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The News Feed is a curated selection of the most important China-Africa news edited by CAP’s editors in Asia and Africa.

Analysts: China to Cut Back Lending to Africa in the Post-COVID-19-Era

Photo via China Daily.
Chinese infrastructure lending to African countries is widely expected to slow over the next 1-2 years amid mounting debt sustainability concerns, according to analysts interviewed by the South China Morning Post. This would ...

China’s Curtailment of Loans to Developing Countries Was Expected, Says Economist Michael Pettis

Michael Pettis is one of the world’s foremost China economists. He shared a few insights this weekend on the current trend of reduced Chinese lending to developing countries. In ...

Conflict in Ethiopia Adds to Uncertainty Over the Stability of Chinese Investments in the Country

A damaged tank stands abandoned on a road near Humera, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced military operations in Tigray on November 4, 2020, saying they came in response to attacks on federal army camps by the party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP
Veteran China journalist Mark K. Magsted’s documentary podcast series “On China’s Silk Road” featured an in-depth analysis in its latest episode, posted on Friday, about Chinese investments in Ethiopia ...

Fearing Africa Will be Left Behind, AU Opens Talks With Russia and China to Secure C19 Vaccine Supplies

A screen shows a coronavirus vaccine at a press conference during a media tour of a new factory built to produce a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at Sinovac, one of 11 Chinese companies approved to carry out clinical trials of potential coronavirus vaccines, in Beijing on September 24, 2020. WANG ZHAO / AFP
The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said last week that his organization, together with the African Union, have started talks with both Chinese and Russian suppliers of ...

Although Largely Out of the Headlines, China’s Mask Diplomacy in Africa Continues Apace

The Chinese electric vehicle company BYD donated 16 million masks to medical workers in Africa as part of the Africa CDC’s public awareness campaign #AfricaMaskWeek that ends today.  Focus on China’s ...

Forget About Repayment Holidays, Kenya Wants Its Creditors (Ahem… China) To Cancel Some of Its Debts

The Kenyan Treasury is reportedly considering a new plan to approach its creditors to ask for outright cancellation of some of its debt, according to a report in Business Daily. Although a ...

Kenya Treasury Secretary: “We Don’t Want to Give the Impression We Are Straining in Any Way”

The alarming headlines in today’s Kenyan newspapers about the country’s apparent inability to repay some of its debts contrasts sharply with the message conveyed by Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Ukur Yatani 

Allianz Research: Africa, Americas Had Better Brace for a “China-Less Recovery”

China is turning inwards and will slow its economic engagement in emerging markets in Africa and Latin America in the post-COVID-19-era, according to new analysis from the research arm of the German ...

Hundreds of Chinese Nationals Evacuated From Northern Ethiopia, Confirms Foreign Ministry Spokesman

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian.
600 Chinese nationals have reportedly been safely escorted out of the conflict zone in northern Ethiopia. “With the assistance of the Ethiopian side, the Chinese citizens there have basically been evacuated,” 

Chen Xiaodong Is as Much an Ambassador for the Chinese Communist Party as He Is for the Chinese Government

China’s new ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong, led a webinar discussion this week that highlighted the dual role that Chinese envoys play abroad: to represent both the Chinese state and the ruling Chinese Communist ...

As Zambia Nears Default, Analysts Examine What Went Wrong

File image of Zambia President Edgar Lungu speaking with reporters at the State House in Lusaka. SALIM DAWOOD / AFP
Although Zambia missed a $42.5 million bond payment on November 14th, and effectively defaulted on that portion of its debt, it’s still technically not in default yet. It will probably officially cross that line within ...

Many Kenyans Surprised and Somewhat Perturbed That the Chinese Contractor Building the Nairobi Expressway is Going to Make a LOT of Money

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a Chinese state-owned construction company, is forecast to earn almost a billion dollars in profits over the 27 years that it will operate the new Nairobi Expressway that’s ...

With Chinese Loans Coming Due, Ethiopia Moves Forward With Ethio Telecom Privatization Plan

The Ethiopian government is moving forward with plans to sell off a 45% stake of the state-owned Ethio Telecom along with two more telecom licenses even though this may not be the best time to ...

