Tuesday, December 1, 2015

China, Africa, and Secuity Issues: Shinn Podcast

Cowries and Rice interviewed me on 21 November 2015 at the African Studies Association conference in San Diego on China, Africa, and security issues.  The forty minute podcast focused on China's engagement in UN peacekeeping operations, countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden, arms transfers to Africa, and threats to Chinese nationals in Africa.

US Military Facilities in Africa

TomDispatch.com published on 17 November 2015 an analysis titled "America's Empire of African Bases" by Nick Turse.  It is a detailed account of AFRICOM's "cooperative security locations," "forward operating locations," and drone operations in Africa.  While some of these facilities may no longer be in use, it represents a much greater number of activities than is generally known.

Chinese Nationals in Africa: Security Becoming Growing Issue

The Diplomat published on 20 November 2015 a report titled "Chinese Citizens among 170 Hostages Taken in Mali Hotel" by Shannon Tiezzi.  Three senior executives with the China Railway Construction Corporation died in the attack. 

The Diplomat subsequently published on 29 November 2015 a report titled "After Deadly Attack in Mali, How Will China Protect its Citizens Abroad?" by Benjamin David Baker.  Baker discusses the growing number of security threats faced by Chinese nationals living in or visiting Africa.  He adds that Beijing is trying to develop a credible response to these threats.

Monday, November 30, 2015

China-Africa: Three Points of View

The Cipher Brief published on 29 November 2015 three commentaries by Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Stephen Hayes, president and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, and myself on the China-Africa relationship.

Chinese Urbanism in Africa

The Go West Project recently published a special edition of a magazine titled "Chinese Urbanism in Africa" that contains a collection of journalistic pieces on China's impact on urbanism, architecture, and land in Africa.  The authors are Chinese, African and European.  The publication is in a combination of English and Chinese. 

Examples of articles are "Exporting Chinese Urbanism to Africa," "Built by China in Africa," "Little Lagos in Big China," and "Architect Entertainer."

Upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

The Conversation published on 26 November 2015 a commentary titled "China-Africa Summit: What to Look for beyond the Hype and Hypocrisy" by John Stremlau, University of the Witwatersrand.

The author focuses on the future of democracy in Africa and China's approach to non-intervention on the continent. 

China-Africa Relationship at a Crossroads?

The Mail and Guardian published on 29 November 2015 an article titled "China Clears Way for Silk Road into Africa--And It Takes the Form of Key Summit with African Leaders" by Lee Mwiti. 

China-Africa relations are at something of a crossroads.  During the first half of 2015, Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa fell more than 40 percent year-on-year and the dollar value of China's imports from Africa tumbled nearly 43 percent over the same period.  China can be expected to use the December FOCAC Summit in South Africa to reassure African countries that it intends to remain engaged on the continent.  It may also use FOCAC to explain how the Maritime Silk Road initiative will apply to Africa. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

China Expands Presence in Sao Tome and Principe

Eurasia Review published on 24 November 2015 a major analysis titled "Sao Tome E Principe: A Key Piece in Beijing's Chessboard? - Analysis" by Gustavo Placido Dos Santos, a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security.

Sao Tome and Principe, which is one of three African countries that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, signed an agreement in October 2015 with China's state-owned China Harbor Engineering Company to build a $800 million deep-water port.  This project coincides with China's growing interest in oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea. 

More on China's Military Facility in Djibouti

DW.COM published on 26 November 2015 a piece titled "China Set to Open First Military Outpost in Africa."  It emphasizes China's intention  to expand its military reach well beyond the South China Sea. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chinese Military Base in Djibouti?

The Hill published on 24 November 2015 an article titled "China's Military Makes Move into Africa" by Kristina Wong.  The article quotes U.S. Army General David Rodriguez, the commander of the U.S. Africa Command, as stating that China is building "a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa."  He added that China has signed a ten-year contract with Djibouti.

So far, there has been no public announcement of this facility although the president of Djibouti said in May 2015 that his government was negotiating with China over a base.  If this is, in fact, a full-fledged military base, it will be China's first base outside China since the establishment of the PRC in 1949.  It is important, however, to see the details of the agreement with Djibouti before describing this facility.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that China is building a "logistical facility" in Djibouti for the resupply of Chinese Navy ships.  The New York Times reported this new development on 26 November 2015 in an article titled "China to Build Up Military Presence in Djibouti" by Jane Perlez. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Background Materials on Upcoming 6th FOCAC

The Emerging Powers Project assembled on 24 November 2015 twelve background papers relevant to the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in South Africa in December. 

