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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.

Chinese Company Bids to Buy One of East Africa’s Largest Cement Companies

Chinese building materials manufacturer Huaxin Cement Company is bidding to buy ARM Cement’s Tanzania subsidiary, Maweni Limestone Ltd., for $116 million, according to a report in Construction Kenya.

Financing the Future of the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa

The London-based think tank Overseas Development Institute convened a panel discussion this week to explore how China plans to finance future development along its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This discussion is particularly timely ...

China Remains Top Troop Contributor to UN Peacekeeping Ops in Africa Among Permanent Five Security Council Members

Some new data is now available regarding Chinese military and police forces who now operate under UN command in African peacekeeping operations.

China is also the second-largest contributor to UN's peacekeeping budget, accounting for 15.22% of the $7 billion 2019 budget, up from 10.28% in 2018.

Read the full China Daily article here.

The Chinese Mobile Phone Company That Dominates in Africa is Now Worth $4 billion

The Shenzhen-based parent company of the hugely popular Tecno brand of phones in Africa went public this week and raised $395 million dollars in an initial public offering on Shanghai’s brand new NASDAQ-like tech-focused stock ...

Florida Governor Calls China an “Adversary” Determined to Control Resources in Africa

Florida governor Rick Scott is by no means an important voice on foreign policy matters but he does offer some insight here on how a lot of senior US politicians now consider China to be an "adversary" who's determined to exert influence around the world.

It is interesting nonetheless to see how an issue like China's engagement in Africa is now making its way into the broader political discourse in the United States about China.

Read the transcript of Governor Rick Scott's full statement on China on the Florida Daily website.

Kenyan Borrowing From Japan Surges as Chinese Lending Slows

New data from the National Treasury in Nairobi revealed a dramatic surge in borrowing from Japan, up 162% to more than $1.3 billion during the period of June 2018 to June 2019. The increase in Japanese loans comes as China is slowing its lending to Kenya. "China’s bilateral loans to Kenya, which stood at $6.4 billion by June had only grown 16 percent from $5.5 billion in the same period last year," reported Kenya's Business Daily newspaper.

Read the full report here on Business Daily.

Sinohydro Stops Work on Zambia Hydroelectric Dam

Citing "difficulties beyond its control" (translation: they haven't been paid), China’s state-owned Sinohydro has stopped work building the 750mw Kafue Gorge hydroelectric dam in Zambia, dealing a major blow for the country's drive for energy self-sufficiency and the livelihoods of thousands of workers on the project.

The Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station (see graphic above) was among a number of Chinese-funded energy projects underway in Zambia. In this particular case, the Kafue plant is funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Zambian government and the country's power company ZESCO and financed through a $2 billion loan from China's Exim Bank.

Read the full article on Afrik21.

The Top 5 Things China and Africa Buy/Sell from One Another

In an article that recently appeared in the Paris-based magazine The Africa Report, Andrew McGregor, Managing Director of the independent research organization Who Owns Whom, and Marthinus Havenga, Director of Cathkin Consulting, provided some interesting data on the top five export and import categories that dominate the bulk of China-Africa trade.

In short, China sells heavy equipment and other machinery to African countries and in turn, buys a lot of natural resources. While that's not a tremendous surprise, it is interesting to note the volumes and how they've changed between 2001 and 2018.

Read the full article on The Africa Report website that includes a number of other compelling charts and data points.

Russia and China Are Motivated by Totally Different Incentives in Africa

Russia is stepping up its engagement in Africa with a new focus on trade. Although Russia does considerably less trade with Africa than China, less than a tenth the volume, in fact, it nonetheless remains an important actor on the continent. Although Russia and China are often put together as representatives of Africa's new trading partners, breaking the hold that the U.S. and European countries long had, they are different in one fundamental way.

Charles Robertson, Global Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital, explained that while China needs to buy Africa's resources, Russia does not. The Russians have sufficient supplies of oil, gas, and timber while lacking China's industrial capacity that depends on raw materials to build the phones, cars and countless other products we all buy from the Chinese.

Read the full article in today's Southern Times. You can also follow Charles Roberton on Twitter at @RencapMan.

Niger, China Agree to Build 2,000km Oil Pipeline

China's oil ambitions in Niger clearly appear to be on the rise. The two sides agreed this week to build a massive, hugely ambitious new 2,000-kilometer pipeline that will transport crude from the landlocked West African country to the port of Seme in Benin, according to a report by the French news agency AFP.

AFP reports that the pipeline is expected to take approximately three and a half years and $4.5 billion to complete.

The pipeline announcement comes just a couple of months after the Niger government agreed to re-draw the boundaries of the Termit and Tin-Toumma nature reserve, one of Africa's largest protected wildlife zones, to accommodate an agreement with the China National Petroleum Corporation to explore three oil blocks that it had purchased.

