Monday, August 15, 2016

Islamist Extremism in East Africa

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies published on 9 August 2016 a study titled "Islamic Extremism in East Africa" by Abdisaid M. Ali. The author concludes that militant Islamist ideology has recently expanded throughout the East African region.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Podcast on China's Interests in Africa

The Bob Graham Center at the University of Florida asked me about three months ago to do an eleven minute podcast with a focus on China's interests in Africa while I was speaking at the university on China-Africa relations.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

China's Loans and Aid to Africa

The China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University has a website titled "Data: Chinese Loans and Aid to Africa" that provides useful information by country on China's development cooperation with Africa.

The site notes, for example, that from 2000 to 2014, the Chinese government, banks, and contractors extended $86.3 billion worth of loans to African governments and state-owned enterprises. Most Chinese loan finance is official export credits that do not qualify as official development assistance. One third of the value of these loans was secured by future revenues from commodity exports such as oil, copper and sesame.

How AMISOM Can Succeed in Somalia

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 1 August 2016 a commentary titled "Peace in Somalia: How Can AMISOM Succeed?" by Meressa K. Dessu, ISS Addis Ababa. The author argues that AMISOM has failed to consolidate peace in areas liberated from al-Shabaab because offensive operations are not supported by effective state-building and peacebuilding processes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

North Korea's African Allies

The Diplomat published on 4 June 2016 a good update of North Korea's relations with Africa titled "North Korea's African Allies" by Samuel Ramani, a MPhil student at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford. The piece emphasizes North Korea's relations with Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, DRC, and Burundi.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kenyan Human Rights Expert Critiques Freedom of Assembly in America

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Kenyan Maina Kiai, released on 27 July 2016 his report on this subject following an official mission to the United States from 11 to 27 July.

While many Americans will resent a report that is often critical of the situation in the United States by an outsider, it is important to remember that the United States government routinely critiques the human rights situation in every country in the world, except the United States, in the annual State Department Human Rights Report and numerous country specific statements. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the views of Maina Kiai, it is useful to consider how others see us.

Monday, August 1, 2016

India and China: A Scramble for Africa?

The European Council on Foreign Relations published on 29 July 2016 an analysis titled "India and China: A Scramble for Africa?" by Sunaina Kumar and Angela Stanzel.

The authors conclude that China's pre-eminent role in Africa has come to be challenged, at least in some areas, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in India.

Stabilizing Somalia, South Sudan and the DRC

The Rift Valley Institute published in 2016 conference proceedings titled "Stabilization in Eastern and Central Africa: Insights from Somalia, South Sudan and the DRC."

The objective of the conference was to question, review, evaluate and exchange lessons on stabilization programs in the DRC, Somalia and South Sudan with the aim of informing policies that enhance peace and security in eastern and central Africa. This report contains the highlights from this gathering.

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir Being Friended by Europe

Foreign Policy published on 31 July 2016 a commentary titled "Bashir Comes in from the Cold" by Nesrine Malik.

The author reports that Europe's obsession with migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East has resulted in closer relations with the Omar al-Bashir government in Sudan, which is taking steps to curtail their flow through Sudan.

China, Kenya, and Coal-powered Electricity

Quartz Africa published on 28 July 2016 an article titled "The Worst Thing about Kenya's New Power Plant Isn't that Chinese Workers Are Being Brought in To Build It" by Lily Kuo.

While China has been criticized for bringing Chinese workers to Kenya to build a coal-fired power plant, the author argues that the more important concern is that Kenya is building an environmentally unsound power project.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Estimating China's Foreign Aid

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Research Institute published in June 2016 a study titled "Estimating China's Foreign Aid II: 2014 Update" by Naohiro Kitano. While it does not focus on Africa, it does offer solid analysis about China's global foreign assistance program.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Critique of UN Peacekeeping in South Sudan

The National Interest recently published online a commentary titled "Name and Shame Peacekeepers that Won't Act to Keep Peace" by Aditi Gorur and Madeline Vellturo, both with the Washington-based Stimson Center. The authors criticize UN peacekeepers in South Sudan for failing to protect civilians from ethnic violence.

Two Options for South Sudan

Foreign Affairs published on 27 July 2016 a commentary titled "Two Options for South Sudan: And Neither of Them is Good" by Aditi Gorur and Rachel Stohl. The two options cited are the deployment of African combat troops and imposing an arms embargo.

China's Aid to Africa

Brookings published on 19 July 2016 a brief article titled "Chinese Foreign Assistance, Explained" by Junyi Zhang, an exchange fellow at Brookings. It compares China's assistance with that of key OECD countries and emphasizes Africa.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chinese Volunteering in Africa

Annali di Ca' Foscari published in March 2016 a study titled "Chinese Volunteering in Africa: Drivers, Issues and Future Prospects" by Antonella Ceccagno and Sofia Graziani, University of Bologna.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first and only in-depth study in English of China's small youth volunteer program in Africa. It is known by various names, including the China Youth Volunteers Overseas Service Program. Since 2005, it has dispatched 408 volunteers to 16 countries in Africa and encountered some internal criticism as to its effectiveness. By comparison, the U.S. Peace Corps has since 1961 assigned more than 100,000 volunteers to nearly every country in Africa and currently has about 3,000 volunteers serving in 29 African countries.

