Monday, August 31, 2015

Ethiopia First Country to Benefit from Climate Fund

The African Development Bank announced on 26 August 2015 that Ethiopia is the first country to launch a project funded by the ClimDev Africa Special Fund (CDSF).  The 1 million Euro project will help Ethiopia cope with, and build resilience to, climate change by enhancing capacity in climate monitoring, data analysis, interpretation, forecasting, and dissemination for use in national decision-making.  CDSF is a joint project of the African Development Bank, African Union Commission, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Five Ways China's Economic Crisis Will Affect Africa

The BBC published on 27 August 2015 an article titled "Five Ways China's Economic Crisis Will Affect Africa."  It looks at the impact on African currency values, trade, investment, tourism, and loans. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Evolving China-Africa Security Relationship

The Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University invited me to make remarks at a conference focused on the upcoming FOCAC summit to be held in South Africa in December 2015.  The conference took place in Cape Town on 26-27 August 2015.  My remarks covered all issues related to "The Evolving China-Africa Security Relationship."

The Chinese People's Liberation Army in 2025

The Strategic Studies Institute and US Army War College Press published in July 2015 a 392 page edited volume titled "The Chinese People's Liberation Army in 2025."  The editors are Roy Kamphausen and David Lai. 

The analysis provides insights into the factors shaping the PLA's modernization, its potential future orientation ranging from internally focused to globally focused, and how the PLA's choices may impact China's relations with its neighbors and the world.

A PDF copy can be downloaded free of charge.

Friday, August 28, 2015

China-Africa: Interview with Deborah Brautigam

Ventures Africa published on 25 August 2015 a wide-ranging interview on China-Africa economic issues with Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Prospects for the South Sudan Peace Agreement

Chatham House published on 19 August 2015 a commentary titled "What Will It Take to Secure Lasting Peace in South Sudan?" by Dame Rosalind Marsden.

Although Salva Kiir signed the peace agreement after this piece was written, Dame Marsden is skeptical that the agreement will hold up. 

China and African Peace Operations

The first issue of the China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies published in April 2015 contains an article titled "Chinese Peace? An emergent Norm in African Peace Operations" by Steven C.Y. Kuo, analyst at Control Risks in Johannesburg.

The article highlights differences, identifies tensions, and recognizes complementarities between the dominant liberal and the emergent Chinese approach to peace building.  There is a special emphasis on Chinese peace operations in Liberia.  You can access a PDF version of the article by simply registering with the journal, which is published by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The BRICS: the Northern and Southern Connections

The Diplomatist published in August 2015 an analysis titled "Ufa and BRICS-SCO Connection Eurasia-Indian Ocean Nexus" by Francis Kornegay, Institute for Global Dialogue in South Africa.  He notes the differences between the northern and southern members of the BRICS and suggests that India may be the linchpin between the two groups.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

African Cities Are Starting to Look Like Chinese Cities

Quartz Africa published on 16 August 2015 an article titled "Photos: African Cities Are Starting to Look Eerily Like Chinese Ones" by Lily Kuo.  The author demonstrates with photos the impact Chinese companies have had on building Chinese-like infrastructure in African urban areas.

China's Economic Slowdown and the Impact on Africa

Two recent articles have looked at the impact on Africa of China's economic slowdown and devaluation of its currency.  The East African published on 17 August 2015 an article titled "China's in Trouble; Is that Good or Bad for Africa?" by Charles Onyango-Obbo.  The Mail & Guardian Africa published on 13 August 2015 an article titled "China, the Continent's Biggest Trade Partner, Has Freed Its Currency.  Which African Nations Have the Most to Fear?" by Lee Mwiti.  Both articles concluded that African countries need to trade more among themselves than rely on trade with countries outside Africa.

Angola's Economic Problems Highlight Ties to China

The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch published on 20 August 2015 an analysis titled "Angola's Economic Problems Highlight Ties to China" by George Ward.  Oil accounts for 90 percent of Angola's exports and much of it goes to China.  The drop in the price of oil has harmed Angola's GDP and put a strain on China-Angola economic relations.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chinese Investment in Africa

Brookings published in August 2015 a study titled "Why Is China Investing in Africa? Evidence from the Firm Level" by David Dollar, Brookings, Heiwai Tang, Johns Hopkins University, and Wenjie Chen, George Washington University.

The study makes the following key points.  Contrary to popular belief, China accounts for only about 3 percent of the stock of direct investment in Africa.  Chinese investment is attracted to natural resource wealth, but no more so than Western investment.  Chinese investment is indifferent to the recipient countries' property rights and rule of law, whereas Western investment tends to stay away from the poor governance environments. 

China's Special Economic Zone in Mauritius: A Cautionary Tale

The China Africa Project put online on 14 August 2015 a 23-minute podcast titled "China's Special Economic Zones in Africa: Lots of Hype, Little Hope" with James Wan, editor of the Royal African Society's editorial site African Arguments.  The title is something of a misnomer as the interview is confined to the problems experienced by the special economic zone in Mauritius.  Wan attributes the problems in Mauritius to the poor timing of the project just ahead of the Western economic crisis in 2007-2009 and the selection of Chinese companies to run the zone that were inexperienced in Africa.  Wan concluded that it may be necessary to reconfigure the zone before it can become successful.  

