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

The African Link in China’s OBOR Initiative

 download15 May 2017

The “One Belt, One Road Initiative” (OBOR), also known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), has become synonymous with China’s foreign policy in recent years. However, not much attention has been given to how Africa is positioned within OBOR’s potential sphere of influence and what it might mean for Sino-African relations. This dearth of attention is likely due to OBOR still being in its formative stages; it was only officially presented by the Chinese government in March 2015. Although OBOR is portrayed as an opportunity to strengthen Sino-African relations and provide economic development opportunities for the continent, evidence suggests that only African countries of strategic value will be prioritised and benefit the most from the initiative. [Continue reading]


   By Mandira Bagwandeen   
Independent Researcher  

Chinese Shadow Banking and Regulatory Frameworks: Lessons for Africa

Picture02 May 2017

Chinese shadow banking – activities or entities other than formal banking institutions that perform financial intermediation – has proliferated at 34 per cent year-on-year growth rates since 2010. Some Chinese financial policies, such as 75 per cent bank loan to deposits ratio and interest rate ceilings, unintentionally encourage yield-hungry investors with cash surpluses towards shadow banking so as to obtain more investment value. The recent responses of Chinese regulators, such as the China Banking Regulatory Commission, are instructive for African financial regulators regarding the design of shadow banking regulations that facilitate economic activity and promote financial inclusion, while preventing systemic financial defaults. [Continue reading]

By Yi Ren Thng
Research Affiliate
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

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]


By Dr Ross Anthony
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