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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.

If You Aren’t Following The Chinese Consulate in Johannesburg’s Twitter Feed, You’re Missing Something Very Entertaining

The Chinese diplomatic corps in Africa is new to Twitter with most of their new accounts coming online within just the past few months. While the majority of those feeds are filled with the standard ...

Zimbabwe Takes Delivery of Used B777 With Hopes to Launch New Direct Flights to China

A Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur landed at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare this week and brought with it the hope that Zimbabwe can revive its national flag carrier Air Zimbabwe. This is ...

Tanzania’s Drive to Become Regional Transport Hub Gets Boost From New SGR Deals With Burundi, DRC 

A general view shows the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train (R) constructed by the Chinese Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and financed by Chinese government stopping at the Nairobi Terminus, on October 16, 2019. SIMON MAINA / AFP
Tanzania Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe signed agreements with both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi to link up their future Standard Gauge Railway lines to Tanzania’s proposed SGR.  The 1,457km Tanzanian SGR line ...

Severe Drought Threatens Namibia’s Lucrative Beef Exports to China

A worker in Namibia's state-owned meat processing company Meatco. Photo via Meatco.
With the country’s dam levels now down below the critical 20% level, Namibia is running out of water, posing an immediate threat to both human health and the viability of the country’s beef industry that ...

New Documents Unveiled in Kenya’s Court of Appeals Puroportedly Reveal Massive SGR Over-Spending

New documents have emerged that reportedly reveal widespread corruption and over-spending in the building of the Chinese-financed and constructed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya. These documents are part of the ongoing case in front of ...

AFRICOM: While the U.S. Wants to Partner with African Governments to Fight Terrorism, China Instead Just Sells Weapons

U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend meets with Tunisian security forces recently in Tunisia. Townsend discussed the importance of their mission, their bravery, and the critical nature of their work countering transnational threats. (Air Force/Photo by Col. Chris Karns)
To say that the U.S. Military Command for Africa (AFRICOM) does not think highly of China’s engagement on the continent would be putting it mildly. In an article published today in Military Times, AFRICOM commanders ...

A Lawyer’s Perspective on What’s Ahead This Year for Two Controversial Chinese Bauxite Mining Deals in West Africa

A train loaded with bauxite arrives at the bauxite factory of Guinea's largest mining firm, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), at Kamsar, a town north of the capital Conakry. GEORGES GOBET / AFP
University of Maryland legal scholar Zhang Jingjing is one of the world’s leading experts on outbound Chinese investment, particularly involving cases that have serious environmental consequences. Over the years, she’s been closely following developments in ...

Kenya Looks Beyond China for New Sources of Development Finance

Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP
Since the new year, Kenya has taken some rather bold steps to reduce its borrowing costs and ensure that new loans are “fairly priced.” The Treasury is seeking to refinance large portions of its current ...

In a Bid to Challenge China, Britain Will Reallocate $500 Million of its Aid Budget to Jump Start Private Sector Investment in Africa

African leaders from 20 countries are in London today where they will take part in the UK-Africa Investment Summit. The summit, hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aims to chart a ...

While Skepticism of China’s Global Media Expansion Runs High in the U.S., in Kenya Opinions are More Varied

Kenya is the epicenter of China’s media presence in Africa, with Nairobi hosting the regional headquarters of CGTN and an expanded presence by the state-run news service Xinhua. Also, Kenya is one of the largest ...

After a Brief Lull, the Belt and Road is Back… in a BIG Way

Greg Baker/AFP
Last year there was a palpable sense that China’s much-hyped One Belt, One Road Initiative had gone off the proverbial rails. The whole venture seemed poorly planned and not driven by a cohesive strategy, while ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Annual Mystery Tour of Africa

What a snapshot of
this moment in foreign policy: as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarks this
week on his annual tour of African countries, the Pentagon is publicly disagreeing with U.S. President Trump about exactly which
Iranian sites might be targeted in possible airstrikes.

On the surface, the two don’t seem to have very much in common. After all, the China-Africa relationship and that between ...

China-Africa in 2020: Three Trends to Watch

One of the reasons the
China-Africa relationship is interesting is because even though it keeps
expanding into new areas, some of this momentum is also driven by the long
history between the two sides. Tracking China-Africa relations is to keep tabs
on how old issues morph into new ones. Here are three such dynamics. In each
case, they have a long history in the China-Africa ...

Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway and the Dramas of Development

This week saw the launch of the newest phase of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR,) connecting the port in Mombasa to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha. The Mombasa-Naivasha section of the SGR cost $1.5 billion. It connects to the initial phase, between Nairobi and Mombasa, which cost $3.2 billion. Both phases were funded by China and built by Chinese construction companies. More than an infrastructure project, the SGR has ...