Chinese Arrested for Alleged Cyber-Hacking in Kenya

Quartz Africa published on 20 November 2015 a story titled "The Strange Case of 77 Blue-collar Chinese Migrants that Kenya Is Calling 'Cyber-hackers''' by Lily Kuo.  The government of Kenya has charged 77 Chinese migrants living in Kenya with cyber-hacking.  The government of China has been silent on the matter.  The arrests suggest a growing backlash against Kenya's growing Chinese community.

Can Railways In the Horn of Africa Help Bring Peace to the Region?

The BBC ran a story on 23 November 2015 titled "Can Ethiopia's Railway Bring Peace to Somalia?" by Mary Harper.  The article focuses on the recently opened Chinese-built railway between Djibouti and Addis Ababa and asks if it and other railway projects in the region can contribute to peace in places like Somalia. 

ISIS and al-Qaeda Compete for al-Shabaab

The BBC ran a story on 24 November 2015 titled "Al-Shabab Wants IS to Back Off in East Africa" by Tomi Oladipo.  The story reports on the competition by al-Qaeda and ISIS for the allegiance of al-Shabaab. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

South Sudanese Discuss the Lessons of Historic Peace Agreements

The Rift Valley Institute published in November 2015 a paper titled "We Have Lived Too Long to Be Deceived: South Sudanese Discuss the Lessons of Historic Peace Agreements" by multiple authors. 

The paper offers a variety of points of view on the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, the 1999 Wunlit Conference, and the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Following Mobile Money in Somaliland

The Rift Valley Institute published in November 2015 a study titled "Following Mobile Money in Somaliland" by Gianluca Iazzolino, PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh.  The author maps the landscape of the mobile money transfer system in Somaliland.  He identifies the importance of trust at its foundation and the role that banking, financial institutions, and technology have played in the making of Somaliland.

Somalia Reopens Embassy in Washington

The Voice of America on 19 November 2015 ran a story titled "Somalia's US Embassy Reopens after 24 Years" by Ezra Fessahaye.  Somalia's new ambassador to the US is Ahmed Awad. 

The event was covered in Somali.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Corruption Is Undermining Kenya's Future

The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch published on 19 November 2015 an article titled "Corruption is Undermining Kenya's Future" by George Ward.  Representatives of 11 embassies in Kenya recently released a statement arguing that corruption in Kenya is out of control.

Russia Is Reengaging in Africa

Pambazuka News published on 14 November 2015 a commentary titled "Russia: Attempting a Bridge to Africa" by Kester Kenn Klomegah.  Russia is trying to make up for lost time in Africa but faces growing competition from emerging nations, including the other BRICS.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Anti-terror Restrictions Interrupt Somali Remittances

Bloomberg published on 12 November 2015 an article titled "Crossed Wires Starve Somalia of Cash" by Matt Mossman.  Somali remittances have dropped from 22 to 50 percent because of US anti-terrorist restrictions over concerns about money laundering.  An expert at Australia's Griffith University says there is little evidence to suggest the US restrictions have curbed money laundering.

Sixth FOCAC: What is Africa Seeking from China

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 19 November 2015 a commentary titled "Rebalancing an Unbalanced Relationship" by Peter Fabricius, ISS consultant.  The piece suggests that Africa wants help from China with infrastructure, investment, debt relief, industrialization, market access, science and technology transfer, cultural exchanges, agriculture, and education. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ethiopia Still Bullish on Investment from China

This is Africa published on 6 November 2015 an article titled "Ethiopia Still Bullish on China Industrial Investment" by Adrienne Klasa.  In spite of China's economic slowdown, Ethiopia is confident Chinese manufacturing investors will still put their money in the country. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Security Challenges in Northeast Kenya

The International Crisis Group published on 17 November 2015 a report titled "Kenya's Somali North East: Devolution and Security."

Rampant criminality, inter-clan animosities and small-arms proliferation stretch policing and render highly insecure the refugee camps in northeast Kenya that host more than 350,000 Somali nationals.  Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the national administrative  structures have allowed the extremist al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across much of the northeast. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

China Has an Image Problem in Africa

The London School of Economics blog posted a commentary on 11 November 2015 titled "China Has an Image Problem in Africa" by Mark Esposito, Harvard University Extension School, and Terence Tse, ESCP Europe.

The authors focus on the growing number of Chinese companies in Africa and the inability of African companies to compete.  They also cite some of the other frequently heard criticisms of Chinese engagement in Africa. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Child Soldiers in South Sudan

The Washington Post published on 13 November 2015 a story titled "South Sudan Thought It Solved Its Child Soldier Problem.  It Hasn't" by Kevin Sieff.  The article notes that the government of South Sudan and rebel groups have recruited an estimated 16,000 child soldiers since civil war broke out in December 2013.