For more on that story, listen to a recent Q&A with journalist Chloe Farand from Climate Home News in London who broke the story in the English-language news media:

Rwanda Attracting More Chinese & HK Apparel Investment

C&D factory in Rwanda that currently employs 1,200 workers. Photo via Just Style.
It’s interesting how two African land-locked countries are emerging as the continent’s leading destination for Asian apparel makers looking to offshore, or “delocalize” their China manufacturing operations. Both Ethiopia and Rwanda are emerging as the ...

Amid Mounting Chinese Debts, “President Lungu is Running Out of Options.”

A bombshell report in Africa Confidential this reveals that Zambia has borrowed significantly more from Chinese companies than previously reported and now those Chinese creditors are not in much of a mood to negotiate ...

Huawei’s Share of the African Smartphone Market Declines Due to U.S. Pressure

While Huawei dominates Africa’s telecom networking market, its share of the booming smartphone market has always lagged behind other Chinese competitors, namely Shenzhen-based Transsion who controls more than 50% of the African market. ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

How a Port Expansion in a Tiny, Self-Declared African Country Reverberates Around the World

One of the key discussions in the run-up to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit is whether China is stepping away from funding large-scale infrastructure projects like roads and ports. 

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China-Zimbabwe Sign ICT MoU Where China Will Basically Build Out the Country’s Entire Network

Zimbabwe's Information Communications Technology Minister Kazembe Kazembe and China's Vice Minister for IT took time got together on the sidelines of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World 2019 that is underway in Budapest, Hungary to sign a comprehensive MoU on bilateral ICT cooperation, according to a report in the Zimbabwe Herald.

When you look at the scope of work that's outlined to be done by the Chinese in Zimbabwe, it's well, pretty much everything.

If this is MoU is realized, China will have effectively built the entire communications network in Zimbabwe.

The challenge for other countries competing with China in the ICT space, in Africa and elsewhere, is that it's difficult to deliver the breadth that the Chinese can offer -- not to mention that every single item proposed in this MoU will also likely coming with generous Chinese government-backed loans.

Buying a Train Ticket on Ethiopia’s New SGR Is Not as Easy You Might Imagine

Journalist Ismail Einashe tried to buy a ticket on the new Chinese-funded/built standard gauge railway (SGR) in Ethiopia to travel from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa. In nearby Kenya, buying on their SGR is a pretty straightforward transaction, as it should be. Not in Ethiopia, though, according to Einashe's experience.

There's no online service, which is more difficult lately given the regular politically-motivated internet outages, no phone reservation system and even at the train station itself it's not possible.

Braving rain, mud and seemingly endless aggravation, Einashe, not surprisingly just gave up.

[mepr-show if="rule: 7733"] Read his comical, albeit frustrating account here: [/mepr-show]

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[mepr-show if="rule: 7733"]There's a tragedy in stories like this that are often overlooked in the news coverage and social media commentary about the SGR lines in both Kenya and Ethiopia. Given the huge risks that both countries have taken in borrowing billions of dollars to build these massive infrastructure projects, to hear that they are not being properly managed and well-executed is concerning. [/mepr-show] 

[mepr-show if="rule: 7733"] Railways, even in societies with good governance, are difficult businesses to run, much less in countries like Ethiopia where management is often far less experienced and operational inefficiencies are commonplace. [/mepr-show] 

[mepr-show if="rule: 7733"] So, the next time you hear a discussion over whether China has loaded Ethiopia up on too much debt, consider Einashe's inability to buy a ticket on a train built with those loans and whether Ethiopia is effectively managing its investments.[/mepr-show] 

Kenya’s Appetite for Chinese Loans May Finally be Starting to Wane

During a meeting last week with Yang Jiechi, Chinese president Xi Jinping's special envoy for Africa and one of Beijing's most senior foreign policy officials, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta gave one of the first indications that the mounting pressure over his country's rising debt levels may be having an impact. The Kenyan president told the Chinese emissary that he wants the China's private sector to become more focused on investing in Kenya and for the Chinese market to be more accessible to Kenyan exporters.

Yang and other Chinese officials are likely quite receptive to this message from Kenyatta and other African leaders given the pressures in Beijing to focus more on their investment in Africa on projects that are financially feasible.

Similarly, in Kenya after Yang's visit, a spokesperson for China's ambassador to Nairobi, Wu Peng, echoed that message by reiterating that Beijing remains committed to investing in Kenya as part of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative but is only interesting in pursuing projects that are economically viable.

The Nation Media Group's Senior Diplomatic Affairs Writer, Aggrey Mutambo, has more on the recent discussion between Kenyatta and Yang including details on Kenya's waning appetite for more bilateral Chinese debt.

You can also follow Aggrey Mutambo on Twitter at @agmutambo.

Why Using a Zero-Sum Analysis to Compare Japan and China in Africa “doesn’t work”

With the Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD, summit coming up this week in Yokohama, there is often a temptation to compare Tokyo’s engagement strategy in Africa with that of Beijing’s. Furthermore, there ...