The Year of the Mobile Phone is Transforming China-Africa Relations

In the
history of China-Africa relations, 2019 may come to be known as the year of the
mobile phone. It was a year when phones took on an outsized commercial and
political importance. Selling its Tecno phones in Africa carried Transsion, a
relatively unknown Chinese company, to an IPO north of $4 billion. Mobile
phones dragged Africa into the fight between Huawei and the US ...

The Optics of Gratitude in Africa

This week we interviewed Miriam Driessen for an upcoming episode of the China in Africa Podcast about her fascinating new book Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness: Chinese Road Builders in Ethiopia. Driessen is an anthropologist and spent years interviewing the Chinese workers employed on massive construction projects in East Africa. From an African perspective, these men are part of the problem. One of the most common complaints about China ...

Ready, Aim, Fire! China’s Outspoken Ambassador in South Africa Shoots Back Against Critics in US & EU

China’s ambassador to
South Africa, Lin Songtian, helmed a characteristically shoot-from-the-hip
session at a recent conference on China’s impact on African industrialization
at the University of Johannesburg. Lin accused Western countries of misrepresenting
Chinese financing to the continent as a trap, continuing: “Sometimes
some people don’t like to encourage China to do more things in Africa because
they don’t want to see the continent ...

At TICAD7, China is Invisible, but Ever-Present

There’s a real disconnect
at TICAD7 this year. This gap isn’t between Japan and Africa. Rather it’s
between the experience of being inside TICAD and how it’s represented in the
media. The dominant outside narrative is that TICAD is all about China – in
fact, phrasing this as Japan ‘taking on’ China in Africa has almost become a

However, the one place
where ...

How the U.S.-China Conflict Over Huawei Could Play out in Africa

In the future, when we look back on the 2010s, we might well identify it as the decade when tech became irreversibly entangled with geopolitics.

It was the decade of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, and Facebook-driven election interference. It is also the decade when the full force of the US government focused on one company: Chinese telecom firm Huawei.

The conflict between the United States and Huawei didn’t originate with the ...

This Chart Explains Why the U.S. Seems Increasingly Disengaged From Africa

This chart that measures African trade clearly explains why there’s so little interest in the United States about fostering closer ties with Africa. The U.S. trading relationship peaked in 2011 and since then has ...

Yun Sun: Chinese Debt Fatigue in Africa Opens Opportunities for New Emerging Powers

Vice President of the United Arab Rulerates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (R) sits next to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni during the opening of the Global Business Forum on Africa, in Dubai on November 1, 2017. Karim SAHIB / AFP
Brookings Institution non-resident fellow Yun Sun writes today that the Chinese debt-led financing model in Africa may be starting to wear thin as a growing number of countries across the continent become increasingly concerned about ...

Debunking the China-Africa “Debt Trap” Meme

Swedish scholar Johanna Malm is one of the world’s leading researchers on China-DR  Congo relations and now joins the growing number of experts who refute the still widely-held China “debt trap” narrative. In a recent ...

Donkey Populations in Kenya and Ghana Are on Track to Be “Devastated” Due to Chinese Demand for Hides

The Washington Post’s West Africa correspondent Danielle Paquette and Maxwell Suuk published a compelling story this weekend on the devastation that subsistence farmers in Ghana are encountering due to donkey poaching. The animal’s hides are sought after ...

Ethiopian Airways Set to Start Three New Direct Flights to China in 2020

Photo via Ethiopian Airlines
Africa’s leading national flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, is in the final stages of regulatory approval to launch a trio of new direct routes between its hub in Addis Ababa and major Chinese trading cities. Once ...

CAP Expert Network

Barry Van Wyk

Project Coordinator
Africa-China Reporting Project

Cliff Mboya

PhD candidate
Fudan University

Timothy Karikari

PhD Candidate
University of International Business and Economics

Aubrey Hruby

Senior Fellow
Atlantic Council

Jodi-Ann Wang

Editor of Student xChange
The China Africa Project/Kenyon College

Li Bolun


Paddy Siyanga Knudsen

Development Economist
International Organization for Migration

Hannah Ryder

Development Reimagined

China Promotes Burundi to “All-Weather Friend”

One of the highlights of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to Burundi was the announcement that Beijing had classified the government there as an “All-Weather Friend.” While this may not be an official diplomatic designation, ...

