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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.

Ethiopia’s New Chinese-built Satellite Sends Back First Images

Etrss-1 first test images captured near China. Image source: ESSTI.
Three weeks after it blasted off from a launchpad in China, Ethiopia’s new satellite sent back its first test images Monday. These initial photos were taken over China but officials say the next batch of ...

Howard W. French: “America’s Downsized Relationship With Africa Is About to Go Totally Adrift”

A soldier carries the American flag during the inauguration of a military base in Thies, 70 km from Dakar, on February 8, 2016 on the second day of a three-week joint military exercise between African, US and European troops, known as Flintlock. SEYLLOU / AFP
Just a few days before Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi embarks on his latest visit to Africa, author and journalist Howard W. French complained that the United States appears to be going in the opposite ...

How the Chinese-Financed Standard Gauge Railways in East Africa Marks a New Era of Government-led Infrastructure Development

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
The founding Dean of Strathmore Law School in Nairobi and a visiting scholar at Oxford University, Luis Franceschi, wrote a pair of compelling columns last month in the Daily Nation newspaper that serve as a ...

“All the Numbers Point to an Unfolding Debt Nightmare” in Kenya

The prominent Kenyan columnist and economic advisor to Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Authority, Mohamed Wehliye, published a stark warning to the government in Nairobi that the country’s debt is on the verge of spiraling out of ...

The Washington Post’s China-Djibouti Story Caught the Attention of U.S. Right-Wing Commentators

Coverage of China-Africa issues is scarce in major U.S. newspapers like The Washington Post, so it was notable last week when WAPO’s Nairobi Bureau Chief Max Bearak published a report on how Beijing’s engagement ...

Call for Contributions: African Health and Agriculture Storytelling Opportunities

INTRODUCTION: The China Africa Project (CAP) and the Beijing-based development communications agency Diinsider are partnering together for an exciting new multimedia initiative that will showcase key innovations, programs and trends in the African health and ...

Tweet of the Day: Chinese Ambassador Denounces South African Opposition Party’s Ongoing Visit to Taiwan

Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian, who is now quite prolific on Twitter, turned to the social media platform to express his displeasure about the Inkatha Freedom Party’s decision to visit Taiwan this ...

The Voice of America’s China-Africa News Hub

DISCLAIMER: From time to time we’ll introduce you to the various state-run propaganda news outlets that various governments around the world operate in the China-Africa space. Just as when we do the same corporate communications, ...

Kenyan and Chinese Officials Commemorate the Launch of Cargo Service on the Standard Gauge Railway

Image via Kenya State House
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was joined Tuesday by a large delegation of Chinese officials to inaugurate new cargo service on the Mombasa to Naivasha line of the country’s new Standard Gauge Railway. This new line ...

Deborah Brautigam Debunks the Chinese Debt Trap Theory in New Research Paper 

Professor Deborah Brautigam, Director of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, published a new paper this month that explores the Chinese debt trap theory that is widely propagated by U.S. government officials and ...

China’s Groundbreaking Use of “Non-State Actors” as Part of its Public Diplomacy Strategy in Africa

Typically, public diplomacy initiatives are carried out either by embassies in different countries or state-led media organizations (VOA, FRANCE 24, etc…). Rarely do governments entrust this kind of outreach to private organizations, or “non-state actors” ...

A Zambian Ambassador Issues Forceful Denial That Senior Lusaka Leaders Involved in Illegal Timber Racket

Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Emmanuel Mwamba, published a scathing rebuttal to allegations made by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency that accused senior government leaders of running a “cartel” to ...

China’s Cobalt Mining Giant in the DR Congo is in Trouble (Again)

A child breaks rocks extracted from a cobalt mining at a copper mine quarry and cobalt pit in Lubumbashi on May 23, 2016. The price of copper has fallen heavily, directly impacting workers in the town. JUNIOR KANNAH / AFP
The phone many of you are using to read this article and all those electric vehicles on the roads rely on cobalt, a strategically vital metal that comes from one of the saddest places on ...

Sino-Kenyan Railway Operator Afristar Challenges Allegations in Daily Nation Report

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
The Chinese-Kenyan joint venture company that runs operations for the new Standard Gauge Railway company, Afristar, forcefully rebutted recent allegations published last week in The Daily Nation newspaper that claimed that ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

The Long Arc of Chinese Lending to Africa

The biggest headline from November’s FOCAC meeting was China’s pivot away from infrastructure funding. But like many FOCAC headlines, it needs several asterisks. In the first place, the pivot might actually be away from a particular infrastructure model (massive projects funded with large bilateral Chinese policy bank loans and built by Chinese state-owned enterprises) rather than from infrastructure-building itself.

The larger question is what China is pivoting to. Instead of ...

India Exim Bank CEO: “Why Do We Have to Take on the Chinese” in Africa?

The head of India’s Export-Import Bank brushed away concerns that India is being outdone in Africa and rejected the whole notion that somehow the two Asian giants must compete with one another on the continent. ...

