Friday, September 22, 2017

Chinese Company Skill Transfer Programs in Kenya

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative published in September 2017 a paper titled "Creating a Market for Skills Transfer: A Case Study of AVIC International's Skills Transfer Programs in Kenya" by Irene Yuan Sun and Qi Lin.

This is an in-depth study of a set of AVIC International's local workforce development programs in Kenya. AVIC International is a Chinese state-owned conglomerate. The study, albeit confined to one company, challenges the stereotype that Chinese firms in Africa care little about local development.

China Makes Major Play for West African Bauxite

World Politics Review published on 22 September 2017 an article titled "China Races into West Africa's Mineral Rush, and the Environmental Costs Rise" by Matthew C. DuPee.

China recently signed a $20 billion loan agreement with Guinea for concessions and access to its bauxite deposits. It is also negotiating with Ghana for access to bauxite. The question is whether these deals can overcome rampant corruption and careless environmental practices.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Promoting Justice in South Sudan

The Institute for Security Studies published in September 2017 a report titled "How the AU Can Promote Transitional Justice in South Sudan" by Amanda Lucey and Liezelle Kumalo.

The African Union (AU) is mandated to help South Sudan to ensure accountability for past human rights abuses through the establishment of a hybrid court. The report suggests ways the AU can more broadly assist in enabling an effective transitional strategy for the country.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chinese Companies To Build Nigeria's Largest Hydroelectric Project

CNN posted on 14 September 2017 a report titled "Nigeria Announces $5.8 Billion Deal for Record-breaking Power Project" by Kieron Monks.

A consortium of Chinese state-owned construction companies have agreed to build the 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project for $5.8 billion. This will be the largest power plant in Nigeria. China's Export-Import bank will provide loans for 85 percent of the cost and the Nigerian government will cover 15 percent. A contract in 2007 for $1.4 billion with two Chinese companies to build a smaller plant broke down soon after signature.

China-Malawi Relations

The Diplomat published on 15 September 2017 an analysis titled "Malawi-China Diplomatic Ties: 10 Years On" by Raphael Mweninguwe, a freelance journalist based in Malawi.

Malawi broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan ten years ago and established ties with China. The author documents the infrastructure projects that China has built in Malawi over the past ten years but wonders if Malawi will, as a result, struggle with debt.

Best African Countries for Investing

Eturbo.com posted on 18 September 2017 an article titled "Top 10 Countries to Invest in Africa: Egypt Number One" by Juergen T. Steinmetz.

Rand Merchant Bank has released its Where to Invest in Africa 2018. The top ten African countries in order are Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Cote d'Ivoire.

China's National Congress and Africa

The Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Business Federation's Centre for African Studies published on 6 September 2017 an article titled "How Will China's 19th National Congress Affect Africa?" by Richard Li, partner of Singapore-based Steel Advisory Partners.

The 19th quinquennial National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will convene on 18 October 2017 to select new members of the Central Committee of the CPC and the Politburo. The author predicts the National Congress will result in a continuity of China-Africa relations.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Saudi-Iranian Rivalry in Africa

The Middle East Institute in Washington published in September 2017 a policy paper titled "The Fight for Africa: The New Focus of the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry" by Gerald Feirstein, Middle East Institute, and Craig Greathead, University of St. Andrews.

The authors argue that Africa has become a competing arena between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both states have turned their focus to the continent, developing ties with a number of African states in the economic and security arena.

Ethiopia's Regional Policy

World Politics Review published on 14 September 2017 a brief interview titled "South Sudan's Ongoing Civil War Tests Ethiopia's Foreign Policy" with Terrence Lyons, George Mason University.

The interview discusses Ethiopia's engagement in South Sudan, relations with Sudan, and the impact on relations with Egypt of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chinese Port Projects in Walvis Bay, Namibia (in French)

The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is building a container terminal and an oil terminal at Walvis Bay in Namibia. A Chinese paper published a long interview in Chinese with Feng Yuanfei, CHEC director in Namibia and chief of project. The Chine-Afrique website recently posted a translation in French of the interview titled "Apprentissage, internationalisation, indigenisation" courtesy of Thierry Pairault, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

African Countries' Engagement with China in Achieving SDGs and Agenda 2063

Oxfam published in July 2017 a report titled "New Actors, New Models, New Outcomes? African Countries Engagement with China and Other Development Partners in Achieving the SDGs and Agenda 2063" by Chris Alden, London School of Economics.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union's Agenda 2063 offer an opportunity for Africans and external partners to consider how they might best achieve these development aims for the continent. This study looks at how African countries can effectively engage China, Brazil, Japan, and India in achieving SDGs and Agenda 2063.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First Real Statement on Africa by Trump Administration Official

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas A. Shannon, addressed a conference concerning Africa on 13 September 2017 at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington. His remarks were titled "U.S.-African Partnerships: Advancing Common Interests."

These were the first comprehensive remarks about Africa by a senior official in the Trump administration. Shannon is a career Foreign Service Officer and the third highest ranking person in the State Department. What is striking about the remarks is that they could have been given during the Obama administration.

Russia Challenges US in Africa

Eurasia Review published on 6 July 2017 a commentary titled "Forging US Response to Russian Soft Power and Gangster Capitalism in Africa--Analysis" by Gregory Alonso Pirio and Robert C. Pittelli, both at Africa Analytica.

