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Southward Bound

Over the last few months, you may have seen a few changes around these pages. While our focus has always been (and will always be) on Africa, you probably spotted the odd Southeast Asian or Middle Eastern, or Latin American story cropping up.

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Q&A: Africa’s Role in China’s Global Military Expansion – Defense Expert Unpacks a Thorny Issue

The head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, on Tuesday added to the growing alarm in Washington DC defense circles about the global reach of China’s military. 

Speaking in front of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Aquilino said China is building capacity to seize Taiwan, and: “The PRC also seeks to establish a network of overseas military installations that would extend its reach, allowing support for an increasingly ...

TikTok’s Chinese Parent Company Targets African Teens With New Messaging App

Bytedance, parent company of the enormously successful social video app TikTok, launched a new mobile messaging app that targets Africa's huge teen market. The new app will combine music and messaging features with an eye on displacing the current market leaders ...

Finding a Common Destiny in the Global South: The Role of China’s Regional Forum Diplomacy

One of China’s signature contributions to the diversification of the emerging world system is the use of regional forum diplomacy to promote the creation of Chinese-instigated regional organizations.  Starting with the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, the Chinese government has built a network of ...

What Does China Really Mean When It Says “African Solutions For African Problems?”

China's top diplomat for sub-Saharan Africa, Wu Peng, tweeted on Friday a version of Beijing's longstanding mantra "African Solutions for African Problems." The origins of that concept, at least in the Chinese context, are actually grounded in Asia where President Xi Jinping emphasized ...

Senior U.S. Diplomat Explains What Makes the U.S. So Uneasy About China’s Presence in Africa

While there have been countless seminars on China-Africa relations in Washington featuring scholars, think tank analysts, and journalists, it's quite rare that these discussions feature high-ranking State Department officials. The higher up in the ranks, the more they prefer to keep discussions out of the public eye. ...

Trend of Shanghai “Blessing Videos” Featuring Africans Raises Dark Memories

Shanghai’s COVID lockdown is resurrecting a troubling trend in Africa-China social media. Online agents accept orders to create tailor-made videos to inspire Shanghai residents to persevere through the pandemic-related restrictions. The problem is that these videos include Africans, dancing and holding up signs in Chinese. ...

5 Recommendations for Tackling the Sovereign Debt Challenge in Southern Africa 

By Daniel Bradlow and Magalie Masamba The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly profound adverse impact on Africa’s sovereign debt situation. Currently, 22 low-income African countries are either in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress. This ...

Chinese Companies are Transforming the African Business Environment: Economist

While discussions of Africa-China engagement tend to focus on the government-to-government level, Chinese private companies are quietly transforming the African business landscape. So writes the noted Kenyan economist Anzetse Were, in a recent article for SupChina. She argues that the Chinese ...

Senior Level Stakeholders From China, Africa Gather in Beijing to Discuss How to Finance African Infrastructure

The African Union's mission in Beijing together with the consultancy Development Reimagined organized a two-day event this week in the Chinese capital that brought together high-level stakeholders from both China and Africa to discuss how to finance the next stage of Africa's infrastructure development. ...

This Year’s U.S.-African Land Forces Summit Was Partially Intended to Persuade African Militaries Not to Partner With China and Russia

Generals and other high-ranking officers from 40 African armies traveled to the southern United States last month to watch the U.S. Army show off its latest weapons and tactics. The week-long event at the sprawling army base at Fort Benning in ...

India-Africa Relations and the China Angle

India is becoming increasingly alarmed about China’s growing international influence, as frosty relations with Beijing persist despite recent Chinese overtures. This is especially true for Africa. India has long considered large swathes of the continent as a traditional sphere of influence.
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