Thursday, October 23, 2014

China and Zimbabwe

The South African Institute of International Affairs published in October 2014 a paper titled "China and Zimbabwe: The Context and Contents of a Complex Relationship" by Abiodun Alao, senior lecturer at the African Leadership Centre, King's College London.

The paper looks at  Sino-Zimbabwean relations, examining how they have evolved over time.  He concludes that the decades ahead are likely to be crucial for the relationship especially as Zimbabwe has to begin looking at a future without its aging president. 

Move the South Sudan Peace Talks to South Sudan?

Pambazuka News published on 23 October 2014 a commentary titled "South Sudan Peace Talks: Possibility of Re-locating to South Sudan?" by Josephine Chandiru Drama, a fellow at the African Leadership Centre/Kings College London.  She concludes that the current IGAD process in Addis Ababa is inadequate and the peace talks should go to South Sudan. 

Roots of Radicalism in East Africa

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 20 October 2014 a summary titled "The Roots of Radicalism Should Inform Government's Response to Terror" by Anneli Botha, ISS in Pretoria.  This cogent analysis based on three separate studies in Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia concludes that what primarily pushed young Kenyans to join al-Shabaab  and the Mombasa Republican Council were injustices at the hands of Kenyan security forces.  Many young Somalis in Kenya joined al-Shabaab in response to a threat to their religious identity while those in Somalia were more influenced by economic issues. 

Strategic Vision Needed for Africa

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published in October 2014 a 12 page study titled "Why Strategic Foresight Matters for Africa" by Julia Schunemann, who leads the African Futures Project at ISS.  She concludes that African countries must think more systematically about long-term trends and plan for the future if they are to take advantage of opportunities arising from economic growth. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

China's Development and Aid Presence in Africa

The Journal of Asian and African Studies published online 5 September 2014 a study titled "China's Development and Its Aid Presence in Africa: A Critical Reflection from the Perspective of Development Anthropology" by Zhongguang Niu, Minzu University in Beijing.  This link takes you to the abstract; you can then access the entire PDF text. 

The author argues that China's aid presence in Africa is imprinted with China's own development practices and makes the case by drawing on the experience of Chinese development aid to Ethiopia.  The paper discusses the potential roles of Chinese anthropologists, who have been surprisingly absent from development issues.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

IMF Article IV Consultation with Ethiopia

The International Monetary Fund published in October 2014 the Staff Report for the 2014 Article IV Consultation with Ethiopia.  This 76 page document concluded that Ethiopia's growth is expected to remain strong, driven mainly by agriculture and services.  Inflation should continue to remain in single digits, in line with a tight monetary policy.  Key downside risks include insufficient financing for infrastructure investment in the Growth and Transformation Plan, lower prices of main export commodities, and weather-related shocks, particularly a drought.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

China's Trade Patterns with African Countries

A recent and highly technical paper to be published in a forthcoming edition of The World Economy on China's trade patterns with African countries is available online.  Titled "The Gravity of China's African Export Promise," the authors are Lauren Johnston, Peking University, Stephen Morgan, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, and Yuesheng Wang, Peking University.  Using a gravity model of China's imports for the years 1995-2009, the authors explore potential dynamics for China's export promise.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ethopia Gets Good Marks on Climate Change

The Inter Press Service published on 16 October 2014 an article titled "Ethiopia Shows Developing World How to Make a Green Economy Prosper" by James Jeffrey.  The article concludes that Ethiopia appears to have heeded past problems and chosen to follow a different and more sustainable path. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

China's Economic Slowdown to Impact Africa

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK-based think tank, published a paper in September 2014 titled "Developing Countries and the Slowdown in China" by Judith Tyson, Jane Kennan, and Zhenbo Hou. 

The report notes that the IMF and OECD forecast a slowdown in China's gross domestic product (GDP) to 7.0 percent for 2015.  ODI estimates a slowdown towards 5 percent in GDP growth from 2015 if decisive policy action is taken and below 4 percent if it is not. 

The African countries most negatively affected will be those with relatively high exports to China by value as a percent of total exports.  African countries that export 10 percent or more of total exports by value to China include Mauritania, Zambia, Congo Republic, Cameroon, Gambia, Benin, and Ethiopia. 

China, Chad, Oil and the Environment

World Politics Review published on 14 October 2014 a short interview with Celeste Hicks titled "Chad Uses Environmental Rules to Keep Tight Grip on Oil Sector."  It provides a status report on the dispute between the government of Chad and the Chinese National Petroleum Company over oil extraction licenses and investment in the oil sector.

China and Africa

The China and Greece blog asked me to respond to three questions concerning the China-Africa relationship.  My responses appeared on the blog in English, Greek and Chinese

Monday, October 13, 2014

China's Expanding Role in the South Sudanese Civil War

China Brief published on 10 October 2014 an analysis titled "Testing the Limits: China's Expanding Role in the South Sudanese Civil War" by Zhou Hang, a Beijing-based researcher with the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The author concludes that the need for the Chinese government to protect its significant investments and nationals encourages Beijing to adopt  a more engaged policy in South Sudan. 

