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[PODCAST] Chinese debt in Africa: how much is too much?

African countries are once again binging on foreign debt. Across the continent, external debt has risen sharply, by almost 50% since 2010 according to data from the World Bank, to an estimated 416 billion dollars. Unlike 20–30 years ago when Africa turned to the west for cash, today China is the creditor of choice. The Chinese are shelling out massive ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Who’d you rather work for in Kenya: a U.S. or Chinese company?

Chinese companies, generally, have a terrible reputation in Africa when it comes to labor relations. There are widely-held perceptions PRC firms are often abusive, insensitive and generally have a poor track record when dealing with African employees. Reports of human rights violations at Zambian mines, late pay for Kenyan railway workers and poor treatment of construction crews in Cameroon are just a few examples of the kinds of infractions that ... Read More »

Chinese E-commerce Meets East African Tech

The following article was written by Dong Yuntong, a fellow at China House Kenya “I usually check online shopping websites because I like their convenience, relatively guaranteed quality and affordability,” explains John. Despite working in one of the biggest shopping centers in Nairobi, Kenya, over the past few years he has found himself more and more enjoying online shopping, which he ... Read More »

[AUDIO] The hollow rules governing China-Africa investment

Even though China is one of Africa’s largest investors, ranked seventh overall according to Ernst & Young, there are surprisingly few rules that govern private-sector investments between these two regions. These rules are established through bilateral investment treaties, or BITs, where two countries agree upon a set of standards for corporate investment. While these BITs are popular in Europe and the U.S., ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Chinese tourist arrivals in Africa are up, so why aren’t African travel companies more excited?

Africa is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination among adventure-seeking Chinese tourists. The numbers of visitors who went to Africa in 2016 was up sharply due to looser visa restrictions and new direct flights between China and Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa among other popular destinations. Chinese arrivals in South Africa alone were up 93% last year. You’d think this would be great news for Africa’s ... Read More »

[AUDIO] How Rwanda attracts Chinese money and migrants without the lure of natural resources

 It is a widely-held perception that Chinese investment in Africa is guided by a strategic foreign policy agenda focused on securing vast amount of natural resources. This narrative fits nicely with an outdated Western colonial stereotype of how foreign countries engage Africa. However, in the case of the Chinese, this narrative is only partially correct. Earlier this year, the China-Africa ... Read More »

[AUDIO] IMF missteps over huge China deal in the Congo proves costly

In 2007 when China’s Exim Bank unveiled a massive $6 billion mining deal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it completely rocked the normally-staid world of international development finance. The agreement, known as “The China Deal” or Sicomines, was among the first of these huge Chineese infrastructure-for-resources deals that are now commonplace across Africa. Ten years ago, though, the ... Read More »

[AUDIO] The complicated role Chinese business plays in Kenyan corruption

One of the many simple, widely-believed narratives about the Chinese in Africa is that PRC businesses fuel corruption across the continent. That caricature, although overly-simplistic, is amplified by China’s insistence there be little to no transparency in most of its government and corporate transactions in Africa. So the combination of a Chinese veil over its business dealings with the prevalence of corruption that already exists ... Read More »

[AUDIO] Africa confronts tough choices as economies falter, instability rises

Faced with slumping economies, restive populations and, in many areas, the surging threat of sectarian violence, a growing number of African countries stand at a critical juncture where they must decide who to turn to for help: to their new friends in Beijing or to those ‘lenders of last resort’ in Washington, London and Brussels. Now that the days of ... Read More »

[AUDIO] The danger of too much Chinese debt in Africa

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 ... Read More »