Chinese Oil Buying From Saudi Arabia Surges, Likely at Africa’s Expense

Saudi Arabia is emerging as an increasingly important hub on China’s Belt and Road Initiative as Beijing turns to the Kingdom for an increasingly large share of its oil procurement. Last year, ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

It’s Not All Gloomy

The last few weeks have been marked by a pervasive gloominess about Africa’s future. 

As Zambia was defaulting on its Eurobond debt, the G20 was praising itself effusively for coming up with a debt response unlikely to help anyone. Meanwhile, the depressing talking points kept coming: a lost decade, 25 years of growth down the drain, millions pushed back into extreme poverty. 

These are all realities. However, they might not show the entire ...

The Challenge of Responding to the Zambian Crisis

Zambia’s slow creep towards an official default is raising a lot of discussion about how to avoid this kind of crisis from spreading. Not surprisingly, much of this focus is falling on China, and rightly so. China’s insistence on handling successive troubled loans on an opaque case-by-case basis, its selective participation in the G20’s DSSI initiative, and the wider uncertainty of how it will shape global lending norms are all ...

Africa’s Asian Decade

In today’s China-Africa Daily Brief email newsletter we showcased an article by the analyst and former Liberian Public Works Minister, Gyude Moore, arguing that the pandemic-induced economic crisis will lock in Chinese influence in Africa for at least a decade.He argues that the legacy of large-scale lending to Africa will give China leverage at a moment when both the United States and Europe can’t muster the vision to engage with ...

The Nested Tragedies of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway

Recently we’ve seen two new pieces of research on Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR,) which make for fascinating – if depressing – reading. They show that the project was doomed from the start by corruption and bad dealing from both the Kenyan and Chinese sides. It’s now clear that the projections of the usefulness and profitability of the railway had been distorted, and that a humbler refurbishment of existing, smaller rail ...

The U.S. Elections and the Rest of Us

Welp, here we are. It’s finally November 3. As a non-American, I’m always amazed by the power of American politics to draw in the rest of the world. It isn’t that the rest of us feel involved, exactly. And it isn’t only due to the fact that we’ll be affected by the decisions of a future U.S. government. Rather, the global power of American politics lies in how it shapes ...

Nigeria’s Dreams and Nightmares

Earlier this month, the Nigerian opposition politician Peter Obi delivered the 60th Founder’s Day lecture at the University of Nigeria. In his talk he took a swipe at the incumbent government’s handling of the current economic crisis, saying that instead of taking loans from China, Nigeria should borrow its development ideas. What followed would be familiar to anyone who has ever sat in on a China-Africa development seminar: a mind-numbing raft of statistics on ...

Twenty Years of FOCAC

It was mostly overshadowed by the debt crisis in places like Zambia, but last week saw a major milestone in China-Africa relations. It was the twentieth anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). In some ways, FOCAC kicked off a sea change in Africa’s position in the world. In others, it very much didn’t. In the former sense, it has reshaped what business with Africa can look like. Chinese investment ...

The Collectivity Question

Is unrelenting grimness more palatable if it is also instructive? Africa’s current debt crisis will soon provide an answer.

The continent’s slide into debt distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been very revealing of Africa’s position in the world. Despite all the calls for debt relief, it soon became clear that much of the world doesn’t particularly care how it will make it through. 

The United States’s resistance against ...

China, Climate Change and COVID-19 Will Force Africa to Re-Think Its Development Strategy

This week, different groups of experts weighed in on how China will handle its many distressed loans to Africa. They seem to agree that the process of renegotiating this debt will be long and messy, and that Chinese actors probably won’t seize assets, but will rather kick the can down the road through rescheduling repayments. 

The larger reality is that African countries will probably have a lot less access to financing in the ...

StarTimes and DSTV Battle For Audiences in Africa’s Intensely Competitive Pay TV Market

One of the revealing aspects of Africa’s pandemic-related downturn is that, while it’s causing financial chaos across the continent this doesn’t seem to be slowing the outside interest in certain African consumer sectors.

Take TV, for example. For a long time, the African cross-border satellite TV market was dominated by one player – South Africa’s DSTV. Evolving from Nasionale Pers a keystone apartheid media conglomerate, DSTV introduced satellite TV to ...

