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China’s Infrastructure Soft Power Diplomacy in Africa

China's approach to soft power diplomacy in Africa differs markedly from that of other major powers, namely the United States, France and the UK. While those countries rely heavily on cultural products like movies and music to promote their cultures, China uses glamor shots of beautiful new ...

Macky Sall Thanks His Friend Xi Jinping For Donating 300,000 Vaccines and Syringes

Senegalese President Macky Sall took to Twitter yesterday to express his gratitude to his "friend President Xi Jinping" for the donation of 300,000 COVID-19 vaccines and 300,000 syringes that landed in Dakar this week.  The tweet provides the latest ...

China to Build a New Library at the University of Nairobi

Beijing's top diplomat for sub-Saharan Africa, Wu Peng, announced on Twitter yesterday that the Chinese government will build a China-themed library at the University of Nairobi. The university is already home to a Confucius Institute. Wu added that he ...

COVID Complaints and the Issue of Soft Power

As an outfit tracking the Africa-China aspect of COVID-19 since its outbreak, we were aware from early on that the pandemic has laid down a new track in a global geopolitical race. So it’s very interesting to see more commentators in the Global North slowly waking up ...

Someone is Notably Absent From This Year’s Alibaba-Backed Africa’s Business Heroes Awards

Organizers of the annual Africa's Business Heroes prize sent out an announcement on Wednesday that the online portal to apply for the competition will open on Monday.  In the past, just last year in fact, this same announcement had Jack Ma all over it. But not this ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Reading the Smoke

As things slowly settle down in South Africa after the last ruinous week, the debates about who’s really to blame are catching fire. It’s now being called an insurrection attempt, and President Ramaphosa has referred to those responsible for fueling the protests as ‘enemies of democracy.’ One of the problems underlying the current crisis is that he’s both right and wrong. South Africa is indeed, as Ramaphosa called it, a ‘hard-fought-for democracy.’ ...

Favorable Views of China, France Both Fall in 12-Nation African Survey

Opinion leaders in 12 French and Arabic speaking African countries look less favorably upon France and China, according to the findings of the third annual survey conducted by the French Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN), an independent business association. China fell 9 points this past year ...

The Reality of Educational Soft Power

Last week was a bloody one in Johannesburg. Wits University, where I used to teach and where I’m currently an affiliate, has seen weeks of student protests. On Wednesday, a standoff turned violent. As the police opened fire with rubber bullets, a bystander stepped out of a ...

Why China’s Vaccine Outreach in Africa May Not Produce the Soft Power Dividends Many Assume

There's growing anxiety in many Western capitals that China's head start in distributing vaccines to African countries will provide Beijing with a powerful diplomatic advantage. While there's no doubt that China's vaccine donations are well received on the continent, a trio of Africa analysts at the UK-based ...

Washington’s Former Top Diplomat For Africa: “China’s Kicking Our Tails Everywhere”

Tibor Nagy, the top U.S. diplomat for Sub-Saharan Africa under ex-President Trump, re-surfaced for the first time since he left Washington in January. Nagy published a column in a local Texas newspaper calling on the current U.S. administration to do more to stop China's rising influence in ...

China is Absolutely Destroying the Competition in the Global Battle Over Vaccine Optics

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the latest head of state to take part in what's become a very effective Chinese propaganda campaign by rolling up his sleeve for a high-profile injection of a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccination. Last week,
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