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

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

Environmental costs of China’s new law on foreign NGOs

25 July 2016Picture1

In 2015, China’s People’s Congress revised and ratified a controversial foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) management law that is set to take effect in 2017. According to reports, the new law will directly affect approximately 7,000 foreign NGOs operating within the country’s borders as well as local NGOs who receive financial support from overseas donors. These groups include foundations, social groups, NGOs and think tanks. Strict government control toward these groups will likely manifest from the law. Whilst the Chinese government may have their own reasoning for the   new regulations (concerns about foreign NGOs harming national security), at a time when environmental problems are only increasing in the country and around the world (often with Chinese involvement), this law can only do more harm than good. Globally and in China, often it is international environmental NGOs that do most of the work in trying to address vast environmental challenges. [Continue reading]

By Meryl BurgessCCS_Research_Analyst_Meryl_12
Research Analyst
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

 

 

The two Koreas and Africa in the 21st century

29 June 2ethiopia-korea016

At the end of May 2016, South Korean President Park Geun-hye paid her first official state visit to Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. While South Korea’s relationship with Africa today is largely understood in terms of resource diplomacy, a rivalry with North Korea persists – highlighted during President Park’s recent visit. This commentary takes a look at how the two Koreas have made inroads in Africa, while simultaneously fending off each other. Despite competition for influence, both Koreas have faced challenges in their attempts to export their respective ideologies and developmental models to the continent. [Continue reading]

By Dr Yejoo KimCCS_Research_Analyst_Yejoo_10
Research Fellow
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

 

 

Re-negotiating international investment treaties: prospects for investment relations between South Africa and China

14 June 201Mandela WB6

The rise of many emerging states has the potential to shape the international legal system. In both Asia and Africa, the actions of various countries have given rise to the notion of emerging powers undermining the normative implications of international law and, thus, compromising the international legal regime. China and South Africa are two cases in point: the former’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea have seen China reluctant with regard to dispute resolution, while South Africa’s proposed withdrawal of African states from the International Criminal Court and its termination of first generation bilateral investment treaties (BITs) highlight a deviance from the normative order. Both China and South Africa appear generally as firm believers of sovereignty in a traditional sense. Yet, with regard to economic law, China seems to adopt a more liberal approach than South Africa. In the following article, this notion is tested in light of changing approaches to state sovereignty within international economic law. [Continue reading]

 

By Anna Hankings-EvansCCS visiting scholar_Anna Hanking Evans
Visiting Scholar

Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University