Weekly news

03/11/2012 to 09/11/2012

Top Stories:                                                                                                          

 Political storm over Chinese gas contracts – Africa-Asia Confidential

Fascinating article on the lead up to the Presidential elections in Ghana in December 2012. AAC describe how Chinese investment in the country has been used to bolster government chances through financing of major projects, and by the opposition as an example of the government’s poor judgement in allowing Chinese interests to trump Ghanaian. These two arguments could be minimally adapted to explain almost all the wildly positive and wildly negative stories written about China in the African media.

 “The End of Cheap Chinese Labor” –  Chris Blattman

Very brief blog pointing out that Chinese wages are rising, and that its industries may look to Africa for a new cheap labour force.

 African land grab is a myth, says China expert – City Wire

She’s said it before and she’ll say it again. The Chinese African land grab is somewhat of a myth. In the article there’s also this very nice summary of the difference between the west and China’s attitudes, ‘In the west, the belief is our aid is about altruism. We want to save Africa and doing what is right for them by controlling them through governance. The Chinese views it very differently, they believe it is about mutual benefit, diplomacy and soft power.’

 Beijing spells out three-year plan to help AU – Business Live (ZAF)

Interesting clues as to China’s interests in Africa coming out of the Party Congress. Good summary here of some of the headline investment and trade numbers and what’s where China’s interests lie.

 China’s economic slowdown could hurt Africa’s prospects – The Observer (UGA)

Interesting to see a Ugandan news site reporting the fears that the Chinese slow down my affect Africa, based on comment from Jose Antonio Ocampo and Joseph Stiglitz. 

 Nigeria, China’s Sinohydro Sign Accord for Power Plant – Bloomberg

Plans afoot to build a 3,050- megawatt hydropower plant in Nigeria planned for completion by 2014.

Politics                                                                                                                 

Political storm over Chinese gas contracts – Africa-Asia Confidential 
09/11/2012
Leading opposition presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party are stepping up criticism about the financing of Chinese projects in the energy and telecommunications sector.

Boost for Sino-African ties – FOCAC (CHN)
09/11/2012
China’s new leadership, to be chosen by the 18th National Congress of the CPC, will almost certainly accelerate the pace of comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa, says an article in Nigerian newspaper Vanguard.

China takes tentative steps toward greater role in world diplomacy with Syria peace plan- Washington Post (USA)
09/11/2012
China’s four-point plan for Syria is a rare foray into international mediation for the rising power, a sign that Beijing’s increasingly global economic interests can trump its traditional hands-off diplomacy.

China in Africa: A threat to the West? – Interactive Investor (GBR)
08/11/2012
It seems that for the West, the meteoric rise of China in Africa has raised questions about Europe and America’s ability to restructure the economic, political and social life of the continent.

Somali Writer Takes Aim at Wahhabi Influence in Somalia – Amb David Shinn
08/11/2012
A Somali analyst, Abdul Ghelleh, takes direct aim at the harmful Wahhabi influence in Somalia in a 8 November 2012 piece in Pambazuka News. He draws parallels with the situation in northern Mali and northern Nigeria.

China and Africa Embrace a Brighter Future – Sudan Vision (SUD)
07/11/2012
China has closed relations with Africa continent, these relations are old and deep-rooted in all fields, the two sides have mutual interests, so they were hard together in order to poise an embrace a brighter future for economic cooperation and trade.

China in Africa: Who benefits? – Interactive Investor (GBR)
06/11/2012
As Chinese investment in Africa increases, the emergence of small-scale Chinese retailers threatens to undermine existing local shops. In Huambo, Angola, Chinese shops have increased ten-fold, from two in 2002 to over 20 in 2006. In Oshikango, Namibia, the first Chinese shop was opened in 1999; by 2006, there were 75.

China-Madagascar cooperation makes remarkable impact: Chinese ambassador – FOCAC (CHN)
06/11/2012
Friendly cooperation between China and Madagascar has been growing and has made remarkable impact, Chinese Ambassador to Madagascar Shen Yongxiang told Xinhua on Monday.