China Combines Military Outreach with PPE Diplomacy in the DRC

China’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo handed over a donation on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army to an officer from the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC). The donation of ...

G20 Wraps Up Summit With Lots of Promises But Very Little Concrete Action on Debt Relief

Debt relief for the world’s poorest countries was high on the agenda at this weekend’s Group of 20 summit organized by Saudi Arabia. The conference ended on Sunday with what’s become ...

China Claims It’s Done More to Relieve Developing World Debt Than Any Other G20 Member

Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun provided a robust defense of Beijing’s participation in the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative and said his government is doing more than any other in the group in providing billions ...

China and the G20’s New “Common Framework” For Debt Relief

One of the highlights from the latest G20 summit was the group’s endorsement of a so-called “common framework” that would create a set of standards for countries not eligible for the Debt Service Suspension Initiative ...

Dissecting the Zambian Debt Crisis and What Role China, Private Creditors Played

One week after Zambia failed to meet a deadline to repay $42.5 million on some of its Eurobond debt, African and international media are examining what went wrong and who precisely is to blame.

Analyst: When the Chinese Lend Africa Money, It’s a Debt Trap But Not Apparently When Private Creditors Do

Lagos-based policy analyst Ovigwe Eguegu noted a discrepancy in how Chinese debt issuances to Africa are covered by the international media, compared to when those debts are owed to largely U.S/Europe-based ...

The Case For Kenya’s Embattled Chinese-Financed Standard Gauge Railway

The embattled Chinese-financed and constructed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya that now faces a critical test as to whether it will be able to survive the worsening economic crisis. TONY KARUMBA / AFP
Critics of Kenya’s multi-billion-dollar Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) definitely have the upper hand these days as the railway sinks deeper into debt. But George Sunguh, managing editor of African Ports Review,

CAP Expert Network

Howard Liu

China Program Director
Oxfam Hong Kong

Nicola Licata

International Business Development
Yili Group

Tom Harper

Assistant Professor
Neijiang Normal University

Wenyi Wang

Communications Consultant
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Mohammed Al-Sudairi

Senior Researcher
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies

Frangton Chiyemura

Lecturer in International Development
The Open University

Andrea Ghiselli

Researcher & Project Manager
Fudan University & TOChina Hub/ChinaMedProject

Wody Keita

China Manager
Africa Tech Summit

It’s Official, Chen Xiaodong is Now China’s Ambassador to South Africa

Chen Xiaodong officially became China’s ambassador to South Africa on Sunday, when he presented his credentials to President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria. Newly-named envoys from Finland, Botswana, Ukraine, Pakistan, Sudan, and ...

Africa’s Mosaic Approach

Afrobarometer is the gift that keeps on giving. Every few years the survey company tracks public opinion in African countries about external partners. The result is a growing and fascinating body of work that shows ...

Zambia Central Bank Gov: Equal Treatment to Blame for Default

File image of Zambian Central Bank Governor Christopher Mvunga. Image via ZNBC.
Zambia’s Central Bank Governor Christopher Mvunga said the need to treat all of its creditors equally is the reason why the government couldn’t repay bondholders a $42.5 million interest payment that was due last Saturday. “One ...

China’s Top SSA Diplomat Praises Zambia-Exim Bank Deferral Deal, Makes No Mention of Default

China’s top diplomat for sub-Saharan Africa, Wu Peng, issued the first comment by any Chinese official on the Zambian debt crisis since the country defaulted on a bond payment last Saturday. Wu ...

Who’s to Blame For Zambia’s Debt Crisis? Don’t Just Point the Finger at China Says Zambian Scholar

Zambian economist Grieve Chelwa took aim at the international financial services industry and governments in the U.S. and Europe in a scathing editorial published today in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper.  He vented his ...

Passenger Traffic’s Up on Kenya’s New SGR But Will It Be Enough to Save the Embattled Railway?

The embattled Chinese-financed and constructed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya that now faces a critical test as to whether it will be able to survive the worsening economic crisis. TONY KARUMBA / AFP
Travelers are making their way back to Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railways, especially the line between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa, according to new data published by the Kenya Railways Corporation ...

