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Between ‘a’ Vision and ‘the’ Vision Lies Division

Everyone is cramming in a last flurry of calls and briefings and ‘quickly touching base on’ before the end of the year. It made my week so jam-packed that I can literally not recall what I said to whom. One through-line, however, has been values. This is ...

No One’s Really Sure What to Make of China’s FOCAC Financial Pledge

One of the key takeaways from the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) conference that took place in Dakar last month is that, unlike previous FOCACs, there's very little consensus over whether the event signaled that China's backing away from Africa or deepening its commitment to the ...

Why the Era of Low-Cost Imports From China May be Coming to an End in Africa (At Least For Now)

The ongoing supply chain disruptions are having a profound impact on the types of goods that consumers in Africa and other Global South countries can access. It used to cost just $1,000 per container to ship low-cost socks, shoes, electronics, and other ...

The Chinese Government Briefs Diaspora in Africa on FOCAC and Also Wants to Make Sure Everyone’s Sufficiently Patriotic

China's Ambassador to Botswana, Wang Xuefeng, led a post-FOCAC briefing of overseas Chinese diaspora from Africa to bring them up to speed on everything that happened at the conference in Dakar and just to make sure they're all aligned when it comes to key issues like Xi Jinping ...

The Different Readings of FOCAC

One of the intriguing results of last week’s FOCAC meeting has been a narrative pushed by key English-language publications that it represents a reduction in Chinese engagement with the continent. Bloomberg set the tone in its initial report which counted the sums mentioned in President Xi Jinping’s speech and ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

The Big Chill

Over the last few years, we’ve seen increasing hand-wringing in Western capitals about how the money China is spending in the Global South translates into direct political influence. This week research was published that quantifies the issue.

A new report by Foreign Policy Research Institute tracked how increased Chinese spending (both loans and foreign direct investment) in African countries aligns with those countries’ voting in the United Nations General Assembly ...

A Week After FOCAC, Experts Weigh in with More Nuance

While much of the news coverage in the immediate aftermath of this year's FOCAC focused on the premature calculation that China had reduced its financial pledge by a third, now, a week later, more nuanced analysis from some of the world's leading specialists in the field is ...

The Uganda Airport Story and FOCAC Spark More “Bad Takes” in Both Chinese and African Media

The editors at Nigeria's Punch newspaper are apparently still unaware that the story about Uganda's Entebbe International Airport being seized by China as part of a debt default is not true. If they knew that the rumor had been conclusively debunked, ...

With FOCAC Now Over, Chinese FM Wang Yi Turns His Attention to China’s Forum With LatAm and the Caribbean

Within days of the conclusion of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Dakar, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pivoted to focus on a similar ministerial forum with his counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean. Wang last Friday chaired the third Ministers' Meeting of the Forum of ...

The French Media’s View of FOCAC Was Decidedly Negative

Generally, the French view of last week's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation conference that took place in Senegal was not very positive. With headlines that spoke of Africa's "disillusionment" with China or overtly racist cartoons depicting China's vaccine donations on the continent, pessimism ...

FOCAC 2018 vs. 2021

Researchers and analysts are beginning to work their way through the 40-page Dakar Action Plan that provides more detail on the outcomes of last week's FOCAC. If past FOCAC events are any guide, it's likely that it will take at least two to three weeks to fully ...
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