China's Media Expansion in Africa

African Arguments published on 18 August 2015 a commentary titled "Propaganda or Proper Journalism? China's Media Expansion in Africa" by African Arguments editor James Wan.  He notes the extraordinary effort to expand official Chinese media coverage in Africa, especially CCTV, but concludes that most African viewers remain skeptical of Chinese state-owned media.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A More Equitable Humanitarian System

African Development Solutions (Adeso), in consultation with other national and local nongovernmental organizations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, has developed a position paper titled "A More Dignified and Equitable Humanitarian System: How to Truly Localize Aid" to influence the future policy direction of the humanitarian system.  The paper highlights the changes that need to be implemented from the perspective of local nongovernmental organizations to create a more effective humanitarian system in the future.  The paper calls for donors, international nongovernmental organizations and policy makers to put people back at the center of the humanitarian system.  Adeso operates in Somalia, Kenya, and South Sudan.

Friday, August 14, 2015

South Sudan's Peace Process Requires Inclusion

The Weekly Wonk published on 13 August 2015 a commentary titled "Without Inclusion, No Hope for Peace in South Sudan" by Kelly Case, program manager for The Institute for Inclusive Security.  She argues the best way to achieve peace in South Sudan is to prioritize meaningful representation of civil society, especially women's groups, in all decision-making bodies related to the peace process.

Sudan: What Next?

African Arguments published on 13 August 2015 an analysis titled "Sudan: What Next?" by Magnus Taylor, Sudan and Uganda analyst for the International Crisis Group.

He concluded that attempts to encourage an end to Sudan's worsening conflicts and to halt the deterioration of economic conditions for the impoverished majority, continues to suffer from the political vacuum within the NCP--a lack of agreement among the NCP's diverse internal constituencies and especially the military's resistance to concessions to the Sudanese Revolutionary Front--and an absence of credible alternatives. 

Policy Briefs on China-Africa Relations

The Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University published in August 2015 three policy briefs dealing with different issues in the China-Africa relationship in anticipation of FOCAC VI to be held in South Africa this year.

One is titled "South Africa-China Multi-lateral Co-operation: BRICS and FOCAC" by Yejoo Kim and Nusa Tukic.  The paper discusses the importance of South Africa's growing role as a member of the BRICS and FOCAC, how they can contribute to South Africa's sustainable development, and how South Africa can take advantage of membership in both organizations.

Another is titled "Preparing for FOCAC VI: China-South Africa Co-operation in Conservation and Renewable Energy" by Meryl Burgess and Harrie Esterhuyse.  It examines the role of these two themes as a way of demonstrating some of the concrete ways in which China-Africa interaction is evolving in a world where sustainable development has become key.

The third is titled "The Temptations and Promotion of 'China Dream': Calling for Africa's Home-grown Rhetoric" by Paul Tembe.  It discusses the domestic context of the Chinese Dream and analyses its extension into Africa in the form of the African Dream.  It suggests the need to establish an African home-grown rhetoric that will help Africa maximize gains in the spaces provided by China's paradigm shift and offer lessons that will better prepare China for engagement in Africa. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Security Sector Reform in Africa

The Institute for Defense Analyses published on 13 August 2015 a brief analysis titled "Challenges and Opportunities for Security Sector Reform in Africa" by Alexander Noyes.  The author describes as failures security sector reform programs in Somalia, Guinea Bissau, and the DRC.  Successes include military reform in South Africa and Burundi and police reform in Kenya. 

Sudan's Military Discreetly Reorganized

Berouk Mesfin, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) senior researcher based in Addis Ababa, gave a presentation on 12 August 2015 concerning Sudan's military.  A summary of his remarks titled "View on Africa: Sudan's Military Discreetly Reorganized" appeared on the ISS website.

Berouk reported that the new Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) command is seen by a number of military experts as consisting of officers who are primarily President Omar al-Bashir's staunchest loyalists.  He described the government of al-Bashir as in survival mode.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

South Sudan: Little Hope for Settlement

The International Business Times published on 11 August 2015 an article titled "South Sudan Peace Talks Resume with High Stakes but Little Hope for Resolution" by Morgan Winsor.

All of the people interviewed for the article were pessimistic about the prospects for peace in South Sudan following the 17 August deadline set by the international community. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Auditors Probe SINOPEC Oil Investment in Angola

Caixin Online published on 4 August 2015 an article titled "Auditors Probe Sinopec, Savvy Broker in Angola" by Huang Kaixi, Wang Xiaobing, and Yu Ning.  The story looks at the business dealings of Hong Kong businessman Sam Pa and his relations with the state-run China Petroleum and Chemical Group (SINOPEC). 

For further background on Sam Pa and the Queensway Group, see the posting on this blog on 5 May 2015.  

African View of American and Chinese Leadership

Gallup published an article dated 6 August 2015 titled "U.S. Still Leads China in Leadership Approval in Africa" by Magali Rheault and Justin McCarthy.  It surveyed public opinion in 11 African countries in 2014 and compared the results with 2009.  The countries included Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. 

The United States experienced a greater overall decline than China between 2009 and 2014 in its leadership approval rating.  Nevertheless, eight of the eleven countries gave the United States a higher leadership approval ranking in 2014 than they did for China, which scored better in Kenya, Tanzania, and Niger. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Kenya's Lake Turkana and Ethiopia's Hydropower Projects

The National Geographic magazine published in August 2015 an article titled "The Last Rites for the Jade Sea?" by Neil Shea.  It discusses the potential impact on Lake Turkana in Kenya of a series of dams on the Omo River in Ethiopia, which supplies 90 percent of the water for Lake Turkana.  It includes an excellent map in the upper left hand corner of the article that can be enlarged.

Is Ethiopia's Ruling Party Securing or Smothering the Country's Democracy?

Ventures Africa published on 7 August 2015 a commentary titled "Is Ethiopia's Ruling Party Securing or Smothering the Country's Democracy?" by Onyedimmakachukwu Obiukwu. 

The author praises Ethiopia's economic growth but is highly critical of its crackdown on journalists, bloggers, and the media.