Daily Nation Columnist: Africans Shouldn’t Worry About Chinese Loans as Much as Chinese Organized Crime in Their Countries

Anti-fraud consultant Michael Kuria says he's not worried about Chinese loans to Kenya. If Kenya defaults on their debts to Beijing, he writes in today's Daily Nation newspaper, well, that's China's problem. "I trust that they are smart enough to know not to throw good money after bad and that if it came to that they would be open to a debt restructuring proposal."

Instead, he's more concerned about the presence of Chinese organized crime in Africa which he argues is an inevitable outcome of China's deepening engagement on the continent.

Chinese organized crime which has attracted very little attention if any in Africa. It is a fact of life that organized crime always follows the movement of capital, goods and people. The inflow of these into Africa from China guarantees that Chinese organized crime will have a presence on the continent.

East African Anti-Fraud and Corruption Consultant Michael Ndichu Kuria

Read Michael Kuria's full column on the growing threat of Chinese organized crime in Africa on the Daily Nation website.

Huawei VP: WSJ Allegations of Spying in Africa Is Just “Fake News”

"Fake news" is how Huawei's vice president of strategy, Andrew Williamson, characterized last week's Wall Street Journal story on alleged spying in Uganda and Zambia. He made the comments in an interview with the state-led Russia Today television network.

It's Fascinating to see how Russian propaganda is now rallying in defense of #China/#Huawei against U.S. government and U.S. media. That is not something one would have expected to see even just a few years ago given the historically frosty relations between China and Russia.

Watch the full clip on Russia Today:


Ambassador David Shinn Shares His Views on Direction of China-Africa Security Ties

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, David Shinn, who is now an adjunct professor at George Washington University, is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on China-Africa military relations. In ...

Japan Starts to Push the “High Quality” Line to Differentiate Its Infrastructure in Africa from China’s

With the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) coming up in two weeks, the pre-summit messaging coming from the Japanese government indicates that it plans to use this event to highlight the differences its approach to infrastructure development on the continent from that of the Chinese.

Some 54 countries and international organizations are expected to attend the triennial event that will be hosted in the Japanese port city of Yokohama from August 28-30.

One of the key talking points that is likely to emerge from this year's summit will be the quality difference between Japanese and Chinese built infrastructure, with the implication, of course, that the Japanese build "high quality" and the Chinese, well, don't.

But some experts are expressing concern that this whole notion of challenging or countering the Chinese in Africa's infrastructure sector may actually be missing a much larger, far more important point:


While the pre-summit slights against the Chinese may seem to be focused on how Japan can provide better quality infrastructure to Africa, South China Morning Post correspondent Jevans Nyabiage reports that it may actually have very little to do with Africa and much more about the longstanding historical feuds between these two Asian powers:

But the rivalry between China and Japan had little to do with Africa, according to Seifudein Adem, a professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.

“It is a spillover effect of their contest for supremacy in East Asia,” said Adem, who is from Ethiopia.

“Japan’s trade with Africa, compared to China’s trade with Africa, is not only relatively small but it is even shrinking. It is a result of the acceleration of China’s engagement with Africa.”

Read Jevans Nyabiage's full report in the South China Morning Post here.

China Jumps Back Into the Fight Against Ebola in Africa

World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The Chinese government is preparing to send medical personnel to South Sudan and Uganda in a bid to contain the spread of the Ebola virus that is currently ravaging parts of the eastern Democratic Republic ...

In Africa, China Is the News

China’s soft power projection in Africa is radically different from that of other countries, like the U.S. or France, where movies, music, and culture are used to foster support and allegiance.

Kilimall: The African Start-Up with Chinese Characteristics

Named after Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, Kilimall was the first Chinese e-commerce company to enter Africa, selling products that span various categories including electronics, clothing, home appliances, fashion bags, make-up, and more. ...

Zimbabwe Gets China, India Loans to Boost Power Generation

Zimbabwe has obtained three separate loans of just over US$108,3 million from the Export-Import Bank of China and Export-Import Bank of India to be used for power generation projects and broadband expansion. ...

Chinese Tech Startups Are Targeting Emerging Markets to Make Their Mark

[ABACUS] Compared with their Western competitors, Chinese companies have a particular edge in developing regions. Companies like Alibaba and Tencent, which started in the late 1990s, have already overcome challenges facing developing and emerging markets today. These countries often have inefficient payment systems, poor logistics networks and lower incomes.

Infographic via Abacus News

Some Chinese companies have struck gold by offering innovative products at lower prices. Smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have become popular in India thanks to their good value for money. Lesser-known Chinese companies are now becoming stars in Africa.

Read the full article on the Abacus website.

Chinese Propaganda Promotes Beijing’s “Pragmatism” Over Washington’s “Idealism”

Global Times is one of China’s more nationalistic media outlets that often tests new propaganda and media messaging. This article was written Global Times writer Wang Cong in Kasane, Botswana.
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