Discussion Papers provide insights into on-going research, including that of affiliates, associate and visiting scholars.

CCS Discussion Paper: A study of perspectives on how to enhance Botswana-China relations

Second draft -Discusssion PaperBy Frank Youngman

China’s relations with Africa date back to the 1950s but they have transformed in scope and depth since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000. The increased interactions between African countries and China have brought important benefits to both sides in a variety of areas, from trade and investment to cultural exchange. Nevertheless, stresses and strains have also arisen and it is apparent that for optimal cooperation purposeful measures have to be undertaken to promote positive relations. Botswana’s experience parallels that of the continent as whole. Engagement with China has developed very rapidly in recent years. However, although Botswana’s current relationship with China has positive dimensions, it also has significant tensions. In this situation, it is timely to consider how improved bilateral relations can be promoted at both the state and non-state level.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 01/2017]

CCS Discussion Paper: Tanzania-China all-weather friendship from socialism to globalization: a case of relative decline

Discussion paper 01_201601/2016

By Jean-Pierre Cabestan and Jean-Raphaël Chaponnière

How close is the Tanzanian-Chinese partnership today? Bi-lateral trade and Chinese economic activity in Tanzania today is far more significant than in the 1970s; China’s “no strings attached” policy is still attractive and political solidarities and military co-operation have remained relatively strong. However, this bi-lateral relationship does not have the importance, nor the exclusiveness it enjoyed in the heydays of socialism. Today, China must compete economically, politically and culturally with the activism and soft power of a larger group of countries, particularly the United States. Although both in Dar es Salaam and in Beijing this relationship is still presented as “special”, it has lost the structural role that it had until the late 1970s in shaping Sino-African relations. Growing Sino-American and Sino-Western competition in Africa has increased Tanzania’s option and helped it, to some extent, to better defend its own interests. This paper examines Tanzanian-Chinese relations over the past half-century and more particularly since 2005, highlighting how global political, strategic and economic shifts have affected and on the whole reduced, in relative terms, the importance of this bi-lateral relationship.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 01/2016]

CCS Discussion Paper: Navigating The Gulf: China’s balancing strategy


By Mandira Bagwandeen

Due to China’s growing energy needs that stem from its unrelenting economic development, Beijing stresses the importance of maintaining a continuous supply of energy – particularly oil – to maintain its impressive economic growth. However, seeing as China’s domestic resources are unable to satisfy its projected future oil demands, the Chinese realise that, barring significant domestic oil discoveries, their dependency on oil imports – particularly from the Middle East – will continue to increase. Of particular importance to the Chinese is the Persian Gulf as it contains a large share of the world’s proven oil reserves. China has thus sought to improve relations with Persian Gulf nations such as Iran. However, Iran’s pursuit to obtain nuclear capabilities has implicated China in Iranian-American tensions. Although China has sought to steer clear of becoming embroiled in the Iranian nuclear situation due to its improved standing in the Gulf, Beijing has unavoidably become a significant actor in the diplomatic brinkmanship regarding Iran’s nuclear situation. By means of a literature review, this paper posits that China’s response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions essentially mirrors its overall diplomatic strategy towards the Middle East; a strategy of pragmatically balancing its own relationship with the USA whilst simultaneously advancing profitable geo-economic relations with oil rich Gulf nations.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 04/2014]

CCS Discussion Paper: China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Programme: Forum on China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) – Drawing Lessons for African Integration from Accelerated Development in China


By Clayton H Vhumbunu

The paper identifies and analyses the main vectors of China’s accelerated development including economic, governmental, cultural, educational, infrastructural, technological, and agricultural reforms, examining how these serve as models of poverty eradication, the work draws ideas for the acceleration of development in Africa. It presents a holistic overview from which applicable lessons can be drawn. The paper acknowledges the fact that China is a unitary state with more than 1.3 billion people, whilst on the other hand, Africa, despite a general consensus to reduce poverty, is a continent with now over one billion people spanning 55 fragmented economies. What lessons can be drawn from the development experience in China to accelerate the African integration agenda? The paper argues that China’s success today is largely due to the nurturing of a visionary and dedicated leadership system based on an orderly succession system; capable and competent bureaucracy; effective policy planning and co-ordination; and policy discipline. In recommendation, the paper suggest that Africa strengthens and broadens regional policy planning and co-ordination mechanisms taking into consideration the global political economy context and the continent’s psycho-social structure.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 03/2014]

Live, talk, faces: an analysis of CCTV’s adaption to the African media market


By Bob Wekesa and Zhang Yanqiu

This paper is part of the ongoing China Africa Reporting Project based at University of the Witwatersrand University’s department of journalism which is committed to understanding China-Africa relations from a media narratives and engagements perspective. Views expressed are those of the authors.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 02/2014]