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China-Africa news: African economies, Kenya railway

RailwayThe current Kenyan government’s flagship project is the Standard Gauge Railway that is being undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation. Mtito Andei in Makueni County is one of the towns where the project passes through. Moses Wasamu, a Kenyan journalist, writes about the changes that the Chinese-funded railway has brought to the town. The story was funded by a reporting grant from this project.

How will this year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit – scheduled for 4-5 December in Johannesburg – differ from other summits?  Why do we know the dates early this year round, unlike previous summits? The first in a series of regular FOCAC Watch posts that we will be publishing over the next few months ahead of the Johannesburg Summit answers those questions.

China’s economy and Africa. African nations that tied their fortune to China finds themselves hostage to its economy’s turbulence. Angola and Zambia, which rely heavily on commodity exports to China, and Zimbabwe – which adopted a ‘Look East’ policy after being dumped by the West – are among the worst hit. East Africa is faring better though, as is Francophone Africa.

Zambia’s economic woes. The Financial Times details Zambia’s troubles as a result of the slowdown of China’s Economy. Its currency has fallen to all-time lows, and mining companies are suspending operations and cutting jobs.

Should you be worried about Chinese aid in Africa? The Washington Post looks at three recent studies examining the trends of Chinese lending in Africa, comparing it with lending from the West. The research reveals “both some familiar behaviour and some troubling patterns.”

China’s loss, India’s gain. The slowdown of China’s economy has been felt across the globe, especially in the developing world. However, another emerging giant just next to China is poised to benefit from the slowdown. Global investors fleeing emerging markets are increasingly turning to India because that’s where they are “seeing the most opportunities.” Additionally, “India’s economy is forecast to grow faster than its so-called BRIC counterparts—the countries including China that were once seen as driving growing global growth.”

Chinese managers arrested in Kenya. The two Chinese managers with the China Roads and Bridge Construction Company – which is constructing the previously mentioned railway – allegedly bribed Highway Authority officials.

Bashir in Beijing. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was in Beijing for China’s massive World War Two commemoration rally. There are very few countries Bashir can visit because he is on the International Criminal Court’s wanted list after being indicted for crimes against humanity. China is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court. The visit yielded several economic deals for Sudan.

Another Nigerian cement deal. A week after signing a deal with Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, China’s Sinoma International Engineering Co. announced another cement deal with yet another Nigerian company, BUA Group. BUA Group will double capacity at its flagship cement plant in Nigeria under the deal.

Kenya railway to open in 2017. The Chinese-funded railway will be open for commercial traffic in June 2017, according to Kenya Railways. The railway will connect the Kenyan coast to landlocked Uganda, through which it will run to the borders with Rwanda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chinese-labelled goods not acceptable in Kenya. A Chinese-owned supermarket in Nairobi, Kenya was raided by Kenya Bureau of Standards officials who confiscated goods they said were not properly labelled. The labelling on the goods was in Chinese. The KBS officials said Kenyan law stipulates Swahili or English labelling; the supermarket’s owners say their customers are Chinese.

South Africa hosts 4th China-Africa Think Tanks Forum. The forum is “an initiative launched by Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) in 2011 to create a platform for dialogue and exchanges between Chinese and African thinkers.”

Kenya orders Chinese nuclear reactor. Kenya is set to be one of the first countries to own a China-made nuclear reactor. China General Nuclear Power Corp. and the Kenyan government signed an agreement for the development of China’s HPR1000 reactor in Kenya.

South Africa’s affair with China. The China-Africa Project has a podcast analysing “South Africa’s Inexplicable Love Affair with China.”

Tanzania’s heart institute. A heart treatment institute constructed with Chinese financing was opened in Tanzania at the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

 

Raymond Mpubani

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