The authors argue that Russian business interests appear to have engaged in what they call gangster capitalism in Africa such as the sale of arms in Nigeria's petroleum-rich Niger Delta. These arms helped fuel the sabotage of pipelines and oil theft, which drove the major Western oil companies out of the Niger Delta.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Challenges and Opportunities for Africa of China's Belt and Road Initiative

The Conversation published on 5 September 2017 a commentary titled "Why China's Audacious Building Plans Could Be a Major Strain on African Economies" by Ricardo Reboredo, Trinty College Dublin.

The author assesses the pluses and minuses of China's One Belt One Road project for Africa and looks especially at the prospect of unsustainable debt.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Happened to East Africa's Oil Boom?

African Arguments published on 23 August 2017 a commentary titled "Whatever Happened to East Africa's Oil Boom?" by Luke Patey, Danish Institute for International Studies.

The author explains that domestic and regional politics continue to contribute to delays in the development of oil reserves in Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan. This situation is likely to continue.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016

The National Defense University in Washington published in July 2017 a study titled "Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications" by Kenneth Allen, Phillip C. Saunders, and John Chen.

This is an excellent study of Chinese military exercises, naval port calls, and senior level military meetings between 2003 and 2016 with the rest of the world. While Africa constitutes only a small part of the study, it contains useful statistical information on the nature of China-Africa military interaction.

Impact of High Level Visits on China-Africa Trade

The July 2017 issue of the Scottish Journal of Political Economy has an article titled "The Impact of Africa-China's Diplomatic Visits on Bilateral Trade" by Faqin Lin, Wenshou Yan, and Xiaosong Wang.

The authors argue that high level exchange visits between China and Africa stimulate China's exports to Africa in capital intensive manufacturing goods. They also found that state visits significantly increase official Chinese aid and exports by state-owned enterprises to African countries, which contributes to subsequent trade growth.

Friday, September 8, 2017

China's Engagement in African Security Affairs

The July 2017 issue of International Relations and Diplomacy has an article titled "China's Engagement in African Security Affairs in the Post-Cold War Era" by Xiaohong Xu, China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

This is a rare article in English by a Chinese author that looks at China's increasing role in promoting peace and safeguarding both Chinese and African security in Africa.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How US Companies Can Compete with China in Africa

The Atlantic Council in Washington released on 7 September 2017 two issue briefs concerning possibilities for doing business in Africa, especially in light of significant Chinese competition. The first paper is titled "Escaping China's Shadow: Finding America's Competitive Edge in Africa" by Aubrey Hruby, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Africa Center. The paper identifies the following five sectors as good prospects for American business: professional and business services; financial services; media, entertainment and information; agribusiness; and renewable energy.

A companion paper, which focuses on the nature of African consumers, is titled "Capturing the African Consumer Market: Truths, Trends, and Strategies for the Road Ahead" by Aleksandra W. Gadzala, a geopolitical risk consultant.

An Egyptian Perspective on Nile Water

Pambazuka News published on 7 September 2017 a commentary titled "Egypt and Controlling the Nile: From Mythologies to Real Politics" by Hamdy A. Hassan, Zayed University and Cairo University.

While the author analyzes the Nile water question from an Egyptian point of view, he concludes there is a dire need for a strategic dialogue between Egypt and Ethiopia where all issues of common concern are discussed. He added this may necessitate a conciliatory political and media discourse vis-a-vis Ethiopia and the Nile Basin countries as the language of escalation and threats has always proven counterproductive.

African Key Trends to 2035

The Institute for Security Studies published in August 2017 a policy brief titled "African Futures: Key Trends to 2035" by Julia Bello-Schunemann, Jakkie Cilliers, Zachary Donnenfeld, Ciara Aucoin, and Alex Porter.

The brief looks at demography, economies, governance, development, conflict, technology, and urbanization. Except for issues associated with demography, the paper is stronger on summarizing trends up to the present than looking out to 2035.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Four Famines: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held on 6 September 2017 a conference on and published a Q and A titled "The Four Famines: The Alarm Bells Are Ringing, But Who Is Listening?" by Kimberly Flowers, CSIS director for the Global Food Security Project.

Almost 21 million people are at risk of starving in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and northeastern Nigeria. Where there are various explanations for the food shortages, all four potential famines have one thing in common: conflict.

US Sanctions South Sudanese Leaders

Foreign Policy published on 6 September 2017 an article titled "U.S. Sanctions South Sudanese Leaders" by Martin de Bourmont and Robbie Gramer.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control levied sanctions against several senior officials who are close to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. U.S. parties cannot do business with them or any company they own 50 percent or more of in the aggregate.

Monday, September 4, 2017

China's Expanding Footprint in Africa

The New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation published in September 2017 an issue brief titled "China's Expanding Military Footprint in Africa" by Harsh V. Pant and Ava M. Haidar.

The brief examines the changing nature of China's involvement in Africa, analyzing the present economic priorities and how they have motivated China to play a larger role in African peace and security.

Kenya's Repeated Election

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 4 September 2017 a statement titled "Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead."

The ICG concluded that the Supreme Court's decision represents a victory for the independence of Kenya's judiciary and the rule of law. The onus now shifts to the country's politicians, and to those in the international community with influence over them, to act responsibly so that Kenyans can witness a smooth, peaceful and credible vote by the the of October.