07/12/2012 to 13/12/2012

Top Stories:                                                                                                          

 China in Africa: taking advantage – Financial Times Beyond Brics (GBR)

This article discusses the way in which Chinese apparel exporters have taken advantage of the AGOA agreement to export to the US through Africa. While in some cases these enterprises may not provide much benefit to Africans, this dynamic has played a role in building African manufacturing. Hopefully the US might look to better regulate the degree to which value has been added in Africa in order to qualify for AGOA eligibility.

 Cost of Chinese aid to Malawi – The Sunday Times (MWI)

While Chinese infrastructure providers might provide good quality at a low cost in the short run, one issue is that of tied aid. Chinese concessional loans often include clauses demanding that Chinese contractors be used for construction and maintenance. It’s good to see this Malawian news source interrogating the terms of the deal. 

 Rand Refinery sets sights on Asia for development – Business Day (ZAF)

China Africa investment does go both ways. Some countries’ companies have the capital to invest in building markets in China. South Africa’s Rand Refinery for example is looking to build a gold refinery in China, alongside a local partner.

 CNOOC trains Ugandan employees in China – Daily Monitor (UGA)

Chinese state owned oil firm CNOOC is providing scholarships for Ugandan staff to train in China. This sort of program is common within the oil and gas sector. It’s good to see Chinese firms following this best practice, but the program only has value if training leads to employment of local workers in key roles. 

 Safaricom loosens China’s grip on local contracts with Sh14bn tender – Business Daily (KEN)

A rare example of non-Chinese success in the bidding for a major infrastructure project. Huawei and ZTE have been outbidding European and US firms all over Africa. Interesting to see Ericson get a share of this Safaricom contract in Kenya to lay fibre-optic cable. I wonder whether it was a conscious decision to limit reliance on China.

 China now reaching the same levels of inequality as Johannesburg – SCMP (CHN)

A lot is said about what China has in common with Africa, mainly about shared experiences of imperialism and poverty. Interesting to see this similarity observed in the South China Morning Post, that they also share stark inequality as rich elites live alongside the impoverished and disenfranchised.

Politics                                                                                                                 

One Continent, Two Approaches: The U.S. and China in Africa – Centre for America Progress (USA)
14/12/2012
The evolution of Beijing’s economic and political relationships with countries across Africa is part of China’s increasing stature as a global actor. But increased Chinese trade and investment in Africa has brought increased criticism that the relationships being cultivated are transactional, extractive, unsustainable, and indifferent to values such as good governance and human rights.

Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun Holds Talks with Algerian Minister Delegate Abdelkader Messahel – FOCAC
13/12/2012
On December 10, 2012, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun held talks with visiting Algerian Minister Delegate Abdelkader Messahel. Zhai made positive comments on China-Algeria strategic cooperative relations, saying that the development of relations between the two countries has great potential and broad prospects.

China in Africa: taking advantage – Financial Times Beyond Brics (GBR)
13/12/2012
US-Africa trade received a welcome boost with the signing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) back in May 2000, which enabled African countries to export over 4,000 products, including apparel, quota-free and duty-free to the US. Geared to support the integration of African countries into global markets, AGOA has enjoyed cross-party support in US legislature that is often divided, especially on trade.

China-Mozambique Relations (in Portuguese) – Amb. David Shinn
08/12/2012
The Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Economicos (IESE) and South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) collaborated to produce an edited monograph titled A Mamba e o Dragao: Relacoes Mocambique-China em Perspectiva that looks at various aspects of China-Mozambique relations, including investment, banking, infrastructure, construction, agriculture, technology transfer and the Chinese presence in Mozambique.

Sino-Africa relations after change of guard at China People’s Congress – The Standard (KEN)
08/12/2012
That China takes a keen interest in Africa’s was best profiled during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in Beijing between November 8th and 14th this year. At this critical moment of power exchange in China, it will be helpful to forecast more sharply and chart the way towards a greater decade ahead for both Africa and China.

The Chinese are following the Ghana Elections – Ghana Business News (GHN)
08/12/2012
As the election results continue to trickle in, people around the world are keenly following the happenings in Ghana. People in China are also keeping an eye on the elections, and they are doing so by visiting ghanabusinessnews.com.

Africa: China the lender of choice – Financial Mail Beyond Brics (GBR)
07/12/2012
When it comes to loans, Africa has a clear preference: lots from China, a little less from the World Bank please.
According to data compiled by rating agency Fitch, loans from China’s Exim bank to Africa in 2011 were double that of the World Bank, cementing a trend which started around 2005.

China’s African Water Scramble – Huffington Post (USA) 
07/12/2012
“He who rides the sea of the Nile must have sails woven of patience.” So noted British novelist William Golding a century ago; and his saying has clearly taken root in Beijing today. Under the radar of the Western world, China has patiently established its influence among Africa’s emerging powerhouses, setting its sights on the continent’s most contested resource: The Nile River.

Agriculture                                                                                                           

DfID, China to improve farming in Africa – The East African (KEN)
08/12/2012
Africa will benefit from a four-year joint programme between Britain and China aimed at improving agricultural production on the continent. Britain’s Department for International Development (Dfid) is investing $15.9 million to facilitate transfer of agricultural technology, with China providing expertise. The first pilot projects will be set up in Uganda and Malawi.