The “Good vs. Bad” Framing of Chinese Development Finance

A picture taken on June 14, 2015 shows Chinese labourers working in Algiers at the construction site of the third largest mosque in the area and the largest in Africa. Algeria is building one of the world's largest mosques which officials say will serve as a buffer against radical Islam and crown the legacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The Djamaa El Djazair mosque is being built facing the picturesque bay of Algiers as part of a complex that will include a one-million book library, a Koranic school and a museum of Islamic art and history. STRINGER / AFP
Friday’s FT article by correspondent Steve Johnson on the merits of Chinese development financing provoked considerable discussion online this weekend about the key issues raised in the story and how the ...

With 62 Million Subscribers in Africa, Chinese-owned Music Streaming Giant Boomplay Now Wants to Go to Europe

Advertisement for Transsion Holdings, parent of the popular Tecno line of phones in Africa, music service Boomplay that is a joint venture with fellow Chinese company Netease and is now the most popular streaming music service in Africa. Photo via Transsion Holdings
Boomplay is the unrivaled champion of Africa’s streaming music market with more than 62 million subscribers across the continent.  The Nigeria-based, Chinese-owned company utterly crushes the competition, especially global market leader ...

Investigation: High-Level Corruption in Zambia Fuels Illegal Timber Trade with China

The Environmental Investigation Agency published a damning report last week that alleged Zambian President Edgar Lungu, his daughter and several high-ranking ministers are all allegedly involved in the illicit trade of rare mukula wood. Mukula is ...

China Emerges as Key Theme in Discussion on How to Create Jobs in Nigeria

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
The NewThink podcast is a new show hosted by two of Washington’s most well-known Africa analysts, Aubrey Hruby from the Atlantic Council and Former Liberian Public Works Minister and current fellow at the Center ...

A New Focus on Youth Unemployment by Chinese Stakeholders in Africa

Job-seekers are seen at a job fair in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dec. 10, 2019. A total of 60 Chinese enterprises operating in South Africa held the job fair in Johannesburg on Tuesday, offering more than 200 job opportunities to local people. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
60 Chinese companies participated in a job fair in Johannesburg on Tuesday organized by the South Africa-China Economic and Trade Association. Apparently, some 238 young people were offered jobs at the event,

As African Leaders Say Don’t Worry, IMF Issues New Warning on Rising Debt Levels Across the Continent

There are conflicting messages emerging about the potential risks associated with Africa’s steadily rising debt levels. Yesterday, the IMF issued a new warning that the amount of debt that African governments now owe has doubled ...

New Data Confirms China’s Transsion Holdings’ Near-Total Dominance of the African Phone Market

Nigerian Afrobeats superstar, Davido posing for ad campaign for Transsion's Tecno line of popular phones. Photo via Tecno.
International Data Corporation released third-quarter African mobile phone market data that revealed near-total dominance by Shenzhen-based Transsion Holdings in both the smartphone and feature phone markets. Overall, African mobile phone growth remained solid with smartphone ...

Kenya’s Embattled SGR Suffers Major Setback as Burundi, DRC Opt for Tanzania Route to Port of Dar es Salaam

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s longheld dream of extending his $4.9 billion Chinese-financed Standard Gauge Railway across East Africa suffered a major setback this week as both Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo both ...

While Jack Ma’s Newfound Interest in Africa is Widely Celebrated, Howard French Isn’t So Thrilled

Former Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has been the rage recently for his recent Netpreneur Competition that took place two weeks ago in Ghana and more broadly for his declared commitment to supporting African technology entrepreneurs. ...

The African Mobile Market Attracts a New Chinese Device Maker

Vivo is the latest Chinese phone maker to set it sights on the growing demand for mid-range devices. Although little known outside of China, Vivo is actually the world’s sixth-largest mobile phone company and well-positioned ...

Six African Leaders Confront IMF Director, Insist that Bretton Woods Institutions Have to Change

Macky Sall (L), the President of Senegal, Kristalina Georgieva (C), the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Amina J. Mohammed (R), the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, during a conference co-organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on sustainable development and debt at the Abdou Diouf de Diamniadio conference centre in Diamniadio, on December 2, 2019. SEYLLOU / AFP
Dr. Kaberuka’s comments on Sunday in Kigali were similar to sentiments expressed in a somewhat confrontational forum that took a few days earlier in Dakar. At a conference on debt sustainability ...

“The Idea That Africa is Drowning in Debt is Nonsensical”

Former President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Chairman of the Global Fund, Dr Donald Kaberuka, speaking at the Kusi Ideas Festival in Kigali, Rwanda.
The former president of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, joined a chorus of African leaders this week to reject accusations that African governments have taken on too much debt and have borrowed excessively ...

Conservation Update: Rhino Horn Trafficking Trial in Malawi | Ivory Sales in China via Japan | China’s Distant Fish Fleet Needs More Transparency

Seized ivory elephant tusks are displayed during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on February 1, 2019. Hong Kong customs officers unveiled a record seizure of pangolin scales on February 1, the latest huge haul to underscore the city's central role in the lucrative and booming illegal wildlife trade. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
Poaching and wildlife conservation issues have largely fallen off the broader China-Africa agenda ever since Beijing outlawed its domestic ivory trade in 2018. Even as Chinese demand for endangered African wildlife products, particularly pangolin, and ...
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