On the trail of China’s dragon head companies in East Africa

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang with Presidents Museveni of Uganda, Kenya's Kenyatta, Rwanda's Kagame and Salva Kiir of S. Sudan on May 11, 2014, during the signing ceremony of the Standard Gauge Railway agreement at the State House in Nairobi.

At the outset, it is worth pointing out that the presence of Chinese companies in East Africa is too extensive, multi-layered and intricate to be covered comprehensively in one fell swoop. With over 1000 companies engaged in fields as diverse as mining, infrastructure, telecommunication, hospitality and manufacturing, any attempt at providing a holistic picture is over-ambitious and the best attempts can only offer snippets of understanding. Continue Reading


China-Africa in the news: China hosts South Sudan rebels, Chinese firms exporting “tools of torture,” and Shanghai Electric wins $1.2 billion contract in Namibia

SS Rebels

South Sudan rebels travelled to Beijing, China, to meet with Chinese government officials over the conflict in South Sudan. The rebel delegation was in Beijing on the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, according to China Daily. The China Daily… Continue Reading


South Africa’s Chinese celebrate their double heritage

Members of the Chinese Association in South Africa celebrate the arrival of the new year in 2014.

Apart from the legendary visits by Chinese seafarers under the command of Admiral Zheng He in the 15th century at Mogadishu (Somalia) and Lamu and Malindi in Kenya, the only other mainland African country to register an early presence of the Chinese is South Africa. – Continue Reading


China-Africa in the news: China’s Ebola efforts earn both praise and criticism, Mali secures funding from Beijing, and claims of corruption in Zimbabwe’s Chinese-funded projects


China ramped up its support to efforts aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, announcing $32 million worth of humanitarian aid and sending 59 laboratory personnel to the region. This is on top of the $5 million worth… Continue Reading


China-Africa in the news: China to deploy troops to South Sudan, build steel plant in South Africa, and give more loans to Zimbabwe

China will deploy 700 troops to South Sudan later this year as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country. UN Photo/Stuart Price.

China to deploy troops to South Sudan China will deploy 700 troops to South Sudan later this year as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country. Contrary to initial reports of the decision, the soldiers are not… Continue Reading


China, South Africa and the Dalai Lama: costs and benefits

When Nelson Mandela met the Dalai Lama, Mandela hailed his commitment to the values of “every decent human being”.

Whether the government grants or does not grant a political figure from far-flung India a visa to come to South Africa is of little concern to rural farmers in Kwa-Zulu Natal or Mpumalanga. These populations are the bread and butter of the ANC electorate; denying the Dalai Lama a visa will have little bearing on who they will vote for in the next election. Continue Reading


Mugabe’s Look East policy wears thin

Mugabe & Xi Jinping

In swallowing humble pie to start courting Western financiers again, Mugabe and his strategists must have looked into the crystal ball and contemplated a scary scenario of total collapse of an already fragile economy. That all the painstaking assurances to turn a new leaf and play by the book – respect for property rights for instance – were largely snubbed by Western financial and economic entities, is a fact that explains Mugabe’s turn to the familiar Look East policy. Continue Reading


The implications of Chinese food scandals on foreign markets

DW Tainted food

More and more, the Chinese population is reluctant to consume “made in China” food products. China’s growing middle class is increasingly aiming at acquiring quality food supplies from overseas, particularly when it comes to dairy and meat products. This domestic shift is having a significant impact on the international food market, including Africa. Continue Reading