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China-Africa in the news: Stadium diplomacy, contract troubles in Rwanda and Uganda, and the Mandarin bug

By 2010, according to Elliot Ross’ ‘China’s Stadium Diplomacy in Africa’ (published by Roads and Kingdoms in 2014), there were 50 stadiums across Africa built with Chinese government support. “If you want to see the heart of China’s soft-power push into Africa,” Ross writes, “you’ll find it in the continent’s new soccer stadia.” China builds a stadium at a relatively low cost, local politicians present it as proof of their development efforts, and China (and Chinese businesses) is rewarded with access to political leaders. Continue Reading

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On the trail of China’s dragon head companies in East Africa

At the outset, it is worth pointing out that the presence of Chinese companies in East Africa is too extensive, multi-layered and intricate to be covered comprehensively in one fell swoop. With over 1000 companies engaged in fields as diverse as mining, infrastructure, telecommunication, hospitality and manufacturing, any attempt at providing a holistic picture is over-ambitious and the best attempts can only offer snippets of understanding. Continue Reading

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New Bagamoyo port benefits Tanzania and region

While in Tanzania Xi Jinping signed 16 agreements, one of which is an undertaking to develop a massive port at Bagamoyo, about 60 kilometres north of Dar es Salaam city. It is billed as the biggest port in Africa once complete, and will handle 20 times more cargo than Dar es Salaam port, which is currently Tanzania’s largest port. The port is expected to facilitate trade in the region by acting as a hub for raw materials coming in and out neighbouring landlocked countries, as well as bringing Chinese manufactured goods into the region. Continue Reading