Finance and Banking                                                                                           

Nigeria: Chinese Investment to Hit U.S.$10 Billion – FOCAC
11/12/2012
The Chinese accumulated investment in Nigeria is expected to exceed $10 billion by the end of the year, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Deng Boqing, has said.

Chinese Investments in Africa – CRI (CHN)
11/12/2012
China and Africa have enjoyed intimate political and economic relations ever since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As China rises economically, it has pledged billions of dollars in investments to Africa, helping to beef up infrastructure, which is key to Africa’s development, open up new factories to create jobs, and drum up new business to make life easier for the local people.

African growth if China slows – Reuters
11/12/2012
The apparent turnaround in Africa’s fortunes over the past decade has been attributed to the rise of China and its insatiable appetite for African commodities. So African policymakers, like those everywhere, will have been relieved by the recent uptick in Chinese economic data.

China makes $15b direct investment in Africa – Statement – Ghana Business News (GHN)
09/12/2012
Statistics show that about 18,000 Chinese companies have invested overseas, mainly in the developing world. By the end of 2011, China has executed more than 2,200 projects for less-developed countries to the benefit of local people.

Cost of Chinese aid to Malawi – The Sunday Times (MWI)
09/12/2012
The generosity of the Chinese to Malawi poverty is not without long term implications as the many infrastructural projects they are currently funding will require exclusive maintenance close to the time the taxpayer in the country shall have begun to service the hefty concessional loans.

Mining and Metals                                                                                                

Palabora sale to China-led consortium seen as part of SA’s steel ambitions – Engineering News (ZAF)
11/12/2012
Mining majors Rio Tinto and Anglo American announced on Tuesday that they would sell a 74.5% shareholding in the Palabora Mining Company to a consortium of South African and Chinese entities in a deal valuing the JSE-listed copper and magnetite producer at R5.31-billion.

Rand Refinery sets sights on Asia for development – Business Day (ZAF)
10/12/2012
THE world’s biggest gold refiner, South Africa’s Rand Refinery, is considering setting up a refining plant in China within two to three years, joining hands with a local partner on its first such plant abroad, a top executive said on Friday.

Telecommunications                                                                                            

Safaricom loosens China’s grip on local contracts with Sh14bn tender – Business Daily (KEN)
06/12/2012
Safaricom has loosened the dominance of Chinese operators in Kenya’s telecom infrastructure market after awarding Huawei and Ericsson a contract to build a 2,400 kilometre fibre optic cable.

Trade                                                                                                                    

China’s Tops in South African Trade – Inter Press Service
11/12/2012
South Africa has experienced a significant shift in trade with a new emphasis on links with developing nations, at the expense of traditional partners in the developed world, according to a leading South African economist.

China trade surplus falls sharply – Business Report (ZAF)
10/12/2012
China’s monthly trade surplus fell to $19.6 billion in November, down 38.6 percent from October, the government said Monday as weak overseas demand weighed on the world’s second-largest economy.The national customs bureau said China’s November exports rose 2.9 percent year-on-year to $179.4 billion, while imports were flat at $159.8 billion.

Mozambique-China Trade Continues to Grow – AIM (MOZ)
09/12/2012
Trade between Mozambique and China was worth 1.1 billion US dollars between January and October this year, according to Cao Jiachang, the deputy general director of the Africa and West Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Trade Ministry.

Transport and Infrastructure                                                                                 

Kenya Airways inks code share deal with China Eastern Airlines – Global Times (CHN)
11/12/2012
Kenya Airways on Monday announced its expansion into China through code share agreement signed with China Eastern Airlines, a partnership that will boost the national carrier’s expansion into the Far East.

Kenya Airways deepens presence in Asia with pact – Business Daily (KEN)
10/12/2012
Kenya Airways has deepened its presence in Asia with the signing of a flight deal with China Eastern Airlines (CEA), the second such agreement with airlines in the continent in the past one month.

Africa in China                                                                                                     

CNOOC trains Ugandan employees in China – Daily Monitor (UGA)
07/12/2012
In an effort to assist its employees meet their career development needs and bridge the human resource gap in the local oil and gas sector, CNOOC Uganda Limited has started conducting hands-on training for its Ugandan staff.

Media                                                                                                                   

China Daily launches Africa Weekly edition – China Daily (CHN)
14/12/0212
China Daily launches its Africa edition, the first English-language newspaper published in Africa by a Chinese media enterprise, on Dec 14. China Daily Africa Weekly marks a significant milestone in the overseas development of China Daily and joins the paper’s international stable of publications in the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific as well as Hong Kong.

Chinese firm to launch Africa weekly on Friday – Daily Nation (KEN)
12/12/2012
A leading Chinese newspaper will on Friday launch a weekly covering Africa.
The China Daily announced that the English language newspaper will be published in Nairobi.

Chinese media in Africa – IIED 
11/12/2012
Westerners’ eager embrace of this image reflects much more than a recognition of the dragon’s place in Chinese culture, history, and cosmology. Dragons are deeply established in both Chinese and Western imaginative traditions, but in intrinsically different forms. The Chinese associate dragons with goodness, fortune, and might, while in the West dragons are sinister, threatening, and unnatural.

Society                                                                                                                 

China now reaching the same levels of inequality as Johannesburg – SCMP (CHN)
11/12/2012
The Johannesburg suburb of Sandton is a real eye-opener. Known among property agents as “Africa’s richest square mile”, Sandton is the office location of choice for multinational investment banks and brokerages – thanks, in part, to its heavy security.