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The China in Africa Podcast

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Location:

United States

Description:

A lively discussion on China's engagement across Africa hosted by veteran journalists Eric Olander in Paris and Cobus van Staden in Cape Town.

Language:

English


Episodes

Why Gambian migrants are giving up on their "China Dream"

8/8/2016
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They did not know very much about China but they had heard it was the world's second largest economy and Africa's leading trading partner, so they assumed there must be opportunity. Europe, of course, was their first choice but with EU countries overwhelmed by migrants and cracking down on smugglers, China would have to do. Lured by deceptive visa brokers, hundreds, possibly thousands of young Gambian men leveraged everything they had to pay for the long journey from Banjul to...

Duration: 00:34:15


The honeymoon between China and Africa is over and that's a good thing

7/30/2016
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It wasn't that long ago when it was all smiles between the Chinese and Africans. Remember? The headlines were all about "win-win" development, China's role in helping Africa to rise above its colonial past and investment, lots and lots of Chinese investment. Every year, trade between the two would surge to new, record highs. Those were indeed good days. Now, things are different. A seemingly never-ending slump in commodity and oil prices is taking its toll on Africa's export-reliant...

Duration: 00:30:42


There are a lot more Chinese soldiers in Africa today... and likely more to come

7/26/2016
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Over the past five years the Chinese military presence in Africa has undergone a profound change. Until 2012, the Chinese were happy to play a low-key support role in multinational peacekeeping operations on the continent, preferring to send military engineers and medical staff rather than deploy combat forces. Today, that is no longer the case. China is in fact the eighth-largest supplier of troops for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and the largest among the five permanent Security...

Duration: 00:31:06


China's relationship status with South Africa: "it's complicated"

7/19/2016
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South Africa's relationship with China has undergone a profound transformation in a remarkably short period of time. In less than twenty years, these two countries have gone from barely acknowledging one another to developing a deep partnership that transcends economics, politics and ideology. Pretoria's recent public backing of Beijing's position in the bitter territorial dispute in the South China Sea highlights how these two countries have widened their engagement with one another, far...

Duration: 00:30:27


China was once a hot destination for African migrants, not anymore

7/11/2016
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It was not that long ago that entire neighborhoods in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were overflowing with African migrants. Although there are no precise figures, scholars estimated that between 20,000-100,000 African immigrants used to lived in Guangzhou, or as it is glibly known as "chocolate city." Today, those same neighborhoods, once filled with halal food shops and other stores that catered to China's African migrants, have been completely transformed, or as the Chinese...

Duration: 00:20:49


The danger of too much Chinese debt in Africa

7/5/2016
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The financial implosion in Venezuela is prompting growing concern in Beijing that China may have been too ambitious in its drive to loan billions of dollars to high-risk countries throughout the global south. Persistently low oil prices combined with corrupt, incompetent leadership in Caracas have pushed the country to the brink of economic collapse. The dire situation in Venezuela raises the real possibility that for the first time a country will default on its to debt to China. Far more...

Duration: 00:27:30


Namibia's Chinese ivory smugglers

6/27/2016
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Namibia is the rare country in Africa that seems to be holding its own against ivory poachers. Whereas in most other southern African countries the elephant population is being decimated, in Namibia, according to the government, the number of elephants has actually increased by 20% since 2005 to over 20,000. Namibia's zero tolerance policy for poachers may explain in part why they have been able to succeed where so many other states have failed. Yet despite their best efforts, the illegal...

Duration: 00:25:00


Why the stakes are so high for China in South Sudan

6/21/2016
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Nowhere else in Africa do China's financial, diplomatic and geopolitical interests confront as much risk as they do in South Sudan. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in the country's oil sector, deployed over a thousand troops to serve as UN Peacekeepers and committed considerable diplomatic capital to help resolve the ongoing civil/ethnic war between President Salva Kiir against former Vice President Riek Machar. Even though Beijing has repeatedly deployed its most senior...

Duration: 00:36:49


Industrialization in Africa: Ethiopia wants to become the new 'Made in China'

6/8/2016
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There's a pretty good chance that some of the clothes you're wearing, the shoes on your feet and even the device you're using to read this were made in China. Even as its economy slows, China remains the world's factory, churning out billions of dollars every year of goods. The government, though, wants to change this which could be a huge opportunity for countries like Ethiopia and Africa as a whole. As China transitions its economy from manufacturing to services, 85 million jobs will be...

Duration: 00:41:40


Outrage over the #RacistChineseAd: what did we learn?

5/29/2016
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The company behind the racist Chinese laundry detergent ad that sparked widespread online outrage around the world issued a half-hearted apology for the uproar it caused. Actually, it was one of those 'we're sorry if anyone was offended' kind of apologies, nonethelessShanghai Leishang Cosmetics did say sorry to Africans for any misunderstandings caused by the Qiaobi detergent ad: "We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the...

