Weekly news

News this week: 23/02/2013 to 01/03/2013

Top Stories:                      

  China Letter Urges Political Reforms – This Day (NGA)

CAN comment: Interesting to see this BBC article reproduced in the Nigerian press. The is article about internal pressures for political reform in China. African media often discuss whether the Chinese model is applicable to Africa. This Day clearly feels that the article will be of interest to its readership.

 Cape Verde and China: Win-win cooperation – China Daily (CHN)

CAN comment: I thought it would be interesting to include this article this week about Cape Verde. There are fairly frequent articles like this in the Chinese press talking up the relationship between China and an African country, and its suitability as an investment destination. All part of the soft power charm offensive.

 Zambia and Botswana Push Back Against the Chinese – China Africa Project

CAN comment: Interesting article and podcast from the China Africa Project exploring a bad week for China in Africa. As I highlighted in last week’s monitor the Collum coal mine has been taken over from its Chinese owners by the Zambian government. Also Botswana’s president Ian Khama criticised Chinese construction firms in the country.

 African States Should Control Chinese Arms – The Star (KEN)

CAN comment: Unusual article in the Kenyan press criticising the extent of Chinese arms exports to Africa. While this has been a long term reality and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, rates China as the largest arms supplier to sub-Saharan Africa, it is rarely reported negatively in the African press.

 China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts – FOCAC

CAN comment: Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan pledges in this article to support Kenya in attempts to protect wildlife. At the same time he denies recent claims from US and UK press that China is driving the global illegal wildlife trade. He points to the tough penalties imposed by China on ivory smugglers as well as new measures providing security equipment, training and infrastructure development, as evidence of China’s action in this area.

 Chinese, Africa’s new language of choice? – Africa Report

CAN comment: Clarence Makoni, the founder of the Cendel Language Bridge, a private company that provides translations, interpretation and foreign language instruction said, “If you look at the rate at which the Chinese are coming into this country, you do not need to be a prophet to tell who is going to be the most significant employer in a few years to come.”

Politics                                                                                                                 

China keen to cooperate with West in Africa – FOCAC
01/03/2013
China is open to trilateral cooperation with the West and the international community in Africa, based on Africa’s consent, to enhance local development, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday.

Cape Verde and China: Win-win cooperation – China Daily (CHN)
01/03/2013
One of the most stable countries in Africa, Cape Verde is the small country that is thinking big. An ambitious archipelago of 10 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde blends political,social and economic stability with modern, transparent and efficient business-friendly legal and regulatory frameworks and is attracting substantial foreign direct investment.

China refutes colonialism claims in Africa – FOCAC
01/03/2013
Lu Shaye, director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of African Affairs, on Wednesday exchanged views with people.com.cn readers on China’s diplomacy in 2011 and talked about China’s relationship with Africa.

Exhibition highlights China-S. Africa relations – Xinhuanet (CHN)
27/02/2013
An acclaimed exhibition Making Way by contemporary artists based in Johannesburg, South Africa and China, which features China as an economic power house and its relations with the African continent, is running at the Standard Bank Gallery, in Johannesburg, South Africa until March 28.

China Letter Urges Political Reforms – This Day (NGA)
26/02/2013
Some of China’s most prominent scholars, journalists and activists have released an open letter urging leaders to implement political reforms, for the second time in three months. More than 100 people signed the open letter urging Beijing to ratify an international human rights treaty.

China-Uganda friendship association launched – Africa Investor
26/02/2013
The Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has hailed relations between China and Uganda and called upon Ugandan business persons, academicians and cultural entities to take advantage of. Ssekandi said that China was among the first countries to recognize Uganda as a sovereign State just three days after attaining her independence from the British becoming Uganda’s friend and ally.

Zambia and Botswana Push Back Against the Chinese – China Africa Project
25/02/2013
If you are curious as to what a bad week for China’s diplomatic agenda in Africa looks like, then last week would be it. First, the Zambian government announced that it had finally had enough of the allegations of labor abuses and sub-standard working conditions at the Collum mine and declared that it will assume control of the controversial mine from its private Chinese owners.

Visiting Chinese commerce minister signs agreements with Zimbabwe – FOCAC
24/02/2013
Visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming on Friday signed four agreements with the Zimbabwe government in a move to further cement bilateral relations. The agreements were a 60 million yuan (about 10 million U. S. dollars) interest-free loan for Zimbabwe to purchase road equipment for rural district councils, food donation, 2 million dollars worth of agricultural equipment and a donation of an outside broadcasting van for the national broadcaster.

What the Policy of NonIntervention Adds to the Western Development Dilemma –  Meles Zenawi (ETH)
24/02/2013
Chinese vs. Western Development Model in Africa
PRAXIS: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security published in 2012 an article titled “China in Africa: What the Policy of Nonintervention Adds to the Western Development Dilemma.” The author is Madison Condon, a joint J.D./MALD candidate between Harvard Law School and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

China keen to be part of African dream – China Daily (CHN)
22/02/2013
When Chinese workers built the Tazara Railway connecting Tanzania and Zambia 40 years ago, people in those countries gained greater freedom of movement, and the link helped establish a larger market that provided a bulwark against the apartheid states of South Africa and Namibia.

New Challenges for China-Africa Ties – Amb. David Shinn
22/02/2013
It argued that attention is shifting from alleged East-West ideological competition to the practical challenges and opportunities Africa faces in engaging at multiple levels with a major “new” partner.  Although state-to-state ties remain the most important, the activities of Chinese and African provincial and local governments, private firms, and other non-state actors including the Chinese media are gaining in salience.

