Chinese multi-national telecom companies in Africa

Following China’s Go Out policy, which encourages Chinese companies (SOEs and private companies) to venture abroad, China’s engagement in Africa has generated important investments in different sectors, such as infrastructure, mining, oil, and copper, among others. Investment also entered the service sector.
Africa’s telecom industry is one of today’s most thriving growth markets in the world for telecom investors. Africa has a large number of mobile handset users, and there is evident political will from African governments’ side to develop telecom networks in their respective countries. Mobile phone technology allows for access into rural areas which land lines previously could not cover. Wide network coverage attracted more telecom services providers and telecom equipment manufacturers to the continent.

In the framework of Chinese investments in Africa, our project will focus on Chinese multinational telecom companies’ investments and operations in Africa. It will examine the two giant Chinese telecom companies’ (ZTE and Huawei) presence in Africa. The paper will explore effects of China’s Go Out policy strategies on Chinese multinational telecom companies, Africa’s telecom industry including mobile phone business, Chinese telecom companies’ entry strategies in the African market, their management- and organization methods  and highlight the various implications for Africa.

Completed – For project output and results please see:
[Policy briefing]
[Article published reference: D, Cissé. 2012. Competition for development: Chinese telecommunication companies in Africa. Global Development Studies. 6(3-4):177-210]


Analysis of the transparency of Chinese foreign assistance

There is much speculation and debate on the levels and targets of Chinese foreign assistance and investment, but little systematic assessment of what information is, in fact, available.

The purpose of this analysis is to map and assess the levels of aid information available across Chinese aid agencies. The paper would also explore opportunities to improve publicly available information on Chinese foreign assistance and ensure comparability with other donors. The research is commissioned by Publish What You Fund.

Completed – For project output and results please see:
[CCS Research report]


Environmental policy in China-Africa co-operation

In China itself, the rapid economic growth has led to numerous environmental problems (water, soil, air pollution, waste management, etc.) that are increasingly addressed by policy makers.  Also in China’s international relations, environmental issues are increasing in relevance, not least in its stance on climate change, but also in debates about standards applied in cooperation.
This project seeks to assess the role of environmental policy goals in the cooperation policy of China towards Africa. The assessment will contextualise the environmental commitments in China’s cooperation policy towards African countries (within the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC) in the legal framework of environmental protection. Measures to protect the environment will be assessed against the standards in place in both China and South Africa. Research activities are shared between the CCS and the Law Faculty of Stellenbosch University.

The CCS personnel involved are Dr. Sven Grimm and Meryl Burgess, and the Law Faculty is represented by Prof. Oliver Ruppel and Sanita Van Wyk.

Completed – For project output and results please see:
[CCS Discussion paper]
[CCS Policy briefing – Addressing joint environmental challenges]
[CCS Policy Briefing: Rhino poaching and East Asian policies]
[Book chapter – China-Africa Relations in an Era of Great Transformations]
[China Monitor – China, Africa and Climate Change]
[China Monitor – Sustainability as a topic: Preparing for FOCAC V]


Possibilities for South-South-South co-operation

With the recent development of the rising influence of emerging countries, South-South cooperation becomes more and more eminent in the development of the countries in the South. At the same time, the support for development in Africa has consequences for China and South Africa with regard to their respective images (‘soft power’) and their roles in international relations.

This research project aims at identifying particularities of SA and Chinese South-South cooperation and explore possible areas for joint work in a third country in Africa. It builds on collaboration
between Zhejiang Normal University and Stellenbosch University. Research interviews will be conducted in South Africa and China amongst policymakers and the research community. A suitable case study country in Africa is yet to be selected. This project is financially supported by Hanban, headquarters of the Confucius Institutes.

This project has been completed – For information on results please contact:


China-Africa migration

The research explores patterns, dynamics, and ramifications of migration from China to (South) Africa. It is a comparative assessment of the determinants and dynamics of the Chinese diaspora in Southern Africa and the African diaspora in China. The CCS and the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch are collaborating with Xiamen University on conceptual/theoretical and substantive matters related to the project. At Stellenbosch University, CRUISE has been commissioned to conduct a survey on behalf of the CCS.
This survey was conducted among Chinese businesses in Chinatown, Johannesburg, in December 2010 and January 2011. Researchers were Chen Fenglan and Chen Xiaoying from Xiamen University.

This project has been completed – For information on results please contact: