Weekly update: 27/04/2013 to 03/05/2013

Top Stories:   

CAN comment: Interesting to see another well reasoned article asking the question of whether China’s influence is entirely positive. The article raises an interesting question as to the sustainability of China’s support for dictators when opposition forces eventually come into power. However, as was evident in South Sudan after its split from the north, China can be very quick to adapt its approach and find favour with new governments.

CAN comment: This article praises China’s long history of economic and political support for Sudan and calls for greater cooperation in the agricultural sphere. A major source of China economic growth in the 1980s was through increased rural agricultural production, which Africa will likely need to replicate in order to make similar strides itself.

CAN comment: Interesting quotes from former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the Times African CEO’s summit: “If you deal with the Chinese, they will come, you negotiate and these negotiations are not endless; you discuss and agree … The role of China in Africa is being misconstrued or deliberately misunderstood. For Africa to realise its potential, there is need for injection of capital. Opportunities [to invest in Africa] exist, but we need to work with everybody.”

CAN comment: For every major multi-million dollar infrastructure or resources project investment there are likely to be hundreds of these small teams of Chinese agricultural or medical experts doing training programs in Africa. China’s experience of labour intensive small scale agriculture makes it an ideal partner for these projects. While these projects seem to be pervasive and long standing it remains very difficult to judge how successful they have been.

CAN comment: In order for Nigeria to see significant Chinese investment in manufacturing it will need to make significant improvements to its power infrastructure, according to 18 Chinese companies which have indicated interest   to visit  and establish manufacturing-based  offices in Nigeria. While upgrading infrastructure remains a priority of President Jonathan’s government, it remains to be seen whether vested interests can be overcome, and Nigeria’s manufacturing potential can be realised.

CAN comment: Interesting use of the newly available aid data on Chinese investment in Africa offering a breakdown of how that money was spent in Kenya. When reading the top line numbers and recipients its difficult not to conclude that the money is being invested wisely. Road-building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China’s assistance. Energy generation and supply is identified as the second-largest. One example project is the construction of the Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital in Nairobi, costing $92 million.

 

Politics

China can do more for Africa – Daily Monitor (UGA)
02/05/2013
How should Africa’s political elite respond to China’s escalation of its ‘soft power charm offensive’, which is widely thought to be intended to secure future clout on the continent?

The Sudanese-Chinese Political and Economic Relations – Sudan Vision (SUD)
02/05/2013
Relations between the two countries since the beginning were based on mutual respect of the principles of peaceful coexistence, the non intervention in the domestic affairs of the others. This matter has constituted a solid base for the development of the bilateral relations that continued to be stable and developing regardless of the succession of government in the Sudan and despite the differences of the political systems in the two countries.

Chinese aid to Africa: A detective story – The Interpreter
02/05/2013
This endeavour involved a team of researchers and has taken more than 18 months, and sought to find and classify all instances of Chinese development finance to Africa from 2001 to 2011. Anyone who has attempted to quantify Chinese aid would know this is no mean feat.

African leaders defend China links – Africa Review
01/05/2013
African politicians have told a top business executives summit in London that the continent is gravitating towards China because it readily provides development financing unlike the Bretton Woods institutions. Kenya’s former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, on Monday spoke of “frustrations”, while in government, in dealing with lengthy bureaucratic procedures of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Domestic critics carp over extent of China’s munificence towards Africa – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2013
Is it pure altruism or thinly veiled self-interest? Neither, according to Beijing: aid to Africa, which has doubled in the last few years, is about co-operation and mutual benefit. But if the outside world has become increasingly suspicious about China‘s involvement with Africa – prompting accusations that its aid strategy is solely about pursuing raw materials or finding work for Chinese firms – some at home have the opposite concern: that it is too generous.

Chinese Firm Warns Uganda On Karuma – Hydro World
29/04/2013
In the March issue of the international business magazine, Forbes, the billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia is asked in an interview what he thinks is the biggest weakness of the Uganda economy.Sudhir answers: “The left doesn’t know what the right is doing, unfortunately. The decision making process of this country has gone very bad. Although there are a lot of processes, unfortunately these checks and balances have been abused; thereby the people have been scared into making decisions. The only way people feel they will survive in the job is by not making decisions and that’s very bad”.

China hopes to hit the right note with Algeria opera house – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2103
Along the highway, alternating blue-and-white corrugated iron sheets are all that can be seen of the opera house China offered as a gift to Algeria six years ago.

 

Agriculture

Chinese team tells Ghana to consider technology transfer to boost agric output – Ghana Business News (GHN)
01/05/2013
A delegation from China has called on Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture to consider technological transfer to Ghana to boost agricultural development to make the country self-sufficient in food production.

