Sustainability as a topic: Preparing for FOCAC V


Issue 71 – May 2012

This month, the AEAA | The China Monitor looks at the issue of sustainability in the run up to the earlier than expected occasion of the fifth Ministerial meeting of FOCAC in Beijing this year. We often hear that mutual learning is a key element in South-South Cooperation, in which China-Africa relations are one element. We want to explore where learning does or could take place in the relationship, and we are interested in truly mutual learning, i.e. both sides, China and African states, learning from each other. Learning never is a one-way street; we can testify to this, not least as a University institution. One of the elements under discussion in FOCAC is the sustainability of the relationship. More than ten years into the revived China-Africa relations, the perspective opens up from the immediate cooperation towards longer-term issues.

Sustainability is a broad concept and can include many things, from political and social to economic or ecological aspects. In this edition of African East-Asian Affairs, we focus on the ecological aspects of China-Africa relations. The topic of how to engage in ‘greening’ FOCAC will also be the topic of a workshop that the CCS organises in mid-May in Stellenbosch, in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People’s Republic’s embassy to South Africa. We are expecting high-level speakers from China, Africa and elsewhere and are looking forward to this opportunity to engage with Chinese and other African scholars on a topic area that is crucial for future relations.

The two pieces here draw from work the CCS is undertaking on the issue of sustainability, which falls under one of our three work strands. Also included are a selection of our Commentaries from the last month.

As FOCAC approaches, we will be preparing and publishing more work on the Forum, and important topics the policy-makers and decision-makers attending should probably be au fait with going into such a high-level and diverse international forum.

Download Issue 71 of African East-Asian Affairs | The China Monitor here.

Asian cooperation with Africa: Japan and South Korea


Issue 70 – April 2012

When we are discussing Chinese engagement with Africa, we often implicitly or explicitly assume a uniqueness of the “Middle Kingdom”. We often overlook that China has examples to learn from in the East Asian context. The Asian ‘tigers’ have undergone rapid development in the late 20th century, with Japan leading in the 1980s and 1990s and other Asian countries following suit, not least so South Korea. Japan is, however, still one of the biggest development partners to the African continent, as Scarlett Cornelissen argues, with regard to aid, but also with important investments in African states. Korea, for that matter, was often used as a comparison for development prospects, e.g. for Ghana at independence. Our author Yejoo Kim – who has just joined the CCS as a research analyst – is looking at the specific challenges when establishing an ambitious aid programme. Much of these points of debate are also in focus in China’s Aid policy.

Our commentary pieces in this edition look at current Chinese economic reforms and what they could mean for Africa. As a second look at internal Chinese developments with greater repercussions, we also comment on pollution in Beijing and elsewhere and how the environmental issues become (highly) political ones. And, last but not least, the last days of March have seen the 4th BRICS summit – subject to much attention in South Africa and elsewhere.

You can download Issue 70 of African East-Asian Affairs | The China Monitor here

The second wave of Chinese investment in Africa – Agriculture and the Service Sector

African East-Asian Affairs | The China Monitor

Issue 69 – March 2012

The contributions to this issue of AEAA are on investments in agriculture, a culturally and politically very sensitive area of investment – with repercussions for food security in Africa, too. There is a hefty debate on the topic – with not (yet) too many examples of successful investments in this area by Chinese enterprises, as Philippe Asanzi argues based on field work he conducted in DRC and Mozambique.

Secondly, the investment in the financial sector was explored by Vanessa Eidt and she argues that economic motives prevail over political ones with a strong business drive in the acquisition of Standard Bank shares by Chinese ICBC.

As a third contribution, CCS research fellow Dr Daouda Cissé has looked into one of the growth markets on the African continent: telecommunication. He argues that Chinese companies are making some inroads in this market, not least so with tailor-made offers – and, not to forget: backing by the Chinese government.

You can download Issue 69 of African East-Asian Affairs | The China Monitor here.

Environmental perspectives on Chinese global engagement

African East Asian Affairs | The China Monitor

Issue 68 – February 2012

This first issue of the China Monitor for 2012 – with its new title element “African East Asian Affairs” that indicates a broader vocation alongside our trademark focus on China – is once again dedicated to the environmental aspect of Chinese global engagement and, more specifically, the engagement with the African continent. Our authors look into the effects of China’s engagement on environmental protection, both at the level of potential impact on policies and international negotiations (see the article by Frances Fuller), and with regard to the choice of location of foreign direct investment  and their possible impact on areas of conservation value (see the article by Douglas Scott).

The New Year sees a new layout of our China Monitor. Our key publication is likely to see more changes, namely our intention to move towards a quarterly journal from mid-2012 on. We will proudly adapt our publications to our evolving work at the CCS and would very much hope to continue catering to your interest in issues of African East Asian Affairs | The China Monitor

Download Issue 68 of African East Asian Affairs | The China Monitor here.