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China-Africa in the news: Risky loans, Queensway, Zimbabwe’s tobacco, Djibouti, Mswati’s Taiwan trip, Tiens Group

China is “growing less tolerant” of its “cheque book” diplomacy strategy. The strategy has seen China become the biggest lender to developing nations, a good number of them unstable or poorly governed (like Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe). China has lent billions of dollars to the developing world so it can “win friends and commercial advantage,” and also, ultimately, burnish its credentials as leader of the developing world. But the risks of the strategy might come to outweigh the benefits. Continue Reading

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China-Africa in the news: South Africa’s visa rules, apples, and more debt concerns

The manager of the Chinese restaurant at the center of a racism row in Nairobi, Kenya, was released on bail this week. Esther Yang is charged with operating the restaurant without a license. She is also accused of working without… 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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China-Africa in the news: China’s Ebola efforts earn both praise and criticism, Mali secures funding from Beijing, and claims of corruption in Zimbabwe’s Chinese-funded projects

China ramped up its support to efforts aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, announcing $32 million worth of humanitarian aid and sending 59 laboratory personnel to the region. This is on top of the $5 million worth… Continue Reading

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China-Africa in the news: China to deploy troops to South Sudan, build steel plant in South Africa, and give more loans to Zimbabwe

China to deploy troops to South Sudan China will deploy 700 troops to South Sudan later this year as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country. Contrary to initial reports of the decision, the soldiers are not… Continue Reading

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China, South Africa and the Dalai Lama: costs and benefits

Whether the government grants or does not grant a political figure from far-flung India a visa to come to South Africa is of little concern to rural farmers in Kwa-Zulu Natal or Mpumalanga. These populations are the bread and butter of the ANC electorate; denying the Dalai Lama a visa will have little bearing on who they will vote for in the next election. Continue Reading