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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 ...

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,

Yes, of Course, China’s Using Vaccines to Boost Its Soft Power

A lot of people in the U.S. and Europe are really struggling to get their heads around the implications of China's increasingly successful vaccine distribution push in the developing world. On the one hand, there's often (but not always) a begrudging ...

China’s Polling Ahead of Other Countries For Its COVID-19 Aid, But Beijing Still May Not Get the Soft Power Win It Desires

A new public opinion survey in Southeast Asia provides an indication that residents in some developing countries acknowledge China's considerable contributions in helping to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, while still feeling ambivalent about Beijing's motivations, according to the findings of a new poll conducted ...

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) ...
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