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The Winding Road of the COVID Crisis

One of the pandemic’s many challenges is how it outflanks our attempts to impose narratives on it. Humans are storytelling creatures – we use narrative to make sense of chaos and to prioritize threats. Each new phase of the pandemic scrambles the stories we used to make ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Commodity Supercycle Blues

The editorial board of Financial Times published an op-ed yesterday announcing a new commodities supercycle. They argued that the global pivot towards climate-friendlier technologies like electric vehicles is pushing demand for metals like cobalt, lithium and palladium (used in catalytic converters.) In addition, the Biden administration’s new commitments to building infrastructure at home (and possibly abroad) will further boost demand for steel, with iron ore futures hitting record prices in Singapore this week.Where FT ...

The Seychelles Is the New Focal Point to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Chinese-Made Vaccines

A new wave of COVID-19 infections is sweeping across the tiny Indian Ocean island of The Seychelles. This wasn't supposed to happen. With nearly 60% of its people vaccinated, The Seychelles has a higher inoculation rate than any other country and was widely presumed ...

Desperate to Source COVID Vaccines, Developing Countries Jostle to Buy Chinese Jabs

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gave voice yesterday to the growing concern in developing countries about wealthy states hoarding COVID-19 vaccines. In his speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Ramaphosa accused rich countries of acquiring as much as four times the ...

Wang Yi Wrapped Up Africa Tour With a Quick Stopover in The Seychelles Before Heading Back to Asia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up his annual tour to Africa on Saturday with a quick stopover in the Indian Ocean island state of Seychelles, before heading back to Asia. During his half-day visit to Victoria, Wang met with Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde and later with ...

China’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Gains Momentum in Many Developing Regions

There's been a flurry of activity on the Chinese vaccine distribution front. Over the weekend, a growing number of countries across the Global South are taking delivery of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines even before they completed clinical trials or received WHO pre-qualification.  ...

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Begins 5-Nation Africa Tour

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will begin a five-nation African tour on Monday in Nigeria in what's now a 30-year old custom of Beijing's top diplomat always starting the year with a visit to the continent. After Nigeria, Wang will fly ...

African Leaders Plead For Faster Debt Relief at International Summit

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta used his opening speech at a virtual leaders summit of the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to plead for more debt relief, particularly for the world's poorest countries. "The debt of many member states continues to rise. ...

China-Africa 101: Sino-Indian Competition for Influence in African Indian Ocean Islands

In August 2017, China constructed its first overseas base in Djibouti. This gives considerable advantage to China’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean. As CNN reports, the base is near the Bab el Mandeb Strait which is one of the planet’s busiest shipping lanes and one of the ...