U.S Moves to Beat China in EAC – The Star (KEN)
03/11/2012
The US has crafted a four-pronged approach to recharge its business relationship with the East African region in the face of stiff competition from China and other emerging Asian giants.

How Africa Can Benefit From Its Growing Relationship With China – Ventures Africa
03/11/2012
In recent times, China’s economic presence in Africa has become one of the continent’s economic biggest stories especially with its contribution in trade and infrastructure building. China’s growing presence in Africa is part of a rapidly changing reality that presents enormous opportunity.

Lifelong Bond with Africa: memories and experiences of Africa by Mr. Wei Jianguo, Former Vice Minister of MOFCOM – FOCAC (CHN)
02/11/2012
It is indeed hard to summarize sufficiently Mr. Wei Jianguo’s working experiences in Africa in one word, with so many titles as former Vice Minister of MOFCOM, Secretary-general of China Center for International Economic Exchanges and diplomat of Chinese Embassy in Africa, and etc. However, it may be most appropriate to address him as an “Africa expert” given his 37 years of working experiences in the economic and trade cooperation with Africa.

How to uphold and expand common interests of china and Africa under new circumstances – FOCAC (CHN)
02/11/2012
Address by DG LU Shaye,  the Director General of the Department of the African Affairs of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, at the Second China-Africa Think Tank Forum, 12 October, 2012 Addis Ababa

Agriculture                                                                                                           

African land grab is a myth, says China expert – City Wire
09/11/2012
Chinese land grabs in Africa are a media myth, the country’s involvement across the continent is nowhere near as dominant as reports suggest, according to regional expert Professor Deborah Brautigam.

China UnionPay expands online payment service in Mauritius – FOCAC (CHN)
07/11/2012
China UnionPay (CUP), the country’s largest bank card services provider, said Friday that CUP bank cards can be accepted for online payments through the State Bank of Mauritius (SBM), further consolidating its presence in Africa.

Malaysian firm targets 5,000 stevia farmers in two years – Business Daily (KEN)
06/11/2012
A Malaysian company has set a target of contracting 5,000 farmers in the next two years to grow stevia crop, a natural sweetener that is used as an additive by global food processing firms such as Coca cola, Pepsi and Nestle.

Finance and Banking                                                                                           

Chinese ‘investment’ retrogressive – Zimbabwe Independent (ZWE)
09/11/2012
IN her work, Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What it Means for Us, renowned economist Dambisa Moyo describes China as Africa and other emerging markets’ most workable trading partner.

Equity eyes Asia travellers with China card deal – Business Daily (KEN)
08/11/2012
Equity Bank has partnered with Chinese electronic card provider UnionPay in a deal that will see part of the state-backed company’s 3.2 billion customers make transactions through the lender’s regional ATMs.

Beijing spells out three-year plan to help AU – Business Live (ZAF)
08/11/2012
China wants its blossoming relationship with Africa to be long-lasting and the ruling Communist Party’s incoming leadership is committed to supporting the African Union, senior Chinese officials said on Wednesday.

Emerging economies now turn attention to China – Business Day (ZAF)
08/11/2012
NOW that the US elections have come and gone, the next point of focus for emerging market economies including SA is the Chinese Communist Party’s electoral conference. The imminent leadership change in the world’s second-biggest economy is more important to the health of the nuts and bolts of the real economy, while the US presidential contest matters more to stock markets and other asset classes.

China helps recast Africa in global economy – Business Day (ZAF)
07/11/2012
CHINA’s resurgent interest in Africa has spawned a bewildering variety of worldwide reaction. The response of the West has generally been negative and alarmist. Surprisingly, some in Africa have also uncritically embraced these responses.

China’s economic slowdown could hurt Africa’s prospects – The Observer (UGA)
06/11/2012
Pay attention to what’s going on in China. As one of the few nations that have filled the role of the world’s paymaster over the last four years of intense global financial pain, Asia’s biggest economy is starting to experience its own share of economic problems.