Egypt Returns 31 Ancient Chinese Coins

Tweet translation: On November 17th, on behalf of the Chinese government, I received 31 Chinese antique coins that Egypt delivered to the Chinese embassy in Cairo. Hence, the Chinese side sincerely thanks Egypt for protecting and returning cultural property stolen from the country of origin.
China’s ambassador to Egypt, Liao Liqiang, welcomed the return of 31 ancient coins that were handed over yesterday by the Egyptian government. “The Chinese side sincerely thanks Egypt for protecting and returning cultural property stolen ...

STUDENT xCHANGE

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

By China House Student Fellows Qinnan He, Larrissa Leung, Linyi Xia and Xuewen Zhang (Authors listed alphabetically, this research article has been authored equally).

“I’ll share you a girl’s story. She’s 35 now with 9 children after being forced to marry at 14. Her mom and dad died when she ...

Amodani Gariba,

22, Koforidua Technical University, Ghana

Almost 15 years ago, allegations were beginning to emerge that China influences African elections. The case in point was Zambia. China became a hot campaign issue in Zambia’s 2005 elections. The opposition, led by Michael ‘King Cobra’ Sata, never missed an opportunity to lash out at then incumbent, Patrick Mwanawasa, over ...

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

By China House Student Fellows He Ye, 17, Shenzhen College of International Education Ruining Liu, 17, Capital Normal University High School, Liangjing Yi, 17, Shude High School Dujiangyan Foreign Language Experimental School and Xia Zhao, 18, Northfield Mount Hermon School

In the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report released by the ...

By China House Fellows Jinhao Bai, Yi Cheng, Jiasui Xie, Ruoyu Yan

“If we want to confront the issue of racism, everyone needs to take their share of responsibility. This ‘everyone’ includes you, me, and all the other individuals living in this planet.“

                                                                                         –A Guinean Student in Guangzhou

Across ...

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

By China House Fellows Andy Zhang, Jie Cang, Ziyu Lin and Yirong Xu

“We don’t want gifts and apologies: We want our dignity…We have fractured this world.” – Kevin, student

“But I thought racism doesn’t exist in China…it wasn’t embarrassing, it was dehumanizing.” – Iris, teacher

Born and raised in ...

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

By China House Student Fellows Xinjian Lyu, Chenxing Ji, Yuncheng Chi, Shizhen Gu

Guangzhou, one of the most developed cities in China, has become a popular place among foreign immigrants. The majority of immigrants here in Guangzhou are Africans who seek better business opportunities.

According to the data on we-medias, ...

By China House Student Fellows Houming Ling, Lynn Yuhan Pan, Meng Zhao and Zach Ziye Zhang

“The African community in Guangzhou is on edge after widespread accounts were shared on social media of people being left homeless this week, as China’s warnings against imported coronavirus cases stoke anti-foreigner sentiment.”CNN Journalists ...

Vyshnav Menon,

21, Australian National University, Australia

Needless to say, the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global economy. With the world in situ, supply chains and the movement of goods and people have come to an abrupt pause. This has caused severe implications onto the pace and scope of the Belt ...

Gioia Serena Wang,

17, Wellington College International Shanghai, China

In the fall of 2010, East China Normal University launched the International Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy program co-sponsored by UNESCO and China’s Ministry of Commerce. The one-year master program endorsed by China’s Ministry of Education taught participants via lectures and seminars educational development skills such as policy research ...

Li Zhiyi,

16, Shanghai Foreign Language School, China

The COVID-19 pandemic has aroused worldwide attention to wildlife consumption in China. So what is the current consumption like? Why do the Chinese have that obsession? And how can we reduce consumption in the future?

“Pangolins, turtles, snakes, and some kinds of birds… My family used to eat at home ...

Zambia’s Default Sparks Renewed Concerns Over High Levels of Chinese Debt in Some African Countries

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping before their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People on September 1, 2018. Nicolas ASFOURI / POOL / AFP
Zambia’s default over the weekend on a portion of its Eurobond debt prompted renewed concerns about the lack of transparency in Chinese lending and whether weak governance systems in a number of African countries are ...
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