The China Africa Project

The China Africa Project


China in Africa



[AUDIO] What Lessons Can Africa Draw From China in Urban Transportation?

Jul 11, 2019


Africa is urbanizing faster than any region in the world. Today, an estimated 472 million Africans live in cities and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years, according to research by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. That means governments have to start to build massive amounts of infrastructure now […]

[AUDIO] “The Belt and Road Is a Chinese Plan to Build a New World Order”

Jul 4, 2019


China’s hugely ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is often described as being more of an idea than an actual policy. Depending on whom you speak with, BRI is characterized as an economic plan to outsource China’s excess domestic industrial output. Other people, notably those in Washington, describe it in more political terms. The bottom […]

[AUDIO] Kenya Tribunal Blocks Chinese-Financed Coal Power Plant

Jun 27, 2019


Kenya’s National Environmental Tribunal ruled this week that the government and its industry-allies failed to submit a proper environmental impact assessment to build a coal power on Lamu island. The $2 billion plant, with more than half of the financing coming from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), was projected to produce 1,050 […]

[AUDIO] China, Africa, and the Future of the Internet

Jun 23, 2019


Blessed with generous government-backed loans and low-cost, high-quality equipment, Chinese technology companies have transformed African telecommunications. Millions can now connect for voice and data using devices made by Tecno, Huawei, and ZTE among countless others. Similarly, in media, private companies like StarTimes and state-backed propaganda outlets like CGTN now reach tens of millions of consumers […]

[AUDIO] Deborah Brautigam: No Evidence of Chinese Debt Traps in Africa

Jun 15, 2019


Johns Hopkins University professor and director of the China-Africa Research Initiative in Washington, D.C., Deborah Brautigam, joins Eric & Cobus this week to discuss accusations that China engages in so-called “debt trap diplomacy.” The “debt trap” narrative, also commonly referred to as “predatory lending,” states that China uses excessive lending to developing countries knowing full […]

[AUDIO] China’s Trade With Africa Is up, but That’s Not Necessarily a Good Thing

Jun 7, 2019


Representatives from 53 African countries are expected to attend the inaugural China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo that will take place in Changsha, capital of the south-central province of Hunan, from June 27-29. Those African officials attending the expo will no doubt have one over-riding objective: sell more stuff to China. At first glance, China-Africa trade looks healthy. Trade […]

[AUDIO] Is South America Becoming China’s “New Africa?”

May 31, 2019


At first glance, China’s engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) looks a lot like what it’s doing in Africa. Just as China surpassed Europe as Africa’s largest trading partner, China has similarly overtaken the U.S. as LAC’s largest export market. While China’s trade with Africa dipped significantly from 2014 through 2017, it’s a […]

[AUDIO] Like it or Not, Huawei is the Indispensable Tech Company in Africa

May 24, 2019


[EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode was recorded before the United States government announced that it would blacklist Huawei and blocked the company from using Google’s Android operating system and other apps.] It is hard to overstate Huawei’s singular importance in the development of Africa’s information technology sector. Over the past ten years the company, often armed […]

[AUDIO] How Chinese Traders Both Help and Hurt Local Merchants in Ghana

May 17, 2019


It’s well documented that a lot of people in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa resent the growing Chinese migrant presence, both in terms of the people who come and the Chinese way of doing business that is often culturally out of sync with local customs. Those perceptions, however, can be misleading. While an influx of […]

[STUDENT xCHANGE] The Impact of Rising Tourism on Kenya’s Traditional Handicrafts Sector

May 16, 2019


The following article was written by Ding Peixuan, 21, an English major at Northwest University in Xi’an, China. This article was produced in partnership with China House for the CAP Student xChange. According to the “Business Daily” report, “Kenya 2018 Tourism Performance Report” shows that in 2018, the number of people entering the Jomo Kenyatta […]

[AUDIO] Analyst Explains Why China’s “Debt Trap Diplomacy”​ Critics Are Wrong

May 13, 2019


China’s critics, led largely by the United States, are determined to warn developing countries about the risks of borrowing too much money from Beijing. They contend China will use these loans to financially entrap economically vulnerable countries as part of a broader effort to exert political influence and control. Mark Akpaninyie does not agree. The former […]

[AUDIO] The Belt & Road Initiative: Bold Economic Agenda or Chinese Political Ploy?

