Unlocking Africa’s Promise: China & African Mining

China Monitor - Issue 35 - Nov 2008

November 2008 – Issue 35

Africa‘s trade with China, as it is with most trading economies, is heavily skewed toward resources. Almost eighty percent of Africa‘s export basket to China is made up of just four natural resource commodities. The continent‘s strong GDP growth performance in recent years has been underwritten by demand from China and high commodity and energy prices. But despite the dependence on resources, -trickle down‖ economics is a reality in China with the capital flows into recipient countries resulting in the growth of the African consumer class. There is no better example than this than the retail, mobile telecoms and retail banking sectors that have grown at stellar rates over the medium term.

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China and the Democratic Republic of Congo: Partners in Development?

China Monitor - Issue 34 - Oct 2008October 2008 – Issue 34

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is largely recognized as a failed state. Its‟ history has been fraught with internal civil war, regional conflict and human suffering. Its vast commodity wealth has been plundered by its leadership as well as by external actor‟s intent on extracting wealth whilst doing little to improve the livelihoods of the Congolese people.

The recent “package deal” investment concluded in April between the DRC Government, state-owned mining firm Gécamines and the Chinese government through the Export-Import Bank of China is the largest foreign investor engagement of the DRC economy ever. Valued at over US$ 9 billion, the deal combines investment in infrastructure, an aid component, the recapitalization of Gécamines, and a long term off-take agreement for key commodities. The financing mimics the “Angola Model” that can be termed China Inc.‟s “coalition engagement” of an African state.

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China’s Peacekeeping Presence in Africa

China Monitor - Issue 33 - Sep 2008September 2008 – Issue 33

Over the past decade, Africa has made great progress in reducing the number of civil or international conflicts on the continents. The end of the Cold War in the early nineties, the advent of a democratic and stable South Africa and the increased role in conflict resolution of the African Union have all laid the foundation for a more peaceful Africa.

Despite this progress, Africa is often still viewed as a conflict-ridden continent. I believe this stereotype is to a large extent obsolete. Africa’s most rapidly growing states are those which are now categorized as post-conflict economies – Angola, DRC and Mozambique. They are benefiting from more stable political systems and the buoyant commodity markets, largely driven by China.

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After the Beijing Olympics: Where to for China?

China Monitor - Issue 32 - Aug 2008August 2008 – Issue 32

Shortly after the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, I asked a Chinese friend what he thought of the spectacle in Beijing. He replied by saying “We Chinese are very critical of events that are organized by our government. But watching the opening of the games, it was perfect. We were all satisfied!” And to satisfy over a billion people, the opening ceremony was indeed spectacular!

There is a strong sense of pride in China at present. Despite the hurdles that China faced leading up to the games – the tragic earthquake in Sichuan province, civil unrest in Tibet, criticism over its environmental record, and general China bashing in all forms – the city succeeded in overcoming these challenges to host the games.

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South Africa’s Recent Court Ruling on Black Economic Empowerment

China Monitor - Issue 31 - Jul 2008July 2008  – Issue 31

A recent High Court ruling in South Africa recognised ethnic Chinese South Africans as “coloured” by racial classification. Being categorised as a previously disadvantaged community, the ethnic Chinese community is now entitled to the benefits that may flow from preferential legislation such as the Employment Equity Act and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act which seek to promote and uplift the economic status of people of colour in South Africa. Represented by world renowned human rights lawyer George Bizos, the court action by the Chinese Association of South Africa (CASA) was however never about economic fruits, but the recognition of a principle.

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