Raymond MpubaniOver 150 delegates from more than 40 African countries are in Beijing for the Second Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. The day-long event “aims to deepen cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and promote the development of a new China-Africa strategic partnership.” The media forum –set up under the framework agreements of the Fifth Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation –will be “held every two years in either China or Africa” to “deepen cooperation and exchanges in the media industry, and advance the development of friendly relations between China and African countries.”
A roundup of some China-Africa stories published last week
China promises to invest in Congo. China promised to support infrastructure development in the Republic of Congo. The Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso – who is in China on a nine-day state visit – held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
China-Africa Fund in talks to buy stake in Zimbabwe’s Cottco. The China-Africa Development Fund is in negotiations to acquire a “significant holding” in Zimbabwe’s Cottco Holdings Ltd. Cottco is Zimbabwe’s largest cotton company, “supporting more than 200 000 small-scale farmers.” The China-Africa Development Fund was established by the China Development Bank in 2007 to drive investment in Africa, and today is China’s largest private equity fund investing in Africa.
Howard French’s “China’s Second Continent reviewed”. Africa Redux reviewed “China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa,” by Howard French, former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai, Japan, and in West and Central Africa. Released in May, the book is “is noteworthy for its illuminating, and even surprising, insights about the huge and growing Chinese diaspora in Africa,” and “reports on the many contentious issues being negotiated by Chinese and Africans: trade, labour, environment, gangster capitalism, and corruption.” Among the issues the book explores is whether China’s investment is “creating enough safe and sustainable jobs for Africans,” and if local African industry is “under siege from low-cost, low-quality goods from China.”
Chinese navy fleet visits Namibia, sails to South Africa. Two missile frigates and a supply ship stopped in Namibia on Wednesday, June 11. The fleet is on an eight-country African tour “after completing escort missions as the 16th Escort Task Force in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.” The missions were carried out between November 2013 and April 2014, and involved “escorting over 5,500 ships from various nations in dangerous waters infested with pirates.”
The vessels are expected to arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday, June 17, according to the Chinese Embassy in South Africa. South Africa is the last stop of the tour.
LSE announces new Africa program. The London School of Economics announced its first degree programme focused solely on Africa, the MSc in African Development, which it hopes will draw “strong interest” from students in China and India where “there is substantial new interest in Africa but not necessarily a long history of development and academic expertise” in African development and political economy.
The new course is recognition of the dynamic growth of South-South relations, in particular the role of Chinese and Indian trade and investment in Africa. China is Africa’s biggest trading partner, with China-Africa trade exceeding $200 billion for the first time in 2013. European trade with Africa, meanwhile, was $137 billion while US-Africa trade totalled $96 billion.
The program, which starts this September, “will centre on the African Political Economy and African Development courses which will focus on African history, geography, institutions, politics, economics and economic policy.” The deadline for applying is July 4.
Raymond Mpubani is a Media Studies student at Wits University.