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.

Latest Commentary

The Internationalisation of Renminbi in an African Context

chinas-renminbi19 September 2016

Beyond the usual motifs of China-Africa co-operation in infrastructural development and extractive industries, the forthcoming inclusion of the Chinese Renminbi (RMB) into the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Drawing Rights Basket on 1st October 2016 potentially harkens new types of financial co-operation between China and Africa. Including the RMB into the global basket of reserve currencies is a natural corollary to China’s expanding scale of trade and investment flows globally, and Africa is a region with rising uptake of the RMB given the depth of China-Africa mutual interests. However, these new modes of financial co-operation also depend on China’s own complicated relationship between RMB internationalisation, capital account liberalisation and exchange rates regimes. Resultantly, these complications can affect the speed of RMB uptake in Africa, such as the non-granting of Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) status, while exerting spillovers effects to China-Africa outbound Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). [Continue reading]

By Yi Ren Thng
Visiting Scholar
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University


Recent Publications

Economic repercussions of the Look East Policy in Zimbabwe

ccs_pb_china_zimbabwe_look-east-policy_2016Policy Brief no. 3 – September 2016

In 2003, Zimbabwe formally announced the Look East Policy (LEP) in the face of economic sanctions by the West. This, coupled with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) of 2000, has strengthened trade and bilateral investments between Zimbabwe and China. China is increasingly involved in Zimbabwe’s agriculture, mining, construction, and tourism industries. There is also an influx of Chinese entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe’s retail industry. The repercussions of the LEP have been mixed. In this policy brief, we critically engage with three sectors: agriculture, mining, and the informal sector; in order to provide an overview of the effects that LEP has had on Zimbabwe focusing on the period 2010-2016. We also propound some recommendations for more positive outcomes in the future. [Continue reading]


CCS in the Media

Why is China buying up the global supply of donkeys?

29 September 2016cnn-logo-white

Gelatin produced from donkey hide is a key ingredient of one of China’s favorite traditional remedies, known as ejiao, which is used to treat a range of ailments from colds to insomnia.  But as the rising power shifts towards advanced industry and away from traditional agriculture, donkeys are in decline. State statistics show the population has fallen from 11 million to six million over the last 20 years. China is now increasingly looking to Africa to boost its stocks, and imports donkeys from countries across the continent. But flourishing trade has hit several roadblocks. [Continue reading]