May 4, 2019


In the U.S. and many parts of Europe, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is often seen as “Trojan Horse” where Beijing uses the lure of trade and investment to discretely extend its political influence around the world. Not surprisingly, in China, those U.S. and European fears are quickly dismissed. Understanding these different perceptions is […]

[AUDIO] Confused About China’s Belt & Road Agenda? You’re Not Alone

Apr 27, 2019


37 foreign heads of state came to Beijing this week to take part in the second Belt and Road summit hosted by Chinese president Xi Jinping. Some leaders like Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta came with expectations to sign huge infrastructure loan deals, while others, including Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed, asked for debt relief. But […]

[AUDIO] China’s Got a Trust Problem in Africa

Apr 20, 2019


Throughout the history of China’s engagement in Africa, even today, Beijing has spent most of its time and resources to foster ties with elites across the continent. And it’s done a remarkable job. Political leaders across Africa have built strong relationships with their counterparts in China, establishing powerful bonds built on hard-earned trust and mutual […]

[AUDIO] Gabon Takes Action Against Chinese Logging Company Following Damning Report

Apr 13, 2019


The Gabon government has suspended the logging license at two sites run by a large, privately-owned Chinese logging company that allegedly engaged in widespread illegal activities, according to a report by Agence France Presse. The Dejia Group was singled out last month in a damning report by the U.S.-arm of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) […]

[AUDIO] A Conservative American View on U.S.-China-Africa Relations

Apr 7, 2019


There is a lot of confusion in some parts of the world, including Africa, as to what role the United States wants to play in the current international order. On the one hand, institutions like the State Department, Pentagon, and USAID maintain that Washington aims to continue its leadership role in promoting open markets, free […]

[AUDIO] Chinese and Africans are Having Totally Different Conversations About Their Relationship

Mar 29, 2019


In this week’s episode, Effy Zhang, a Beijing-based global affairs reporter for the privately-run financial news outlet Caixin, joins Eric & Cobus to talk about how she covers China-Africa issues for her readers in China. It’s interesting to compare Chinese news coverage from that African and international reports that are often starkly different from one […]

[AUDIO] A Rare Insider’s View of the China-Africa Minerals Trade

Mar 22, 2019


China-Africa trade rebounded in 2018 after several years of steady declines. Trade between the two regions last year increased by nearly 20% to $204 billion, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The bulk of Africa’s exports to China is raw materials, namely oil ($46.3 billion), minerals ($37.04 billion) and timber ($13 billion). While the […]

[AUDIO] New Generation of Vloggers Aims to Tell a Different China-Africa Story

Mar 16, 2019


When Shanghai-native Zhao Huiling was 12, her family moved from China to Ghana where she lived until she was 18 years old. When she came back to China as a young adult, she quickly became frustrated with the stereotypes of Africa that are widely disseminated in Chinese popular culture. Deeply embedded caricatures of Africa and […]

[AUDIO] The Beginner’s Guide to China-Africa Relations

Mar 8, 2019


While there are a growing number of books that explore the China-Africa relationship, most are written either by scholars or journalists who are experts in the field and are written in a style that is often inaccessible for people new to this subject. Beijing-based author and social entrepreneur Lina Getachew Ayenew saw this as the […]

Fintech is Growing Fast in Kenya, Attracting New Interest from Chinese Investors

Mar 6, 2019


By Chen Liang, A China House Fellow Editor’s Note: This article was provided to the China Africa Project through a partnership with China House, an independent organization that provides international educational opportunities for Chinese high school and university students to explore Chinese engagement in Africa and other developing regions. This article was only lightly edited […]

[AUDIO] South Africa’s Rapid Rise to Become China’s Most Important African Relationship

Mar 5, 2019


25 years ago, China and South Africa were largely estranged from one another. The two countries didn’t even recognize each other recognize each other as the former apartheid government in Pretoria maintained diplomatic ties with China’s bitter rival in Taiwan. Back then it would have been inconceivable that China would become South Africa’s largest trading […]

“A Mixture of Dragons and Fish”: The Chinese Business Community in Ethiopia

Feb 26, 2019


By Yu Jiatong, A China House Student Fellow Editor’s Note: This article was provided to the China Africa Project through a partnership with China House, an independent organization that provides international educational opportunities for Chinese high school students. This article was only lightly edited and does not reflect the views or opinions of The China […]

[AUDIO] What’s it Like for Young African Professionals to Work in China?

Feb 23, 2019


The number of African university students in China has exploded over the past twenty years, surging from just under 2,000 in 2003 to almost 50,000 today. In fact, China is now second only to France as a destination for African students. But what happens to these students after graduation? Their visas typically require them to […]