 

Finance and Banking

Chinese investors urge FG to improve power supply – The Punch (NGA)
02/05/2013
About 18 Chinese investors under the aegis of African Investment Network have called on the Federal Government to improve power supply in the country as a way of attracting more investment from China.

Ecobank Tanzania Launched China Desk -Tanzania Invest (TZA)
02/05/2013
During the event which attracted over 100 Chinese investors in Tanzania including officials of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce , the bank also formally launched the direct trading of the Chinese currency (RMB) in Tanzania bundled with the settlement of payments through the Bank of China.

Chinese gives Kenya $1.4bn aid in decade – Daily Nation (KEN)
01/05/2013
China provided Kenya with $1.4 billion aid in the 2001-2011 period, says a new report by US researchers. Road building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China’s assistance, according to the study compiled by AidData, a research partnership involving two US universities and a non-governmental organisation.

Zambia set for more investment from China – African Review
01/05/2013
The MFEZs are located in Chambishi (Copperbelt) and in Lusaka, near the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Zambia investment is expected to create thousands of new jobs, this is according to an MoU signed in Beijing on 11 April 2013 on the sidelines of the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Forum.

Zim-China Economic Relationship Needs Democratic Review – Zimbabwe Mail (ZIM)
30/04/2013
When the Chinese President visited Africa last week, the 28 March-4 April 2013 editorial comment of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent was correct to criticize our government’s ‘look east policy’.

New database focuses on China’s secretive aid to Africa – Business Daily (KEN)
30/04/2013
Economic development researchers on Monday unveiled a database of China’s aid to Africa in an effort to work around Beijing’s secrecy about the numbers, as a debate rages over the intentions and impact of Chinese assistance.

Govt Keen On Fruitful Economic Relations With China – The Herald (ZIM)
30/04/2013
Zimbabwe is eager to translate its relations with China into fruitful economic benefits for the people of the two countries, Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo has said.

China commits billions in aid to Africa as part of charm offensive – interactive – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2013
China has committed $75bn (£48bn) on aid and development projects in Africa in the past decade, according to research which reveals the scale of what some have called Beijing’s escalating soft power “charm offensive” to secure political and economic clout on the continent.

Egypt signs Chinese investment agreements worth $500 million – Middle East Monitor (EGT)
29/04/2013
The Egyptian government has signed four cooperation agreements with Chinese companies to develop and improve the economic area northwest of the Gulf of Suez. During a press conference, Minister of Investment, Osama Saleh, confirmed that the total amount of investments to be made by the companies amounts to $500 million and will be delivered in 3 stages.

Uganda Asked to Focus On Local Investors – New Vision (UGA)
29/04/2013
Emphasis on foreign investment is overrated. Policy makers should instead focus on local investors, increasing the tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio and value addition to agricultural produce to achieve higher economic growth rates.

Ghana plays ball as China splashes cash on gyms and stadiums – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2013
Barely audible above the din of schoolchildren enjoying their afternoon dip in the pool, Eric Sarpong – an engineer in the Ghanaian armed forces – explains why he loves swimming. It’s not just a question of exercise, he says, but also focus, and it keeps him away from the more negative distractions that get some of his army colleagues into trouble.

 

Manufacturing

Chinese firm steps up investment in Ethiopia with ‘shoe city’ – The Guardian (GBR)
30/04/2013
Helen Hai, vice-president of Chinese footwear manufacturer the Huajian Group, has a bold ambition. Within a decade, she wants Ethiopia to be a global hub for the shoe industry, supplying the African, European and American markets.

 

Oil and Energy

Kenya Aspires to be East Africa Hydrocarbon Transit Hub – Oil Price.com
02/05/2013
Kenya is moving forward incrementally with its massive $24 billion regional infrastructure project, the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transit Corridor (LAPSSET), awarding a key tender to a Chinese company.

ONGC said to be lead bidder for $6 billion Mozambique gas assets – Live Mint
30/04/2013
Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. are the leading bidder for the stake in a Mozambique gas field being sold byAnadarko Petroleum Corp. and Videocon Industries Ltd., said three people with knowledge of the discussions.

China lends Ethiopia S$1.2b for mega-dam power lines – Straits Times (SGP)
27/04/2013
Ethiopia secured a US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) loan from China on Friday to build transmission lines linking its capital Addis Ababa with Africa’s biggest hydropower dam being built on the Nile.

 

Telecommunications

Hong Kong Calling: How China’s Cheap Phones Make Their Way to Africa – Think Africa Press
02/05/2013
Nathan Road is Hong Kong’s busiest shopping street. It is lined with skyscrapers and decorated with neon signs of every size, colour and shape. Most of the logos are familiar: McDonald’s, KFC, Samsung, Rolex, Carlsberg, 7-Eleven, Standard Chartered.

