The Centre for Chinese Studies

The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS), at Stellenbosch University, serves as the most prominent and high quality point of reference for the study of China and East Asia on the African continent.


CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (Africa) |Paving the road ahead – China-Africa co-operation in the infrastructure sector

CCS_PB_Infrastructure_FOCAC_NT_YK_2015Policy Briefing No. 6 – November 2015

China has launched a number of initiatives regarding infrastructural development globally, with a specific focus on scaling up infrastructure throughout the African continent. The BRICS New Development Bank and Chinese infrastructure initiatives such as the China-led Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) are expected to play a significant role ranging from financing to technology transfer. In January 2015, China and the Africa Union (AU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on infrastructural development. China and the AU have agreed to put collective effort into improving Africa’s infrastructure including high speed railways, aviation, and road highways. Against this background, the Second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will be a platform accelerating the co-operation between China and African states at multiple levels in the infrastructure sector. Prior to the Summit, we should scrutinise Sino-African co-operation in infrastructure both in the past and present in order to map out the future relationship and determine what opportunities and challenges lie in the future. This policy brief offers an overview of Chinese engagement in Africa, with a specific focus on East Africa. In recent years, the East African region in particular has been one of the most prominent beneficiaries of this development, with mega projects including Kenya’s Port Lamu, the Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor and the construction of a Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya. The brief examines the transport sector and its potential to connect African countries by reducing the costs of moving people and goods, and integrating markets. [Continue reading]

CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (Africa) |Raising the bar on sustainable development: Renewable energy and environmental standards in FOCAC VI

CCS_PB_Africa_China_FOCAC_HE_MB_2015Policy Briefing No. 5 – November 2015 

The 6th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is taking place at a time when Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are high on most international development agendas. Two important aspects of this agenda include environmental protection and the promotion of renewable energy. This policy briefing examines the promotion of renewable energy and the importance of environmental standards in Africa, within the China-Africa relationship.  [Continue reading]

CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (Africa) |China and the African Regional Economic Communities: Transforming Multilateral Cooperation

CCS_PB_REC_DB__BT_2015Policy Briefing No. 4 – November 2015

Recently, China has increased its economic, political and military co-operation with the African Union (AU). The diversity of members within the AU makes the continental approach more complicated for both Chinese and African actors. This is largely due to the AU’s lack of instrumental capacity, resulting from its financial and structural weakness, as an inter-governmental actor. This policy brief highlights an alternative platform through which co-operation could be fostered. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) increase the bargaining power of African states, without losing the instrumental capacity of implementing and monitoring policies effectively. China’s engagement with the RECs would not only nurture regional integration, but also enhance China’s co-operation with Africa as a whole. In the following briefing, we argue that increased co-operation with regional organisations is necessary as China’s bilateral and continental engagements face institutional, political and economic challenges. The RECs need to move to the forefront of the Sino-African dialogue in order to satisfy Africa’s aspiration for global markets and China’s interest in increased political, economic and cultural co-operation. [Continue reading]

Environmental matters at FOCAC VI: more than just “other matters”

CCS_Commentary_FOCAC_ENVIRO_MB_16NOV201516 November 2015

The Second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will be held in Johannesburg on December 4-5 under the theme: “Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Co-operation for Common Development”. In a recent press briefing, South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane stated “it is envisaged that the Johannesburg Summit will elevate the Africa-China relationship to a new level that would have a beneficial impact and give impetus to Africa’s developmental agenda”. According to the minister, “the FOCAC platform provides an opportunity to further stimulate growth and unlock new opportunities between China and Africa on trade and other matters”. One hopes that these “other matters” will include environmental protection and an emphasis on sustainable development. With an increase in trade and investment in Africa, there has already been damage done to the environment because of major projects as well as the loss of biodiversity. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that the upcoming FOCAC emphasises the environment and the need for sustainable development alongside economic growth. [Continue reading]

By Meryl BurgessCCS_Research_Analyst_Meryl_12
Research Analyst
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

CCS in the Media

“Chinese workers brave Ebola and win friends” – Mail and Guardian

CCS_Image_Mail_and_Gaurdian02 October 2015

As workers fled the outbreak in West Africa, China International Water and Electric employees stayed put to finish the Kaleta dam in Guinea. Is this helping improve the image of the Chinese in Africa? Yejoo Kim, a Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Chinese Studies talks to the Mail and Guardian. [Read full article]