US-Africa Summit and the Future

George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs asked me to comment on the impact of the U.S.-Africa Summit that took place in Washington in August 2014.  It published the brief interview on 13 October 2014

Buidling Trust in Minneapolis Somali Community

The Minneapolis Star Tribune carried on 12 October 2014 an Associated Press article titled "Prosecutor Fights Terrorism by Building Trust" by Amy Forliti.  The focus of the article is the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis who is trying to work with the Somali community there to build mutual trust.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New York Times Reports on Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam

The New York Times published on 11 October 2014 a good update on Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam titled "Dam Rising in Ethiopia Stirs Hope and Tension" by Jacey Fortin.  The dam is now 32 percent complete. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kenya One Year after Westgate Mall

The Washington-based Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) Africa Watch publication published on 6 October 2014 a piece titled "Kenya's Security--Westgate One Year On" by George Ward, editor of Africa Watch.  He concluded that al-Shabaab remains a significant threat to Kenya's stability, and the group's potential for violence may even be increasing.

Al-Shabaab after the Fall of Barawe

Reuters published on 10 October 2014 an article datelined Barawe, Somalia, titled "Somalia's Islamist Rebels Down but not Out after Military Setbacks" by Feisal Omar.  The article describes the situation in Barawe following its recent fall to AMISOM troops and speculates on the future of al-Shabaab.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

US Policy on Sudan and South Sudan

Donald Booth, US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, gave a major policy speech on US relations with both countries at the Atlantic Council in Washington on 9 October 2014.  You can access the podcast and his written remarks titled "U.S. Policy on Sudan and South Sudan: The Way Forward" on the Atlantic Council website.

His remarks on South Sudan were a frank and hard hitting analysis of the failures in that country since independence.  He emphasized the United States remains committed to helping the people of South Sudan.  He was equally critical of the situation in Sudan but set down principles for a normalization of relations. 

Russia, Africa, Ebola, Ukraine, and African Markets

Pambazuka News published on 8 October 2014 a useful summary titled "The Threat of Ebola and Russia's Response" by Kester Kenn Klomegah, an independent researcher who specializes in Russia-Africa relations.  The article assesses Russia's contribution to combating Ebola in West Africa.

Klomegah authored another piece for Pambazuka News dated 9 October 2014 titled "Russian Markets Attracting African Exporters."  It looks at Russia's efforts to find replacement markets in Africa for agriculture products that have been sanctioned by both Russia and Western countries following Russian intervention in Ukraine. 

South Sudan Reverses Decision to Expel Foreign Workers

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 3 October 2014 a commentary titled "Too Much at Stake for South Sudan to Expel Foreign Workers" by Sebastian Gatimu, ISS Nairobi.

On 16 September 2014, the government of South Sudan ordered all non-governmental organizations, private companies, banks, insurance, telecommunications and petroleum companies, hotels and lodges to notify all foreign employees to cease working by 15 October.  On 17 September, the government reversed its decision after intense lobbying by diplomats.  The author acknowledges that South Sudanese need to be trained over time to fill more positions now occupied by foreigners but said the government of South Sudan went about this in the wrong way. 

Al-Shabaab after the Death of Godane

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published a commentary on 8 October 2014 titled "What Changes for Al-Shabaab after the Death of Godane?" by Berouk Mesfin, ISS Addis Ababa.   Mesfin concluded that over the long term, al-Shabaab will remain a major and actual threat in the Horn of Africa. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Somali Pirates versus Somali Pirates

The War is Boring blog published on 28 September 2014 a piece titled "Pro Tip for Pirates--Watch Out for Other Pirates: Somali Bandits Fight and Kill Each Other over Ransom for Kidnapped Journalist" by Robert Beckhusen.  This short article demonstrates what happens when Somali pirates obtain $1.6 million in ransom for a kidnapped journalist who was writing about piracy.  Other pirates then demand some of the money, resulting in the death of three pirates and two civilians. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ebola in Africa: Chinese versus Western Health Diplomacy

The Council of Councils published on 3 October 2014 an analysis titled "Ebola and Cultures of Engagement: Chinese Versus Western Health Diplomacy" by Erica Penfold and Pieter Fourie at the South African Institute for International Affairs.  It compares the Western and Chinese approach to combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and concludes that Western and Chinese health experts need to work together to find sustainable healthcare solutions to prevent such a disaster from occurring again.  Hear, hear!

Teaching China-Africa Relations

The September 2014 issue of The China Monitor published by the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University contains the following articles concerning the teaching of China-Africa relations:

--Engaging Academically with China in Africa: The Institutional Approach of the University of Botswana by Frank Youngman.
--Using the Internet to Teach China-Africa Relations: The China-Africa Project in the Seminar Room by Cobus van Staden.
--The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network: The Role of a Virtual Network on Increasing Africa's "East Asia Literacy" by Yoon Jung Park. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

China Halts Arms Sales to South Sudan

Bloomberg carried an article on 30 September 2014 titled "China Halts Arms Sales to South Sudan after Norinco Shipment" by Ilya Gridneff.  Following criticism of a $38 million arms shipment in June to South Sudan from the China North Industries Group Corporation, China announced that it was inappropriate to implement the remainder of the contract.