Commentary

Commentaries are written by Research Analysts at the Centre and focus on current and topical discussions or media events with regard to China or China/Africa relations. Occasionally, the CCS accepts commentaries from non-CCS affiliated writers with expertise in specific fields. Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the CCS. Commentaries can be used freely by the media or other members of the interested public if duly referenced to the author(s) and the CCS

A word from the director

20 February 2017

Regular users of the CCS website may have noticed that updates of content, such as commentaries and our weekly briefing, have been put on hold. In recent years, the Centre (and South African higher education as a whole) has come under significant financial strain, forcing us to reduce staff to the point where we are at present unable to maintain previous levels of output. This has been exacerbated by shifting our meagre resources increasingly into teaching, curriculum development and peer-reviewed research outputs. [Continue reading]

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By Dr Ross Anthony
Director
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: China-Africa co-operation

15 December 2016

The transformation from steam and water mechanised production to electric-powered production to automated production and leading to the present digital revolution marks the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR). In the 21st century, the digital revolution has spurred on technological innovations in electronics and information, firmly establishing knowledge economies as the foundation of economically-advanced countries. Yet, many developing countries still lag behind in reorienting the development of their economies towards knowledge and technology generation on a global scale. The role of co-operation in knowledge-based industries between China and Africa is making progress in helping developing countries realise the rewards of the FIR. Technology usage and investment in research and development in the information communication technology (ICT) sectors of emerging and developing countries is on the rise. In light of these trends, this commentary asks: how is China-Africa co-operation in the ICT sector navigating the FIR? [Continue reading]

By Tichafa ChidzongaTich
Research Assistant 
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

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

 

Prospects of Islamic Finance in Africa and China

31 August 2016

With only roughly 20 million Muslims in China, it is not surprising that Islamic finance has not taken off in China. Recently, however, some Chinese companies have expressed interest in tapping into offshore pools of Islamic funds. For example, HNA Group, a mainland Chinese firm that owns Hainan airlines, is reportedly considering Islamic financing options for its proposed US$ 150 million acquisition of ships as well as a large offering of offshore Sukuk (Islamic bonds). Another example is that of Country Garden, a Guangdong-based property developer, which issued a Malaysian Ringgit 1.5 billion sukuk through its Malaysian subsidiary in December 2015. Nonetheless, the use of Islamic financing is far and few amongst Chinese companies given the relative competitive onshore borrowing costs and significant technical hurdles involved. Private companies are at a disadvantage in terms of onshore borrowing as compared to their state-owned enterprise counterparts given the latter’s privileged access to the loan markets. Therefore, private companies may welcome the opportunity to diversify their sources of funding and access to credit. [Continue reading] 

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

China-Africa media co-operation: challenging Western media control

 

Picture116 August 2016

In an age prompted by accelerated technological innovation, the power of the Internet and global communication has significant bearing on a country’s ability to compete for global influence. The heightened focus on media diplomacy between China and Africa has emerged as a challenge to what has been considered a Western-dominated international media system. The Forum on China-Africa Media Co-operation has put into action new models for engagement and developed media institutions in order to further the influence of developing countries. The Forum has also made a call for alternative views in the media, which has strengthened solidarity among developing countries to tell their stories and promote cross-cultural exchanges. This commentary asks: will the Forum on China-Media Co-operation provide a more promising approach for mutual development? [Continue reading] 

By Tichafa Chidzonga
Research Assistant 
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University