Finance and Banking                                                                                           

Tanzanian Investment to Grow 10% in 2013 With Help of Chinese – Business Week
01/03/2013
Tanzania expects foreign direct investment to grow 10 percent this year from $13 billion in 2012 after China replaced the U.S. as the fourth-largest investor in the East African nation’s economy.

China, Africa and Foreign Direct Investment – Amb. David Shinn 
28/02/2013
A number of us have struggled for years trying to determine the amount of China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. China’s Ministry of Commerce regularly publishes a total cumulative figure for FDI in Africa. In 2012, Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, stated that as of the end of 2011 China’s cumulative FDI in Africa “exceeded $14.7 billion, up 60 percent from 2009.”

China can transform Africa – CNN International
28/02/2013
Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo is an outspoken critic of international aid, arguing for years that foreign handouts stifle Africa’s development, perpetuate corruption and hinder the continent’s growth.

How could Africa use China to spur economic development? – Financial Times (GBR)
21/02/2013
Which is more probable: Africa becomes a virtual international province of China, the main source of its sub-soil assets, and the major component of China’s strategy for its own domestic stability; or China becomes a way African nations upgrade their economies and integrate into the global value chain for manufacturing. The answer lies in the demographics of China, and what African nations decide to do next.

Mining and Metals                                                                                                

China International Fund & Zimbabwe’s Diamonds – China in Africa: The Real Story
26/02/2013
South African journalist Khadija Sharife’s article “Disappearing Diamonds” shines a spotlight on the links between the notorious Hong Kong company known as China International Fund (aka the 88 Queensway Group headed by Sam Pa) and the exploitative tragedy of the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe. Copiously documented and a fascinating, detailed read.

China’s interest in Africa picking up as its economy recovers – Mining Weekly (ZAF)
22/02/2013
The year 2011 saw a staggering increase in Chinese mining investments in Africa. Whereas these had totalled some $1.5-billion at the end of 2010, by the conclusion of 2011 the figure had rocketed to $15.6-billion. Africa has become the site of almost 75% of Chinese foreign mining investment.

Oil and Energy                                                                                                     

Kenya Power seeks Sh29bn loan for transmission lines – Business Daily (KEN)
25/02/2013
Electricity distributor Kenya Power is negotiating a Sh29.3 billion loan from the Chinese government to finance the conversion of its overhead cables to underground lines in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa.

Trade                                                                                                                    

China, Africa enjoy mutual benefits in exchanges: experts – Shanghai Daily (CHN)
28/02/2013
China-Africa relations are an excellent illustration of changes that happen in the world economy and in world politics where both players are benefiting from their cooperation, experts have told Xinhua.

Tanzania-China trade reaches USD2.15bn – IPP Media (TZA)
28/02/2013
Trade between China and Tanzania has been increasing steadily in recent years.
In 2011, the total trade volume between the two countries reached USD 2.15bn, a 30 per cent increase compared to 2010.

South Africa promotes wine, fruit exports to China, Africa – Xinhuanet (CHN)
23/02/2013
The Western Cape Provincial Government, anticipating significant job losses following the recent farm worker strikes and unrest, is trying to promote the province’s wine and fruit in new markets such as China and Africa, Premier Helen Zille said on Friday in her State of the Province address.

Transport and Infrastructure                                                                                 

Mozambican subsidiary of Chinese group to develop logistics systems – Club of Mozambique (MOZ)
28/02/2013
A project of sun Line Mozambique for the Manga Mugassa Economic Area, in the Mozambican city of Beira, has been approved by the Office for Economic Areas with Accelerated Development (Gazeda), the Mozambican press reported.

Kenya lauds Chinese investment in hotel industry – FOCAC
24/02/2013
Kenya has lauded Chinese investment in the hotel industry, stating that it would increase bed occupancy especially at this time when the country is experiencing a revamp in the tourism industry. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Ruth Solitei said Wednesday in Nairobi during the launch of the 2013 Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) that some Chinese-owned Hotels situated in Nairobi have increased occupancy and conferencing levels in the hospitality industry.

Defence                                                                                                                

African States Should Control Chinese Arms – The Star (KEN)
21/02/2013
Much is being written and said in the media and academic circles about China’s increasing engagement with Africa on many economic and other fronts.

Environment                                                                                                         

China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts – FOCAC
28/02/2013
The Chinese government on Friday promised to support Kenya’s conservationist efforts amid dwindling number of the country’s elephants due to increased poaching. Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan at the same time denied claims of driving the global illegal wildlife trade and termed the accusations by Western and African media on wildlife poaching and illegal ivory trade as false.

China in Africa: New forum seeks sustainable, pro-poor forestry – International Institute for Environment and Development
27/02/2013
The China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform was developed by the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG), an international alliance that promotes policymaking that serves forest-dependent communities and sustainability. It will enable policy researchers and forest specialists from Africa and China to share information on issues such as forestry investment, timber supply chains and forest-linked livelihoods.

Education                                                                                                             

In Zimbabwe, learning Chinese is a lucrative investment – BizCommunity (ZAF)
01/03/2013
Ni hao, Chinese for “hello,” or ting bu dong, meaning “I hear you, but I don’t understand,” are two expressions one often overhears today in Zimbabwe’s capital. It is one of the results of tenacious efforts by governments, private companies and individuals across Africa, but in Zimbabwe particularly, to learn the Chinese language and understand China’s culture.

Chinese, Africa’s new language of choice? – Africa Report
27/02/2013
As China’s investments in Africa grow, so has interest in the Chinese language across the continent. In Zimbabwe, learning Chinese has become a lucrative investment. Ni hao , Chinese for “hello,” or ting bu dong, meaning “I hear you, but I don’t understand,” are two expressions one often overhears today in Zimbabwe’s capital.

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