The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Stellenbosch University is the leading African research institution for innovative and policy relevant analysis of the relations between China and Africa.
On 15 July 2014 at Fortaleza, Brazil, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping announced the establishment of two financial institutions: the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The NDB will finance infrastructure and development projects; the CRA will provide liquidity in times of financial difficulties. Many commentators saw the move as an effort on the part of China – the clear heavyweight among the five – to challenge “the West’s” grip on global finance. China, they argued, was bent on replacing the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with organisations better aligned with its interests. Similarly, China’s promotion of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to be set up in October this year, is seen as a Chinese attempt to supplant the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which Japan and the United States of America (USA) control. These developments take place amid growing concerns about the implications of the internationalisation of the renminbi (RMB), China’s currency, for the supremacy of the US dollar. On the surface, the new initiatives seem to indicate China’s drive to challenge the status quo. However, a careful examination of China’s recent activity in global finance reveals that Chinese ambitions are less bold than they appear, at least for now. [Read full briefing here]
By Maxime Lauzon-Lacroix
Centre for Chinese Studies
The development of effective African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) stands to benefit African countries immensely. Transnational free trade regions, single customs unions, single markets, single currencies and other forms of political and economic integration have the potential to strengthen both inter-regional and international trade as well as creating more robust solutions to issues of food, climate, health and political security. Nevertheless, implementation has proved a formidable challenge: lack of adequate economic and political structures, institutions and policies has impeded progress. The ability to strengthen many aspects of RECs are up to member states: agreeing on a set of political and socio-economic strategic priorities at the core of regional integration, implementing mechanisms for co-operation and integration as well as ensuring compliance are all challenges which need to be negotiated internally. A crucial aspect is formulating coherent policy on how to engage with external actors. Along with the European Union and the United States of America, China is now an undeniably influential actor with regards to all African RECs. With a co-ordinated China policy, RECs can effectively foster regional integration through both increased trade capacity and infrastructural development. This policy brief
focuses on three RECs – SADC (Southern African Development Community); ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the EAC (East African community) – as illustration of how Chinese investment has been harnessed. [Continue reading]
The rapid expansion of Chinese investments in Africa has generated considerable interest among analysts of law, politics and economics. The said investments have sparked both hope and uncertainty about the true intentions of China on African soil and the implications they have on the development of African economies. Without sufficient official data available in most African countries let alone less transparent Namibia and Zimbabwe, especially in regards to data related to Chinese investments, it is rather intricate to ascertain with certainty the actual negative or positive contribution of Chinese investments to the said economies. In trying to decode the controversies that are attached to Chinese investments in Africa one is left to question the laws binding on the two countries and the regulatory framework within which Chinese investors conduct their business. [Coming soon!]
Report: China-Africa agricultural co-operation – Mutual benefits or self-interest?
by Rex Ukaejiofo
This paper aims to contribute to the discourse on strategies, achievements and challenges of China and Africa agricultural cooperation while examining the relevance and implications of China’s motives in Africa’s food security concerns. It is worthy of note that some African commentators notable among them is Professor Ayittey an economist at the American University in a facilitated debate by the Economist, labels China’s investment in Africa as self-serving, this paper seeks to address the question: Is China’s investment in African agriculture, indeed mutual benefit or for self-interest? In order to better determine the nature and intention of its growing investments in African Agriculture; it is necessary to examine the details of this engagement in Africa. As a second objective, the paper also seeks to examine the engagement in Africa’s agricultural development and its potential impact on Africa’s food security concerns. Chinese investments in agriculture, though worth applauding, have not yet translated into well-meaning development to African states as voiced by regional stakeholders. [Download report - Ukaejiofo]
These research reports are part of the outcomes of the CCS scholarship programme, Phandulwazi nge China (“Knowledge about China” in isiXhosa). The scholarships offer opportunities for African researchers to spend research time at the Centre in order to advance mutual learning and a better exchange on interpretations of political, economic or environmental impact of Chinese engagement in Africa. This programme is kindly supported by Open Society Foundation.
AFRASO – Goethe University, Frankfurt/Germany
The Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch/South Africa
Conference Announcement – Call for Papers
African-Asian Encounters (II) Re-Thinking African-Asian Relationships: Changing Realities – New Concepts
24 - 26 March 2015
Stellenbosch, South Africa
CCS in the Media
Dr Ross Anthony, Interim Head CCS, discusses the future of research on China’s influence in Africa with Mandy Garner. China’s presence, particularly its economic presence, is relatively new in Africa, rising significantly only over the past decade or so. According to Dr Anthony, “there has been an institutional lag in responding to this challenge which is exacerbated by the lack of resources many African countries have to deal with”. [Read full article here]