 

Trade

Exports to China Reach U.S $2 Billion – Times of Zambia (ZAM)
30/04/2013
The Government has said Zambia exported nearly US$2 billion worth of commodities to China in 2012. Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa told journalists in Lusaka at the weekend that Zambia’s exports to China in terms of commodities reached $1.9 billion.

Ecobank Launches China Desk in Dar – Tanzania Daily News (TZA)
29/04/2013
ECcobank Tanzania Limited, an affiliate of the Ecobank Group, has launched the China Desk in Tanzania to support emerging business opportunities, international trade, infrastructure projects and investments between Tanzania and China.

S Africa: China might make all the (trade) difference – Financial Times (ZAF)
29/04/2013
A weaker rand may add to the cost of imports in South Africa, but there are positive effects. The depreciation that has seen the rand fall 6.47 per cent year to date is helping exports and, if could even help ease the country’s balance of trade headache.

 

Transport and Infrastructure

Nigeria, China may partner on affordable houses – The Guardian (NGA)
02/05/2013
Nigeria and China are to strike a deal on the provision of affordable housing estates for Nigerians. The partnership deal, according to the government, will also include energy matters and road construction in the country.

How Ghana dumped World Bank for China Development Bank over gas infrastructure – Ghana Business News (GHN)
02/05/2013
Many businesses in Ghana were excited when the Government of Ghana (GoG) announced that, it was going to develop its own gas infrastructure to produce gas to shore up the energy generation level and need of the country.

Roads and energy main beneficiaries of Chinese aid to Kenya, report – Africa Review
30/04/2013
China provided Kenya with a total of $1.4 billion in aid during the 2001-2011 period, according to a report issued on Monday by US-based researchers.

Chinese firm in Sh15bn Moi hospital expansion plan – The Star (KEN)
29/04/2013
The government is negotiating with donors to help expand the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to have a bed capacity of more than 1,000 from the current 600. The National government has approved talks with investors from China on the possibility of expanding the hospital at a cost of more than Sh16 billion. The CEO of the hospital, John Kibosia, hosted China Machinery Engineering Cooperation which is associated with China’s Wu Yi Company.

 

Defence

US Security Strategy in South Sudan – An anti-China Strategy? – Sudan Tribune (SUD)
03/05/2013
The cornerstone of an academic debate which took shape over the last twelve years among Marxist scholars – since the publication of Empire (2000) – focuses on what can be considered the mother of all questions for scientists of international politics: what is the structure of the current geopolitical world order we live in?

 

Education

Nigeria signs MoU with China on skills, technology transfer – Vanguard (NGA)
03/05/2013
The Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and Sanshui District Bureau of Economy, Science and Technology Development Promotion in China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU to facilitate the transfer of skills and technologies.

Africa’s future leaders benefit from Beijing’s desire to win hearts and minds – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2013
Liberian children hold Chinese flags before the arrival of China’s president Hu Jintao in Monrovia. Last summer the former leader announced an African aid programme that would encompass government scholarships and training schemes. Photograph: Christopher Herwig/Reuters/Corbis.

UDOM Launches Chinese Courses – Tanzania Daily News (TZA)
29/04/2013
The Vice-President, Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, on Sunday launched the Confucius Institute of the University of Dodoma (UDOM) that will be offering courses on Chinese language and culture.

 

Society

Chinese doctor brings vision to African patients – China Daily (CHN)
29/04/2013
When Zhu Siquan developed a whole set of medical techniques for the treatment of late-stage cataract among Chinese patients in the 1990s, he did not expect that his endeavors would one day benefit patients in Africa.

Chinese NGOs reach out to African countries – People’s Daily Online (CHN)
29/04/2013
Groups give new impetus and direction for people-to-people exchanges in Africa withtheir community outreach programs, report Meng Jing and Sun Yuanqing. At almost the same time that President Xi Jinping announced during his recent visit toAfrica that China will extend a $20 billion credit line to the continent over the next twoyears, Zhang Ming, a director of the Red Cross Society of China, was busy raisingfunds of more than 30 million yuan ($4.85 million) from China to build public healthcenters in Africa, the first overseas project by her organization.

Chinese hospital heals sore spot in Zambia – The Guardian (GBR)
29/04/2013
Joy Bwalya-Mwale, 16, has a baby tied to her back and an umbrella to protect her from the burning sun. The teenage mother has come for a check-up at the Levy Mwanawasa general hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, where her daughter, Natalia, was born eight months ago.