Weekly news

Weekly news update: 04/04/2013 to 10/05/2013

Top Stories:


CAN comment: Wise words from Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), “we should see Africa’s manufacturing sector beginning to make different parts for various final goods which are produced in China. Africa should become the factory to the world just like China became one in the last 15-20 years ago.”

CAN comment: African countries should take a leaf out of China’s book when dealing with large foreign companies keen to invest in the African market. China demanded foreign investors partner with local companies to build native capacity. African countries should do the same to assuage the fears of businessmen like the one quoted in this article who fear that well funded Chinese companies  could take business away from local firms.

CAN comment: The full article reveals that China is one of a number of potential investors in Nigeria’s power sector, which hopes to grow its per capita electricity provision to a level similar to South Africa, meaning 200,000MW would be needed in total (up from less than 4000MW currently). There are very few details provided on the project itself except that it would use natural gas, which has up until now been flared.

CAN comment: This article provides an interesting example of the increasing cooperation between China and African countries on health care. Particularly significant here is that this is the first time this annual meeting has been held in Africa. Among other things, they explored how China can help support Africa’s local production of health products, while at the same time, African leaders shared their expertise on areas where China can learn from Africa, such as around AIDS prevention and treatment, to help improve China’s efforts at home.

CAN comment: This article claims that China has plans to escalate its media war in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa by erecting giant screens in major cities to screen Chinese news, documentaries and films. According to the article China already supplies Zimbabwe with jamming equipment clocking critical western news sources like the BBC and France 24, but this new scheme would take a more direct route to influencing Zimbabweans. I have no idea whether the story has any truth to it, but China has certainly been putting a great deal more effort into protecting its image in recent years, especially through the media.

CAN comment: Some interesting points made in this article about the approach China has taken in Ethiopia, supporting manufacturing through investment in private sector organisations, as well as extensive skills training through local universities and scholarships abroad. This offers a useful example of where Chinese investment can do a lot of good and offer something quite different to what another international partner might be able to.



Nigerian president aborts state visit over security situation – FOCAC (CHN)
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has cut short his visit to South Africa and aborted his state visit to Namibia which was to begin on Thursday.

Chinese and Africans Make Their Dreams Come True – FOCAC (CHN)
I have been in China for 2 years, and I had been a journalist for 12 years before I went to study in China. Now I want to change my career to be an expert on China and Africa relations. After graduation I can work with China Daily, or CCTV or Communication University of China where I got my master degree and I’m pursuing my Ph D.

Democracy Won’t “Save” Africa, the Chinese Will – PolicyMic
On June 5, 1873, in a letter to The Times, Sir Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin and a distinguished African explorer in his own right, outlined a daring (if by today’s standards utterly offensive) new method to “tame” and colonize what was then known as the Dark Continent.

China-Africa: How Unreliable Data Skews the Debate – Think Africa Press
‘Publish or perish’ runs the mantra of the research industry, putting its harried worker bees under constant pressure to issue material. The development industry is similarly quick on the draw, with Morten Jerven recalling how World Bank staffers have published GDP figures on African economies despite having little or no source data, on the basis that it was better to have some data rather than none.

Chinese VP meets South African guests – Xinhuanet (CHN)
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao on Monday met with a delegation of the South African Communist Party headed by its second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila. Li thanked Mapaila during the meeting for his offer of condolences over the recent earthquake in Lushan County of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Africa should have strategy for China – Prof. Ncube – Ghana Business News (GHN)
An economist is advocating for Africa to have a well-cut strategy for China as the Asian country’s dominance on the continent keeps rising. According to Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa should start using China as a ladder to play a major role in the global economy.


Innovation from China boosts agricultural development in Africa – People’s Daily Online (CHN)
In 1968, when I was in high school, a book titled The Population Bomb was published. The author, Paul Erlich, began the book with this statement: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…” I knew very little about farming then, but was frightened by the vision and wondered if anyone could prevent this future state.

South African citrus feels uncertainty from China, E.U. – Fresh Fruit Portal
The Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa lamented the effect of market uncertainty on consumer habits on Friday. CEO Justin Chadwick highlighted the particular influence of China, the European Union and Russia.

Finance and Banking

China aid to Africa totals $75b in one decade – Ghana Business News (GHN)
China’s official aid to Africa reached $75 billion within a decade between 2000 and 2011, a new study has identified based on reported figures gathered from the media. According to a dataset in a joint aid paper published April 29, 2013, Chinese-backed or financed projects in 50 African countries between the said year period were 1,673.

South African Banks To Adopt Chinese Currency? – Ventures Africa
South Africa banks have been urged to adapt the Chinese currency (the renminbi) as the currency will become a prominent factor in doing business.