Pew: People Don’t Think Very Highly of Donald Trump Around the World, Except in Three of Africa’s Largest Countries

While Donald Trump may not be very popular in most parts of the world, not so in several of Africa’s largest countries, according to new survey data from the Pew Research ...

China’s Rapidly Evolving Role in the International Peacekeeping and Development Arenas

Peacekeeping troops from China, deployed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), patrol outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba on October 4, 2016. ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN / AFP
China is the second-largest funder of UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), behind the United States, and the largest troop contributor to PKOs in Africa among the UN’s permanent members of the Security Council. Last December, China’s ...

China’s Mideast Position in Flux Amid Escalating U.S.-Iran Crisis

Iranians tear up a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran on January 3, 2020 following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike on his convoy at Baghdad international airport. ATTA KENARE / AFP
Editor’s Note: the geopolitical lines that once clearly separated Africa, MENA and the GCC countries from one another are now quite blurred. As such, we’re going to include more coverage of China-Gulf and China Mideast ...

China is Rapidly Building a New Cryptocurrency That Everyone in Africa Should Know About 

Image via video (screengrab)
Spurred on by the now flailing Facebook cryptocurrency Libra, China fast-tracked development of its own form of digital money that it initially thought would compete with the social network’s but now may have vast portions ...

New Infographic Highlights China’s Global Building Spree and There’s a Lot Happening in Africa

Using information compiled from AidData, a research lab at the William & Mary College Global Research Institute, the Visual Capitalist produced a compelling infographic that shows the stunning breadth of China’s infrastructure building around the world, ...


Amodani Gariba,

22, Koforidua Technical University, Ghana

A local Ghananian publication, Star FM, published a news story on Saturday 28 December 2019, about 100 cars that were gifted to Ghana’s Police Service by the Chinese government. Explaining the gift, China’s  ambassador to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang, said: “These vehicles will play an important role in fighting crime ...

Amodani Gariba,

22, Koforidua Technical University, Ghana

While Ghana’s President, Nana Akuffo-Addo, is eyeing the next election; the Chinese are gazing at the opportunity to secure supply of strategic resources probably at the expense of the Ghanaian nation.

The Deal

Atiwa forest is a 26,000 hectares area in the southeastern part of Ghana. It is ...

Andrew George Brown,

21, All Nations University College, Ghana

Three weeks ago, I attended the maiden edition of the Africa
Netpreneur Summit followed by the African Heroes Awards, an initiative of Jack
Ma Foundation in collaboration with Alibaba Group in Accra, Ghana. Upon
attending and reading numerous writeups about the event, I thought to add my

This article was written collectively by the following China House Student Fellows: Ma Chenrui 马辰睿, 19, Zhengzhou University; Huang Rui 黄蕊, 20, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University; Zhang Ruoxuan 张若璿, 21, Jilin University and Xu Danlin 徐丹林, 30.

Is Sino-African fishing cooperation “mutually beneficial” or are China’s fishing fleets “taking all of ...

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

This article was collectively written by China House Fellows Ye Hongbo 叶宏波, 22, from Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics; Zhao Yi 赵诣, 20, from Nankai University; Wu Weiyang 武未央 from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics; Wang Zhi 王植, 20, from South China Normal University and Deng Wenjing 邓雯菁, ...

Jodi-Ann Wang,

21, Kenyon College, United States

The distance between China and African cultural
backgrounds allows for differences to be easily observed and misinterpreted. The
mis-accusations of China’s wrongdoings in Africa (such as exploitation and debt-trap) often stem from overlooking or misunderstanding Chinese
traditions in interpersonal relationships. Born in China, raised in Canada,

This article was collectively written by China House Fellows Chen Xinyi 陈昕怡, Chi Jiaying (Lucy) 池佳颖, Wu Xunheng 吴训恒, and Xiong Keyi熊珂仪

The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway is considered as a poster project for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with both governments calling for a historical transformation in the project. Taking ...

China House Student Fellows,

Various schools, China

This story was written collectively by China House Fellows Cao Yuning 曹雨凝, Dai Zhongxun戴中珣, Li Xiang李响, Ning Yingnan宁英男, and Shu Yuyan 舒钰嫣.

In 2018, a seminar on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was held at Witwatersrand University in South Africa. Although Ambassador Lin Songtian made great efforts to dispel ...

Chinese Travel Vlogger Gives Viewers an Upclose Look at What Life in Kenya is Like

He goes by the username Xiang Luo Tian Wai (想落天外) and gives his viewers what seems like an unvarnished view of what daily life in Kenya is like, both for the Kenyans he meets along ...
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