News blog

After the hostage killings in Sudan yesterday, news has been brighter forBeijing on the African continent today. Business dominates with news that Business Unity South Africa has called for an expansion of relations withChina, including further Chinese investment in South Africa. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s acquisition of Standard Bank remains the only significant Chinese investment in South Africa and due to uncertainty over what can be expected of bruised western partners, it is likely that South Africa will look to diversify its international commitments.


There was an interesting article in Business Report which I have included today regarding the EU’s award of its top human rights prize to Chinese dissident Hu Jia. The article goes on to highlight EU hypocrisy regarding its opacity in its attempts to stifle opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. Despite South Africa’s clear alignment to the west, this shows the increasing cultural empathy for China, fostered in African news sources. In a number of other articlesChina has recently been viewed as a role model and saviour in this atmosphere of western philosophical disenchantment.


Elsewhere Chinese involvement in Angola enjoyed the spotlight today as educational programs featured in African news. In the Journal de Angola it was reported that 21 new schools had been completed as a part of a Chinese credit line, while Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has opened a training centre in Angola as part of its bullish growth strategy.


Last night at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London there was a book launch for, ‘China returns to Africa: a rising power and a continent embrace’. This is the third in a line of seminars offered by The Africa Asia Centre, the rest of which are detailed in the events section on this site. The seminar included short talks by each of the authors (Dan Large, Christopher Clapham, Chris Alden, Ricardo Soares de Oliveira & Stephen Chan) and then Q&A section. There was a particularly interesting discussion of the control that Chinese central government has over its Africa policy, with Ricardo de Oliveira pointing out that many of the firms involved in Africa are owned by local rather than central government, and that the central government are not fully aware of all that goes on in their name.


The Sudanese government spokesman in London also gave a defense of Chinese involvement in Africa talking of the country’s generosity and lack of arrogance in its dealings with the continent. He cited oft heard examples of Chinese workers sleeping on thin mattresses by the railways they were building, and sitting on the bear earth to discuss matters with Sudanese policy makers.


Warning over poachers as ivory is sold legally- Independent (UK)


UN allows China and Japan to buy 108 tons in African auctions. Full Story.


Transparency in Europe gets Chinese makeover- Business Report (RSA)


Last week Hans-Gert Poeterring, the president of the European Parliament, awarded the parliament’s top human rights prize to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia. Full Story.


21 more high schools come into operation- Journal de Angola (ANG)


In the academic year 2009, more students can join in high school, with the entry into operation of 21 new institutes, constructed under the second phase of the credit line from China. Full Story.


China oil co breaks ground on Chad, Niger refineries – Engineering News (RSA)


State-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) broke ground for new oil refineries in Chad and neighbouring Niger this week, as the company boosts its ties with resource-rich countries in Africa. Full Story.


Busa woos Chinese investors- Business Report (RSA)


Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has called for a new partnership for economic co-operation between Chinese and South African business in Africa.Full Story.


Huawei continues African expansion with training centre in Angola- Business Report (RSA)


Chinese telecoms equipment company Huawei will open another training centre in Angola as it expects bullish growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s revenue from the region last year grew to $2 billion (R22 billion at yesterday’s exchange rate) from $1.6 billion in the previous year. Full Story,


Emerging markets will pull through- Business Report (RSA)


The current global firestorm probably has many more weeks to run but emerging markets are now too big to be allowed to fail, FNB chief economist Cees Bruggemans said on Tuesday. Full Story.

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