Kenya topples India, China as major investor in East Africa – The Standard (KEN)
Even as the influence of China and India continues to reverberate across the East African region, it has emerged that Kenya has toppled the Asian powerhouses in terms of investment in the region.

Big Brother China pumps $11b into East Africa – The East African (KEN)
The East African region has received about $11 billion in investment and development aid from China over the past decade, new data shows, reflecting the growing influence of the Asian giant in the region.


African companies in fear of China’s corporate invasion – South China Morning Post
Bafana Ndendwa has conflicting feelings when he sees the increased presence of Chinese companies in Africa. On one hand, the managing director of a construction company in South Africa believes companies such as his can learn from their Chinese counterparts who are doing business in the continent. On the other hand, those companies are cutting into his profits.

Mining and Metals

Indian companies unable to keep up with Chinese and Brazilian counterparts in Mozambique – Macauhub (MOZ)
Indian companies have been unable to keep up with the rate at which their Brazilian and Chinese counterparts are setting themselves up in Mozambique, a country whose mining resources are piquing the interest of international powerhouses, according to researcher Loro Horta.

Oil and Energy

Chinese firm questions controversial hydroelectric contract – Africa Report
Sino Hydro Corporation, which placed a bid of $990 million lost out to China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC), which charged $1.3 billion. The massive project aims at increasing electricity generation by up to 600 megawatts at Hwange Power Station.

Chinese firm to build 20,000mw plant – The Nation (NGA)
Chinese firm plans to build a 20,000 megawatts electricity generating plant in Nigeria, Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo said at the weekend. Vice-President Namadi Sambo, also at the weekend, said the government has approved $3.7b to boost power transmission to 20,000mw.


Chinese firm gets $220m digital migration contract – Times of Zambia (ZAM)
GOVERNMENT has awarded a tender for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of Terrestrial Digital Migration to Beijing-based Star Software Technology Company, also known as StarTimes.

6,000 Km Fiber Optic Underneath Cameroon – Business in Cameroon (CAM)
Cameroon has now a fiber optic network of 6,000 km. Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Last Friday, officially received 3,200 km of fiber optic in Maroua from the Chinese partner, Huawei, adding to the already existing 3,800km.


China Wants More Namibian Trade – New Era (NAM)
Equality, mutually beneficial and win-win situations are the basic principles that guide China’s economic relations with Africa, according to the Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Xin Shunkang.

Transport and Infrastructure

Zim loses millions over Chinese projects – Zimbabwe Independent (ZWE)
ZIMBABWE is losing millions of dollars to the Chinese in untendered government projects like the US$98 million National Defence College (NDC) and Long Cheng Plaza in Belvedere whose workmanship is of substandard quality, local engineers say.

Chinese want to help upgrade airports – Times of Zambia (ZAM)
THE recent trip by President Michael Sata to China has started bearing fruit with a number of Chinese investors expressing interest to help Government in upgrading the country’s 10 provincial airports to international standards.

Excitement builds on West African rail potential – Proactive Investors (GBR)
The development of a West African railway to service the newly emerging iron ore industry in the region is once again under the spotlight. Investor excitement has been fuelled by a clutch of announcements and speculation about the next steps for a number of companies working in the region – notably in Cameroon.

China Lends US$3.3 Billion to Rail Construction in Horn of Africa – Design Build
The Chinese government has agreed to provide US$3.3 billion in financing to the Ethio-Djibouti Railway project in the Horn of Africa. Officials from the Export-Import Bank of China will travel to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in early May to put the finishing touches on the agreement between the finance ministers of China and Ethiopia.

Addis-Djibouti Railway Gets Chinese Financing – Addis Fortune (ETH)
Higher level officials fromChina’s Ex-Im Bank are expected to arrive in Addis Abeba this week to finalize a three billion dollar loan agreement with the Ethiopian government to finance the Ethio-Dijibouti Railway project.


China to erect big screens in Zimbabwe – Nehanda Radio (ZWE)
Diplomatic officials close to China Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Lin Lin, have told Nehanda Radio how Beijing is seriously considering a blockade on critical European media houses, which it accuses of damaging its image in Africa.


Why China is getting involved in Africa’s health issues – CNN
There is an old African proverb: “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.” That was the guiding principle behind the International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Cooperation this week in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. This is the fourth such annual conference — and the first to be held on African soil.

China, Africa explore partnerships on health challenges – Ghana Business News (GHN)
Chinese and African leaders have met at the 4th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Cooperation and the first China-Africa health meeting to be held in Africa, to explore new partnerships to address some of the most pressing health challenges facing the continent.

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