Friday, October 31, 2014

Ask not what Africa can do for you, but what you can do for Africa

Former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa was recently at Zhejiang Normal University’s Institute of African Studies and the China-Africa Business College. He delivered a lecture, titled “Unscrambling Africa in the New Millennium,” that was attended by an American Fullbright scholar Zander Rounds. Rounds wrote about that speech on his blog "Bridging the Great Wall: A research blog on African students in China" and we found his analysis fascinating and asked him to share his experiences.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Translation Tuesday: Chinese enterprises aid the repair of a Kenya Country Road

By Joseph Webster

Author: Dengyao Min
Translator: Joseph Webster
Published on: 10/27/2014
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

China Road and Bridge Corporation is constructing a road in Kajiado County, Kenya. According to the article, 4,000 Kenyans have already been hired, and over 30,000 “local employees” will be employed in the project. It is unclear if there is a distinction between Kenyans and local employees. The article is reflective of the many stakeholders that Chinese investment in Africa must satisfy. Chinese investment must appear to benefit Africans – which it often does, of course – but it must also placate domestic audiences who may be concerned that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are funneling capital abroad and reducing employment at home. The Xinhua article stresses the benefits to the local population. On the other hand, the article also notes that “except for the local government providing soil sources, building materials, equipment, and labor were provided by the Chinese side.” Domestic political constraints on foreign investment are hardly unique to China, of course. Free trade is not necessarily zero-sum, but both winners and losers emerge from it. Chinese investment in Africa must placate both African stakeholders as well as the Chinese domestic audience. 
--- Joseph Webster (Translator)

"Before, this road was rotten with potholes and driving was very difficult. Now the pavement is smooth, saving time and fuel. I am grateful to the road repair men," a Kenyan truck driver named Brown said. Brown is stationed in southeastern Kenya, in the Mashuru district of Kajiado County. China Road and Bridge Corporation is responsible for the renovation of this rural road. For Brown and residents along the road, this is their "livelihood road", but bad road conditions have led them to feel helpless.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Translation Tuesday: Chinese Tourists Vacation in South Africa: Ebola Threatens African Tourism

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Zhang Jiexian, Wei Dongze
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 10/05/2014
Source: People’s Daily Online
Original text (in Chinese):

The Ebola outbreak is not only causing tremendous economic losses to West African countries, but also unfortunately damaging the overall security and development of the entire continent. For many Chinese, Africa may be far away, but the danger of Ebola is ever-present. Even though there is no confirmed case of the disease in China, Chinese policymakers are staying vigilant.
---Laiyin Yuan

Many Chinese tourists gather near the former presidential palace in
Pretoria, South Africa, but during this year's National Day holiday
those numbers were slightly down.
Photo by People's Daily's Zhang Jiexian
The National Day holiday in the first week of October is the peak time for Chinese traveling overseas with their families. Although it is not the best season to go to Africa, many Chinese are still willing to experience the wild African savanna after their previous journeys to Asian and European countries. Thus South Africa, the transportation hub located in southern Africa, has becomes the foothold for many Chinese tour groups.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Translation Tuesday: An Overseas Chinese Company Constructs the New Century's Longest Railway

By Joseph Webster

Author: Fan Xi, Pang Shuguang
Translator: Joseph Webster
Published on: 08/13/2014
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese): 

According to Xinhua the new Benguela railroad will: “greatly reduce the cost of exporting copper and other natural resources in Southern Africa. Through integration with the railway networks in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and other neighboring countries, Southern African regional rail interoperability will be achieved, thus forming a large international railway passage between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean that will promote regional economic development.” The article notes that technology transfer and local jobs will increase as a result of railway construction, but also stresses that the construction standards and operating materials were supplied by Chinese companies.
--- Joseph Webster (translator)

Reporters were informed by the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited that, after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway was built in the 1970s with Chinese aid, our country will construct the world’s longest transcontinental overseas railroad of the new century. The Benguela rail line will cross the whole territory of Angola, will be completed on August 13, and it will be officially open for operation within the year.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Training as if China isn’t a Country

By Hannah Ryder, Deputy Country Director, United Nations Development Program China

One continent, many countries: Credit: 玖巧仔, 2009
Africa isn’t a country.

It’s an obvious statement but a while back, even American Vice President Joe Bidden forgot it when he said: “There's no reason the nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world's most prosperous nations”.

Having worked in development for over ten years now, I think recognizing the wealth of diversity across the African continent - different languages, cultures, economics – is key. There is no way you can understand the different problems facing the continent – and required solutions – unless you recognize its wealth of diversity.

But working in China I now have the complete opposite problem: I now have to remind myself that while China is indeed a country, its scale and experience is not like that of any other country.

China is almost a continent.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Translation Tuesday: Taking the Pulse of Non-Acclimated Chinese Companies in Africa

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Gui Tao
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 09/28/2014
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

“Chinese always stay together like mercury, while Westerners spread everywhere like water.” In some circles, this is an accurate description for Chinese companies and their Chinese employees in Africa. Self-isolation, lack of effective communication with locals, ignorance of labor laws and regulations, weak awareness of social responsibility, and exhausting internal competitions among peers… these are all the “growing pains” that Chinese enterprises are going through as they look to create jobs and transfer technology for Africa’s economic development.

On September 27, in the “Chinese Enterprises’ Localization in Africa and China’s Africa Strategy Seminar” jointly held by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Institute of World History and the Center for African Studies of Peking University (PKUCAS), many experts, corporate leaders, and representatives of overseas Chinese in Africa looked for “prescriptions” to improve Chinese company localization in African countries.

The attendees believed that, although Chinese state-owned, private, and individual enterprises have all contributed tremendously to a mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and Africa, some of these organizations have left a rather negative impression among host countries due to Africans’ increasing awareness of autonomous development, biased reporting on part of Western media, their own problems, and more.

Monday, October 6, 2014

What visa denial? The Dalai Lama and South Africa

The Dalai Lama was recently supposed to visit the 14th World Peace Summit, to be held in South Africa, yet his visa to the country was, for all practical purposes, denied. Dr. Ross Anthony looked at the issue on the Center for Chinese Studies' Commentary: "China, South Africa and the Dalai Lama: costs and benefits" and host Winslow Robertson invited him on the pod to discuss the Dalai Lama's relationship with South Africa in-depth. If you want to learn more about the Dalai Lama Debacle, which The Daily Maverick dubbed the incident, please listen to this episode!