African countries now making more demands on Chinese investors – Engineering News (ZAF)
02/11/2012
frican countries are beginning to demand more from Chinese investors, says international law firm Norton Rose banking and finance partner Milton Osborn. These demands come in numerous forms, says Milton, adding that China allocated an extra $20-billion in July this year for investment in Africa over the next three years.

Mining and Metals                                                                                                

China’s CGNPC says Namibia uranium mine to be operating by end-2015 – Reuters
06/11/2012
One of the world’s biggest uranium mines will begin operating in Namibia by the end of 2015, its owner, China Guangdong Nuclear PowerCorp (CGNPC), said on Tuesday.
CGNPC gained control of the Husab mine in southern Africa earlier this year after taking over Kalahari Minerals and Extract Resources in a deal worth about $2.3 billion.

China’s State Grid interested in joining Desertec – Reuters
05/11/2012
The Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported earlier that SGCC was interested in joining the project, without giving its sources.
Desertec, a consortium set up in 2009, envisages Europe importing up to a fifth of its electricity from solar and wind parks in North Africa and the Middle East by 2050.

Oil and Energy                                                                                                     

Nigeria, China’s Sinohydro Sign Accord for Power Plant – Bloomberg
07/11/2012
Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Sinohydro Corp. to build a 3,050- megawatt hydropower plant on the West African nation’s eastern Mambila Plateau, Power Minister of State Zainab Kuchi said.

Trade                                                                                                                    

Western countries should stop hypocrisy on China-Africa trade deals – IPP Media (TZA)
07/11/2012
In our Saturday edition, we published a lead story about President Jakaya Kikwete, in which he strongly defended the foreign direct investments, massive loans and aid from China, saying Tanzania would continue to attract more investors from the Asian superpower despite the negative image painted by the Western media on its business deals in Africa.

China grants Angola a discount – TimesLive (ZAF)
01/11/2012
China has granted a 95 percent tariff discount to exports coming from oil-rich Angola, officials said, after the signing of a new round of trade deals. Previously Angola exports entered China with a 65 percent discount from normal tariff rates.

Transport and Infrastructure                                                                                 

Chinese firm sets up railway technology training center in Nigeria – FOCAC (CHN)
06/11/2012
The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Monday declared open its railway technology training center mainly set up to train local artisans and technicians on how to manage the Nigerian construction industry.

Kibaki to officially open Sh30bn Thika superhighway – Daily Nation (KEN)
05/11/2012
The Thika Super Highway is now complete, and President Kibaki is set to open it officially on Friday.
But the road — by all standards an engineering showpiece — overshot its budget by Sh4 billion and is eight months behind schedule.

Long live China-Africa! – China Daily (CHN)
05/11/2012
China has made great contributions to the development of Africa. China is now building roads, rails, schools, hospitals and much of Africa’s much-needed infrastructure and does not interfere in our politics. Chinese are welcome in Africa, as they are good and treat us as equals.

EAC, China Hold Talks On Trade, Infrastructure – The New Times (UGA)
02/11/2012
A 30-member business delegation led by a Deputy Director General in China’s Ministry of Commerce, Cao Jiachang, on Wednesday held discussions on the promotion of trade, investment and infrastructure development with East African Community.

Society                                                                                                                 

“The End of Cheap Chinese Labor” –  Chris Blattman
08/11/2012
Each time I hear shouts of sweatshops, I hear louder shouts from bosses about rising wages. These are not wholly inconsistent stroies but nor are they wholly consistent. And one story has hard numbers.

Chinese exploiting Zim labour: Report – Financial Gazette (ZWE)
08/11/2012
Zimbabweans providing cheap labour in the fast-growing Chinese mines bear the brunt of extremely harsh conditions and low wages, a Johannesburg-based advocacy group, Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) reveals in its research, the first such report detailing China’s labour practices in the country.

Africa becomes largest Chinese medicine export market – FOCAC (CHN)
07/11/2012
Africa has become the largest export market for medicine made by China and one of the fastest-growing markets for Chinese medical products, a senior medical official said on Saturday at an ongoing import-export fair in south China’s Guangdong Province.

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