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China-Africa news: Africa and Black Monday, Dangote’s cement deal, Chinese media

CCTV AfricaChina’s Black Monday and Africa. The biggest story globally was China’s Black Monday – the biggest one-day fall of Chinese stocks since 2007 – and its effects on international stock markets and economies. South Africa’s rand fell to its lowest ever against the dollar “amid concerns about the strength of the Chinese economy.” The Zambia and Uganda currencies also hit record lows, while commodity prices “fell into territory not seen since 1999.”

Quartz Africa did a story on the industries in Africa that would be most affected by a Chinese economic slowdown.

A debate about the merits of Chinese media in Africa. James Wan, editor at African Arguments, wrote a piece about Chinese media in Africa. He spoke to employees at Chinese state-owned media companies who defended the “constructive” journalism model Chinese media are known for. The article compares that approach to western media, and seems to argue that Chinese media “may already be changing Africa’s media landscape for the better.” This argument and many others in the article are however challenged in the comments section by Howard French, a Columbia University journalism professor who has written a book about Chinese immigrants in Africa, and also reported extensively from Africa. It makes for interesting and informative reading.

Africa well-represented at China’s military party. China is holding a big parade on 3 September to commemorate the defeat of Japan in the Second World War. It is the first time China is commemorating Japan’s defeat with such a massive military parade, and it has worried China’s neighbours and other global powers who see it as an unnecessary flexing of muscles. As a result, no western country is sending a head of state to the parade; China’s neighbours are also not sending their leaders. Africa is however well-represented, with Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, DR Congo and South Africa sending their top leaders.

Dangote cements China deal. A company owned by Africa’s richest man “signed contracts worth $4.34 billion on Wednesday with China’s Sinoma International Engineering Co. to build cement plants across Africa.” The plants will be built in in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia (and another in Nepal).

South Africa is imposing a 10% import tariff on Chinese steel imports. South Africa’s steel manufacturers asked the government to intervene against cheap Chinese steel exports, which are “being supplied at prices as much as 25 percent below local production costs.”

The ANC takes on China’s haters. Whatever is going on between South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party and China has gotten so passionate that the ANC is now looking askance at China’s not-so-good friends. A recently released discussion document for its national general council says the “US does not appreciate the resurgence of China and Russia as dominant factors in the arena of international power relations,” and has declared in a cold war against them.

China is still selling arms to S. Sudan. A United Nations report accused China’s biggest arms manufacturer (also owned by the Chinese state) of selling weapons to South Sudan’s government. The country has been wrecked by a brutal civil war since December 2013. The war has tested China’s non-interference policy and forced it to intervene on several occasions to protect its economic interests in the country.

Zimbabwe looks west. Zimbabwe’s ‘Look East’ policy has failed to shore up its economy: it’s famously stubborn president asked the West to reengage with the Southern Africa country’s economy.

Raymond Mpubani

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