Jevans Nyabiage

Jevans Nyabiage

Kenyan journalist Jevans Nyabiage is South China Morning Post's first Africa correspondent. Based in Nairobi, Jevans keeps an eye on China-Africa relations and also Chinese investments, ranging from i

nfrastructure to energy and metal, on the continent.

Language spoken
English
Covid-19 forces Africa to seek mercy from its biggest creditor: China
African states expect a devastating economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic and are appealing for relief from repayments on billions of dollars in debt. Most of those appeals involve China, the biggest lender to the continent, but it is unclear how Beijing will respond. Angola, Zambia, Sudan and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) are among those seeking relief, arguing they need to reallocate funds to health care and equipping hospitals to fight the coronavirus, which has infected almost 3.7 million people worldwide. Africa was largely spared in the early days of the outbreak, but cases as of Tuesday had jumped to 47,581, with 1,862 dead. London-based Jubilee Debt Campaign, which is pus
Africa is juggling coronavirus pandemic with other disease outbreaks
The battle against Covid-19 risks undermining other public health campaigns in Africa as attention and resources are diverted away from other projects such as immunization and anti-malaria campaigns. Before the coronavirus arrived in Africa, the continent was battling to contain measles, polio, malaria, cholera, tuberculosis and Ebola, which were killing thousands of people annually. Millions of dollars that were directed toward immunization programs have now been halted while the battle against Covid-19 takes center stage. The World Health Organization has warned that these shutdowns risk triggering a resurgence of preventable diseases.  It said that when immunization services are disrupte
Can US offer Africa an alternative to Chinese loans?
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Africa last week marked a new drive by the Trump administration to counter China’s growing influence on the continent. Last week, he visited Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia, three countries where Beijing has pumped billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, and used the trip to make a thinly veiled attack on China in an effort to promote the US and its companies as a better alternative. But the visit was Pompeo’s first to Africa since becoming secretary of state almost two years ago, and some observers questioned whether it was too little too late to counter Beijing’s much deeper levels of engagement. On Wednesday, in a speech in the Ethiopian
China’s demand for donkey skins is hitting African communities hard
Slaughterhouses in Kenya for donkeys have turned the country into a hotspot for the global trade in their skins, which are highly valued in Chinese medicine. But animal rights campaigners have warned that this trend could have a “devastating impact” on poor communities. Some donkey skins are smuggled from neighboring countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan to supply the factories in Kenya, which is the only country in East Africa with licensed donkey abattoirs. According to the activists, more than 1,000 donkeys are being slaughtered each day to supply China with donkey hide, which is made into gelatin called ejiao, a traditional remedy believed to improve blood circulat
Africa wants to sell more to China. Enter avocados
Africa’s trade imbalance with China is a major issue. But unlike the US, African countries aren’t looking to declare a trade war. From Ethiopia to Namibia, they are trying to move up the export value chain, in a shift that will involve working out what Chinese consumers want and how to get it to them. For example, Kenya is the continent’s biggest exporter of avocados, which are in high demand in China. China imported nearly 40,000 tons of avocados last year, rising from just 35 tons in 2011. This growth is what Kenyan producers are hoping to tap into.  It has signed an agreement on food, plant and animal safety that will let it export various farm products, including avocados, to China. “Ch
Is China putting Africa on the debt-trap express?
When Clement Mouamba, prime minister of the Republic of Congo, went to Beijing last year, he had an important task: to find out exactly how much his country owed China.  The struggling, oil-rich central African nation had, until then, not been able to provide a number to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to qualify for a bailout.  The IMF had postponed talks on further loans until Mouamba’s administration could say how much it had to repay to its external creditors, including China – the republic’s single largest bilateral lender – and oil multinationals such as Glencore and Trafigura. The country, which heavily depends on oil revenue, turned to China and oil majors for funding to run th
Is Kenya’s popular Chinese-built railway a massive white elephant?
At first blush, a new Chinese-built railway connecting Kenya’s capital to its picturesque coast is an unqualified success. Built at a cost of $3.2 billion, the Standard Gauge Railway, or SGR, runs twice daily between Nairobi and Mombasa, a famed port city. The railway has carried 3 million passengers since its launch in mid-2017.  Travelers make the 293-mile journey in just 4.5 hours and in remarkable comfort. Previously, the same trip could take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the mode of transport. Elephants, lions, buffalos and rhinos can often be seen along the journey. However, carrying passengers is not the main reason why the new railway line was built.  In 2014, when Keny