The study also examines the practice and policy of China's international aid voluntary service and frames the issues surrounding new approaches and future prospects for voluntary service in Africa within the context of China's soft power strategies. This is a fascinating study on a China-Africa subject that has received very little attention.

We briefly described this volunteer program in our China and Africa: A Century of Engagement (2012) on page 154.

Looming Issues in Kenya's 2017 Elections

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published on 28 July 2016 a commentary titled "Hate Speech and Ethnic Tension Ahead of Kenya's 2017 Elections" by Peter Aling'o, ISS Nairobi. He argues that ethnic tensions, in particular, are reaching dangerous levels given the persistent use of hate speech from both political parties: the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) and the Jubilee Coalition.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chinese ICT Companies in Africa

The China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University published in July 2016 a policy brief titled "Technology Transfer in Telecommunications: Barriers and Opportunities in the Case of Huawei and ZTE in South Africa" by June Sun, a graduate student at the Oxford Department of International Development. The paper discusses the pros and cons of Huawei and ZTE in South Africa and notes they are fiercely competitive in this market.

CARI published a second policy brief in July 2016 titled "Do Huawei's Training Programs and Centers Transfer Skills to Africa?" by Benjamin Tsui, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. While Huawei has training centers in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the DRC, Angola, and Morocco, the author leaves open the question as to their effectiveness.

Al-Shabaab Loses Territory but Stays on Attack

World Politics Review published on 27 July 2016 a report titled "Why Territorial Losses Don't Weaken Somalia's al-Shabaab" by Peter Dorrie, a freelance journalist.

In spite of territorial loses, the author argues that continuing al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia are proof of its high organizational capacity, involving complex planning and logistics, as well as its formidable intelligence-gathering and insights into its enemies' weaknesses.

Rebuilding Transparency in South Sudan

The Enough Project published on 27 July 2016 a study titled "A Hope from Within? Countering the Intentional Destruction of Governance and Transparency in South Sudan" by Brian Adeba, a journalist by training.


The report reviews the weaknesses of three of South Sudan's governance institutions that are the most critical to establishing accountability: the Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Audit Chamber, and the Public Accounts Committee in the National Legislative Assembly. All three institutions face considerable operational challenges that have undercut their effectiveness in implementing their constitutional mandates.

China, India, and the Indian Ocean

Asia Policy published in July 2016 a special edition titled "India and China at Sea: A Contest of Status and Legitimacy in the Indian Ocean."

Experts on this topic concluded that there is a wide gap between Indian and Chinese understandings of the two countries' respective intentions and roles in the Indian Ocean region. China seems intent on developing its economic and military interests in the Indian Ocean in a manner that almost inevitably will have a major impact on the regional balance of power. India sees the growing Chinese presence in highly securitized terms. India exhibits a mixture of acute defensiveness over its prerogatives and the protection of what it sees as its own backyard, but also a desire to leverage its own strategic advantages over China.

The special edition contains the following contributions:

--India and China at Sea: A Contest of Status and Legitimacy in the Indian Ocean by David Brewster.

--China's Emerging Indo-Pacific Naval Strategy by You Ji.

--The Maritime Silk Road and India: The Challenge of Overcoming Cognitive Divergence by Zhu Li.

--New Delhi at Sea: The China Factor in the Indian Ocean Policy of the Modi and Singh Governments by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri.

--India's Strategic Imperatives in the Asian Commons by Abhijit Singh.

--India's Response to China's Naval Presence in the Indian Ocean by Raja Menon.

--Expanding India's Maritime Domain Awareness in the Indian Ocean by Darshana M. Baruah.

--Diverging Perceptions of China's Emergence as an Indian Ocean Power by John W. Garver.

--The Western Indo-Pacific: India, China, and the Terms of Engagement by Rory Medcalf.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Africans in China Returning to Africa

John Campbell's blog at the Council on Foreign Relations published on 26 July 2016 a piece titled "Africans in China: The Pivot Back" by Nathan Birhanu and Bochen Han, both interns at the Council on Foreign Relations. The authors suggest there are four reasons why there has been an upsurge in returns to Africa by Africans residing in China, especially Guangzhou.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Chinese Firms Pursue Minerals in DRC

Mining.com just published remarks titled "Fresh Wave of Chinese Firms To Go after Congo's Riches - Report" by Cecilia Jamasmie.

It underscores that the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains one of the preferred destinations for exploiting copper, cobalt, and gold by Chinese companies. The information comes from a recent report done by BMI Research.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

China-Africa Relations: A Bibliography

I published on SCRIBD an updated version of my China-Africa bibliography, which I began in 2006. It contains many new entries since the last edition appeared in January 2016.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Three Questions about the African Union Mission in South Sudan

The Atlantic Council published on 19 July 2016 a commentary titled "Three Questions about the African Union Mission in South Sudan" by Kelsey Lilley, Atlantic Council.

The author asks how many troops will deploy and how quickly, what is the mandate of the force, and who will pay for it?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

World's Largest Refugee Camp in Kenya Trying to Shut Down

Foreign Policy published on 21 July 2016 an article titled "The World's Largest Refugee Camp Is Invited to Please Shut Down" by Ty McCormick. The Kenyan government says it will clear its country of Somali refugees before the end of this year. But it's not saying how.