Duration: 00:34:38


Everything you ever wanted to know about the Chinese in Africa... but were too afraid to ask

5/25/2016
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The Chinese presence in Africa has been so sudden and so all-encompassing that it's left a lot of people confused. Chinese farmers now compete for space and customers in Lusaka's open-air markets, Chinese textiles are undercutting Nigerian manufacturers, tens of thousands of Africans now work for Chinese companies and hundreds of thousands, even millions of Chinese now call Africa home. This has all happened in just the past decade, leaving people little time to adjust and understand the...

Duration: 00:43:48


Why more Chinese companies in Africa are choosing to be good neighors

5/11/2016
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Chinese companies around the world, particularly in Africa, have a well-earned reputation for being bad corporate citizens. There are countless stories of labor rights violations, disregard of environmental policies and lack of engagement with local communities among many other allegations. While all of these examples highlight a serious problem in China's overseas corporate governance, it doesn't tell the whole story. New research from the International Institute for Environment and...

Duration: 00:40:14


Race, culture and the politics of being black in China

5/4/2016
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Being black in China is not easy, but it's not as bad as many would have you think, according to our two guests this week who are both black immigrants currently living in Beijing. Sure, people stare a lot and there are often some inappropriate questions about hair and skin color but more often than not says Black Lives in China creator Nicole Bonnah, those awkward questions come from a good place: curiosity. Nicole, originally from the United Kingdom, is a Beijing-based journalist who is...

Duration: 00:34:25


As China & other BRICS slow their investments in Africa, Turkey ramps up

4/27/2016
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Remember when the BRICS were going to power the global economy? Well, the past few years have not been kind to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. With the exception of India, the other members of this once elite diplomatic club are struggling in many different ways. So while China and other emerging markets have pared back their investments in Africa, this has opened an opportunity for new players to step in to the market. Although Turkey's annual trade with Africa is just a...

Duration: 00:28:58


The long arm of Chinese law reaches all the way to Kenya

4/20/2016
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The Kenyan government's consent to a Chinese request for the deportation of dozens of alleged cyber and telecom fraud has now bloomed into a full scale diplomatic crisis. Among those forcibly sent to China included dozens of Taiwan nationals, many of who were cleared on all charges by Kenya's courts. The Taiwan government, for its part,blasted Beijing for orchestrating an "uncivilised act of abduction" that is illegal under international law. Not surprisingly, the Chinese government...

Duration: 00:40:48


China's growing appetite for African real estate

4/13/2016
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Amid a prolonged economic downturn and a weakening yuan, Chinese investors have steadily turned their focus to buying overseas assets. While there are a number of complicated reasons behind the massive capital outflows over the past 18 months, the fact remains that both individual and corporate investors are looking abroad for growth opportunities and hedges against currency fluctuations at home. In 2015, an estimated 750 billion dollars of Chinese money left the country. For individuals,...

Duration: 00:20:09


A Chinese journalist reflects on reporting the China-Africa story

4/6/2016
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How foreign journalists report on the China-Africa story is often determined by the national origin of their news organization. While there are no doubt exceptions, the US news media frequently frame China as the neo-colonial aggressor and Africa as the persistent victim of foreign agendas. The French, for their part, too often simply ignore the story and the Chinese frame Sino-African ties in almost exclusively positive terms that echo official policy positions. These so-called "embedded...

Duration: 00:26:47


When China sneezes, does Africa catch a cold?

3/30/2016
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Chinese government officials have been on all-out PR offensive across Africa lately to reassure increasingly nervous political and business leaders that even though China's economy may be slowing it will not affect the PRC's investment plans in Africa. Africans, for their part, have reason to be worried. Chinese trade with the continent has fallen sharply, 40% by some estimates, in 2015. Similarly, Chinese FDI in Africa plunged a staggering 84% last year. With commodity prices still at...

Duration: 00:23:58


Continental Shift: How China is Changing Africa

3/23/2016
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In their new book "Continental Shift: A Journey into Africa's 21st Century," South African authors Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak embarked on 14-country odyssey across two continents over a span of five years to report on Africa's changing economic, political and social landscapes. What they discovered along the way was that China's role had become pivotal in so many of the African countries they visited. The Chinese presence in Africa, they observed, "is the defining phenomenon of our...

Duration: 00:43:20


Behind the scenes at The China Africa Project

3/19/2016
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Every couple of years we like to take a break from our usual routine of discussing the week's leading China/Africa news or interviewing analysts in order to take our listeners behind the scenes at The China Africa Project. Every month, Eric & Cobus receive quite a bit of feedback on the show via email, Twitter, Facebook and even Weibo in Chinese. While we do try to respond to each correspondence, we also enjoy sharing some of the comments and questions with all of our listeners (including...

Duration: 00:37:04

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