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China-Africa in the news: Stadium diplomacy, contract troubles in Rwanda and Uganda, and the Mandarin bug

Tamale Stadium in Tamale, Ghana. The stadium, commissioned in 2008, was financed by Chinese aid and also built by a Chinese company. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

By 2010, according to Elliot Ross’ ‘China’s Stadium Diplomacy in Africa’ (published by Roads and Kingdoms in 2014), there were 50 stadiums across Africa built with Chinese government support. “If you want to see the heart of China’s soft-power push into Africa,” Ross writes, “you’ll find it in the continent’s new soccer stadia.” China builds a stadium at a relatively low cost, local politicians present it as proof of their development efforts, and China (and Chinese businesses) is rewarded with access to political leaders. Continue Reading

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China-Africa in the news: Loan deals, a damning report, and peacekeepers for S. Sudan

Peacekeeping - UNAMID

The recent visits to China by the Zambia and Uganda Presidents resulted in a number of several deals that will see the Chinese government and companies investing in the two countries. Edward Lungu and Yoweri Museveni were in China for… Continue Reading

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China-Africa in the news: South Africa’s visa rules, apples, and more debt concerns

Lungu-Keqiang

The manager of the Chinese restaurant at the center of a racism row in Nairobi, Kenya, was released on bail this week. Esther Yang is charged with operating the restaurant without a license. She is also accused of working without… Continue Reading

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Sick in Uganda? Call the Chinese doctor

Chinese Doctors in Uganda

“People know I am particularly good for back ache, neck ache, sciatica, skin diseases,” he says. “I am actually specialised in Western medicine, but lots of people come to me for Chinese traditional medicine as well as acupuncture and massage therapy. Chinese medicine is still underdeveloped in Uganda, but its popularity is growing.” Continue Reading

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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