CCS Policy Briefings are published as four page documents with policy relevant information and recommendations on very specific topics

CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (Africa) |China and the African Regional Economic Communities: Transforming Multilateral Cooperation

CCS_PB_REC_DB__BT_2015Policy Briefing No. 6 – November 2015

Recently, China has increased its economic, political and military co-operation with the African Union (AU). The diversity of members within the AU makes the continental approach more complicated for both Chinese and African actors. This is largely due to the AU’s lack of instrumental capacity, resulting from its financial and structural weakness, as an inter-governmental actor. This policy brief highlights an alternative platform through which co-operation could be fostered. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) increase the bargaining power of African states, without losing the instrumental capacity of implementing and monitoring policies effectively. China’s engagement with the RECs would not only nurture regional integration, but also enhance China’s co-operation with Africa as a whole. In the following briefing, we argue that increased co-operation with regional organisations is necessary as China’s bilateral and continental engagements face institutional, political and economic challenges. The RECs need to move to the forefront of the Sino-African dialogue in order to satisfy Africa’s aspiration for global markets and China’s interest in increased political, economic and cultural co-operation. [Continue reading]

CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (RSA) | South Africa-China multi-lateral co-operation: BRICS and FOCAC

CCS_PB_BRICS_FOCAC_YK_NT_2015_0811Policy Briefing No. 5 – August 2015

The 21st Century has witnessed the emergence of a number of non-western powers, many of which have entered into formal partnerships, driven predominantly by a common development agenda. A prominent engagement within this new context is the China-South Africa relationship which, in recent years, has been strengthened through both bi-lateral exchanges as well as various multi-lateral frameworks. Two major partnerships include BRICS, an association of five major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and FOCAC, the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation – a triennial ministerial meeting whose aim is to enhance co-operation between China and African states at multiple levels. South Africa’s inclusion in the BRICS grouping bestows on it a prestigious position in the continent as well as in the global arena. At the upcoming FOCAC VI in 2015, it is expected that South Africa as co-chair will yet again show its commitment in taking initiatives to resolve Africa’s challenges. This Policy Brief discusses the importance of South Africa’s growing role in these groupings with a focus on how its membership can contribute to South Africa’s sustainable development and help it to garner opportunities.

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CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (RSA) | Preparing for FOCAC VI: China-South Africa co-operation in conservation and renewable energy

CCS_PB_SA_China_FOCAC_MB_HE_2015_02Policy Briefing No. 4 – August 2015

As China’s development puts increasing pressure on the environment, various measures have been implemented both domestically and, increasingly, abroad in an attempt to limit the impact. China’s environmental engagement at an international level, including the agreement between the United States (US) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to cut carbon emissions (12 November 2014), signals the growing urgency of the issue. Within the context of the China-South Africa engagement, there are also signs of this shift. Two key areas where this is evident are in China’s growing role in conservation and the renewable energy sector. China’s domestic demand for wildlife goods has motivated the Chinese government to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with African governments. In the renewable energy sector again, Africa’s energy needs and untapped capacity for electricity generation from renewable energy (RE) has created a vast potential market for global Chinese renewable energy firms. Both areas have become increasingly important topics within China-Africa relations, and feature on the Forum of China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) agenda. This policy brief examines the role of these two themes as a way of demonstrating some of the concrete ways in which China-Africa interaction is evolving in a world where sustainable development has become key.

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CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing (RSA) | The temptations and promotion of “China Dream”: calling for Africa’s home-grown rhetoric

CCS_PB_SA_FOCAC_PT_2015Policy Briefing No. 3 – August 2015

Scholars have raised concerns that political rhetoric manifest in China-Africa relations tend to replicate China’s domestic ideals on the African continent. The exercise is witnessed in the coupling of the “Chinese Dream” and the “African Dream” in the rhetoric of China-Africa relations. In essence, the slogan “African Dream” is framed within the historical trajectory of “Chinese Dream” which articulates China’s reform policy implementation goals for the 21st century. The “Chinese Dream” is the first Chinese political slogan which has been witnessed to directly seek spaces and manifest beyond China’s domestic borders. Such manifestation deviates from China’s past political norms, that of limiting political propaganda to domestic consumption. One of the spaces used beyond China’s borders to promote the Chinese Dream has been the media; this includes African media outlets. Media groups such as CCTV international and Xinhua have African headquarters where they have partnered and co-operate with a variety of local media agencies. South Africa is no exception. The People’s Daily Online established a subsidiary company in South Africa and has linkages to the New Age newspaper, a state newspaper in South Africa. In addition, African academics, journalists and students have since 2013 been invited to China to participate in the “Chinese Dream” promotional events. It is within this context that the notion “Chinese Dream” has found fertile ground to manifest and even replicate itself on the African continent in the form of the “African Dream”. This policy brief discusses the domestic context of the Chinese Dream and analyses its extension into Africa in the form of the “African Dream”. It concludes with recommendations on the need to establish an African home-grown rhetoric that will help Africa maximise gains in the spaces provided by China’s paradigm shift and offer lessons that will better prepare China for its engagement in Africa.

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CCS Policy Briefing: China-Egypt trade and investment ties – seeking a better balance

CCS_PB_China_Egypt_Trade_Ties_Emma_Final_2015Policy Briefing No. 2 – June 2015

This policy brief examines Chinese investments in Egypt and the bi-lateral trading relationship between the two countries in order to better understand the extent of economic engagement. Since 2013, a spur in high-level diplomatic exchanges led to the signing of numerous agreements, including a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement. Promises of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into large-scale transport and energy infrastructure projects have been cited. With the trade balance heavily tipped in favour of China, this policy brief identifies ways for Egypt to more broadly benefit from the relationship. [Continue reading]