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

G7 and the partnership with Africa

CCS_Commentary_G7_Grimm_Mbeva_201522 June 2015

The thematic range of the G7, the heads of state and government of major advanced economies, is shifting away from “mere” economics, towards questions of how to react to climate change, how to address communicable diseases (based on the Ebola experience) and how to counter terrorism. In other words: how to secure provision of global public goods. Paradoxically, the G7 is facing growing expectations when in relation to global GDP its members are now economically substantially less powerful than in the 1970s. Consequently, global solutions require a broader participation – not least so from the so-called rising powers, such as China, India, Brazil and others. At best, the G7 and the BRICS complement each other. [Continue reading]

By Dr Sven GrimmDr. Grimm
Extraordinary Associate Professor
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Kennedy MbevaContributed_Kennedy_Mbeva
Research Fellow
African Center for Technology Studies

Nairobi, Kenya

EU imposed tariffs on Chinese solar PV companies – counter-intuitive or smart?

CCS_Commentary_EU_China_Solar_PV_Tariffs_HE_201508 June 2015

Chinese solar photovoltaic (PV) companies have had a spectacular rise in the decade and a half since 2002. By making use of government sponsored loans, subsidised land and other factors, such as cheap labour, Chinese companies have been able to forge a strong position for themselves in the global PV market. In fact, Chinese solar PV companies have been able to out-compete companies from Europe and the United States of America (USA). This success, however, has come at a cost: after the European Union (EU) and USA found that Chinese solar PV companies were unfairly advantaged by Chinese government support, tariffs, quotas and a minimum import price (MIP) have been imposed. Recently it has been found that Chinese solar PV companies are dodging these measures by using circumvention techniques. With new EU investigations looming and tariffs already having been set for imports from Taiwan (one of the countries used for circumvention) the pressure is again mounting against China’s already oversupplied solar PV industry. In this scenario, one cannot help but ask whether cheap Chinese solar PV, in the context of the current global need for alternative energy forms, is not actually better for the “global good” than protectionism that pushes prices higher? It was after all this overproduction that forced prices down in the first place. [Continue reading]

By Harrie EsterhuyseCCS_Research_Analyst_Harrie_2013_12
Research Analyst / Deputy Editor
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Should the BRICS Bank be depressed by China’s new initiatives?

CCS_Commentary_BRICS_Chen_201501 June 2015

In July 2014, the leaders of the multi-lateral grouping BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) signed a contract to create the US$ 100 billion BRICS Bank in Fortaleza, Brazil. However, after nearly one year of preparation, the BRICS bank has made little progress. Only recently was India announced as the first president of the bank. Additionally, the Chinese government has proposed several other similar institutions, for example the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which South Africa has also joined. These issues raise questions as to the continued commitment toward the BRICS bank.  Does it mean that emerging countries have shifted their focus from the BRICS bank to the AIIB? And how should South Africa strategically position itself in light of these new developments? [Continue reading]

SHEN ChenCCS_Visiting_Scholar_Shen_Chen_2014
Visiting Scholar

Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

China and India: commercial co-operation and economic competition

CCS_Commentary_China_and_India_MB_25MAY201525 May 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to China signals greater political and economic co-operation between the two Asian giants. This proves particularly important for India, especially in terms of its regional standing, economic development and industrialisation. The often rocky relationship between the two countries may be mitigated if such co-operation stabilises not only bi-lateral relations but also regional relations and beyond, such as India’s influence in Africa. [Continue reading]

By Meryl BurgessCCS_Research_Analyst_Meryl_12
Research Analyst
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

A new round of AGOA: Is Africa ready for opportunity?

Picture113 May 2015

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is set to expire on 30 September 2015. The act was designed to promote export-led economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and, furthermore, trade between the continent and the United States (US) under the theme of “trade rather than aid”. Since its inauguration in 2000, a number of African countries have benefitted from the programme. The textile industry, in particular, has experienced rapid growth and job creation in several countries. Thus, prior to AGOA’s expiration this year, there has been a series of visits and consultations led by a delegation comprising the African Union mission, the African Development Bank mission, and high-level diplomats. They aimed to emphasise the importance of a long-term renewal of AGOA. Expecting re-authorisation, probably for 10 to 15 years as many African countries wish, it is a critical time to reflect on the past 15 years. [Continue reading]

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