (China building the Africa CDC, which will now be accelerated) or long-term Chinese standard operating procedure ...

So. Many. Ironies.

Wow. The ironies are popping up so fast they're going fractal.  As protests mount in the United States against the systemic and structural racism that has turned institutions like the police into something akin to occupying forces in certain neighborhoods, guess ...
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