FOCAC Themed Grants 2015

Leading up to the sixth Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) ministerial meeting to be held in South Africa in December 2015, the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project is looking to commission a series of FOCAC-themed articles aimed at reviewing developments since the fifth FOCAC meeting in 2012. The Themed Grants are based on areas of cooperation highlighted in the Action Plan agreed at the fifth FOCAC meeting. Although issues around infrastructure development and natural resource extraction remain key, the themes aim to investigate under-reported areas of the China-Africa relationship. The Wits China-Africa Reporting Project will publish all articles in a series of briefings and may also invite contributors to participate in roundtable discussions.

Background: The FOCAC funding model

At FOCAC 2012, China promised to extend a US$20 billion credit line to Africa. In practice deals are negotiated between and signed by African and Chinese officials. These deals could be of various types, e.g. resources-for-infrastructure exchanges, concessional loans, grants or donations. Following the signing of a deal, the money is disbursed via China’s Ministry of Commerce, and Chinese contractors are then selected to carry out the projects in Africa. African governments thus generally do not receive money directly, but have to negotiate the terms of a deal at the outset and then Chinese companies are contracted to carry out the projects specified in the deal.

Themes focusing on under-reported areas

Keeping this funding and investment background in mind, Chinese and African journalists will be commissioned (and are invited to apply) for producing investigative pieces and local articles in one of the following under-reported themes:

Education and human resources development:
  • Capacity building and vocational education
  • Short term training including workshops, seminars, conferences, etc.
  • Long term training especially scholarships
  • Skills, knowledge transfers and academic exchanges
  • Role of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms
Research & Development and science & technology:
  • Science and technology cooperation and joint research initiatives
  • Joint development of science parks
Public health:
  • Cooperation, exchanges and training in the public health sector
  • Prevention of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases
  • Establishment and support of medical facilities in Africa
Natural resources, environment and sustainable development:
  • Clean/renewable energy/resources and technology including trade and investment
  • Cooperation, trade and investment related to climate change mitigation
  • Water exploration and management of water resources including irrigation
  • Capacity building in meteorological infrastructure and weather monitoring
  • Forest protection and management
  • Disaster prevention and reduction
  • Desertification, ecological protection, and environment management
  • Remote-sensing, drought surveillance and capacity
Peace and security:
  • Conflict resolution and peace-keeping
  • Post-conflict reconstruction and development
  • Cooperation on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy
Media and communications:
  • Role of the press in fostering public opinion on China-Africa cooperation
  • Exchanges and cooperation in print, online, television, radio and film
  • Promotion of African films in China and Chinese films in Africa
  • Cooperation in book publication and translation
  • Engagements in the Information and Communication Technology sector including telecommunications and Internet
Non-governmental exchanges:
  • Cultural exchanges and initiatives
  • Civil society cooperation engagements
  • People-to-people exchanges and interaction between young people, women, and others
  • Chinese volunteers in Africa
  • Sporting events, exchanges and other activities

Guidelines for applicants

The Wits China-Africa Reporting Project encourages contributors to adhere to the following journalistic guidelines:

  • Aim to identify individuals or communities through which to tell the story and look for on-the-ground impact and perspectives
  • Applicants are encouraged to also submit images and captions along with written material
  • Articles should have a relatively narrow focus around specific projects or issues, and avoid grand narratives or attempts to summarize China-Africa relations
  • Where possible, aim to clarify the trail of funding, e.g. establish clearly how much money is spent/invested/donated by and to whom
  • Aim as much as possible to use authoritative sources and to avoid anonymous sources
  • Always strive to tell the African AND Chinese side of any story, and talk to sources on all sides of a deal, dispute, negotiation or conflict. Attempt to offer solutions not only to highlight issues
  • Uphold standard journalistic ethics of being independent, free from bias and always operate with the utmost integrity, and cross-check information wherever possible


Chinese and African journalists interested in applying for a Themed Grant should send a proposal to [email protected] in an email marked “Application – FOCAC Themed Grants”. The proposal should include the following:

  • Clear indication of which theme listed above you intend to pursue and relevance to FOCAC 2015
  • Clear description of the topic and focus area
  • Indication of where applicant intends to publish the article
  • Brief description of methodology to be used for producing the article
  • Brief budget in US dollars, with a range of US$300-2,000

Only applications in MS Word or PDF formats will be considered.