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

Focussing FOCAC on bankability: turning ink on paper into renewable energy power

CCS_FOCAC_Funding_for_Renewable_Energy_HE_201514 September 2015

With the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) on the horizon, it is important to consider what impact, if any, FOCAC has had on the China-Africa development landscape. Despite several promises, looking at the renewable energy sector as one example of China-Africa co-operation, it is clear that there is not enough interaction on the ground. There is a gap between the geo-political discourse of FOCAC on the one side and actually reaching businesses and non-government actors on the other. The disparity between the “high” FOCAC political sphere and “lower level” relevance has led to a discussion in academia where it has even been questioned whether FOCAC is meant to have a role beyond political discourse. What is needed is bankability and clear government support to business, especially on the African side. [Continue reading]

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

Nollywood: an untapped opportunity for deepening China-Africa relations?

CCS_Commentary_Nollywood_NT_2015_0207 September 2015

Most current news on China or China-Africa relations is focused on trade and investments, particularly in the resource and infrastructure sectors, which is often portrayed in a negative light. Thus, one is left wondering what could bring about a positive flare to the news coverage of China-Africa relations. One answer lies in the recent celebration of 10 years of the Strategic partnership between China and Nigeria held by the Chinese Embassy in Lagos. During the celebration Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Gu Xiaojie, hailed the Nigerian movie industry, also known as Nollywood, as Nigeria’s trademark in the world. Ambassador Gu expectedly hailed the economic and political ties between Nigeria and China, however, he also focused on the increasingly vibrant people-to-people engagement and cultural exchanges in areas of education, culture, and science and technology. What remains to be seen is whether Nollywood can play a role in further enhancing people-to-people ties and cultural understanding by co-operating with China in making documentaries or feature films with themes such as “Chinese in Africa” or “Africans in China”. [Continue reading]

By Nuša TukićCCS_Research_Analyst_Nusa_Tukic_2013_6
Research Associate
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Regional economic integration in Africa: Lessons from Southeast Asia

24 August 2015

South Africa has recently relied heavily on the use of multi-lateral diplomacy in its foreign policy. South Africa has, for example, built up relationships with emerging countries in organisations such as BRICS and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). It has, however, not exerted much leadership in its relationships with neighbouring countries in the region. With regard to regional organisations in Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has also committed itself to pursuing economic integration through various mechanisms such as the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) to address the challenge of small and fragmented markets. As the major economic player of this region, one would assume that South Africa would exert more leadership in this process, however, that has not been the case. Moreover, investments from within the regional communities continue to lack on the African continent. This commentary looks at cases of multi-lateralism in Southeast Asia where regional economic integration has taken place in order to gain some insights for African economic communities. [Continue reading]

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

South African foreign policy and emerging powers

CCS_Commentary_South_Africa_RA_12 August 201517 August 2015

In recent years, South Africa has made a number of foreign policy decisions which signals a shift away from its traditional western allies. South Africa’s voting record at the United Nations (UN), and high-profile incidents such as the recent hosting of Omar al-Bashir, the Dalai Lama visa debacles have brought into discussion whether South African foreign policy is making a decisive turn, and if so, toward where? [Continue reading]

By Dr Ross Anthony CCS_Research_Fellow_Ross_Anthony_2014
Interim Director
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University


Is Huawei a new model for Chinese corporate social responsibility?

CCS_Commentary_Is_Huawei_OG_5 August 201505 August 2015

“Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) has become a popular business practice that both Western and Chinese corporations are using to safeguard international reputations and promote their companies. CSR regulatory frameworks are being put in place to monitor global business ethics, ensure the sustainability of transnational supply chains, and protect the interests of local stakeholders. However, these frameworks differ amongst Chinese companies, some using international benchmarking mechanisms like the Global Reporting Initiative, while others use regulatory systems monitored by the Chinese government. Huawei, a leading Chinese telecommunications company, has been praised internationally for its CSR initiatives. This commentary looks at the challenges facing Chinese CSR in Africa, and discusses whether Huawei could provide a new sustainable business model that Chinese companies operating in Africa could potentially imitate. [Continue reading]

By Olivia GullCCS_Assistant_Olivia_2015_01
Research Assistant
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University