China-Africa relations

China-Africa relations

Breaking news, analysis and opinion on relations between China and countries in Africa, covering trade, resources and the Belt and Road Initiative.

‘Black people are not allowed’: McDonald’s China apologizes for discrimination
McDonald’s China has apologized after a branch introduced a ban on black customers, just as Africans are complaining of being targeted for enforcement action in China’s fight against the coronavirus. Over the weekend, a video circulating online showed a Chinese staff member at a McDonald’s restaurant showing a sign banning black people from entering.  “We've been informed from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant,” says the notice, written in English. “For the sake of your health, consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused.” Again, for those who still doubt that Black people and particularly #AfricansinChina ar
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
Four South Africans admit guilt in hate speech case against Chinese
Four people in South Africa accused of hate speech against local Chinese people have admitted guilt and agreed to hundreds of hours of community service as punishment – even before the case has ended. The matter stems from anti-Chinese comments made on social media in January 2017 after a video went viral showing the slaughter of donkeys for their skins, allegedly to be illegally exported for the Chinese medicinal market. Among the most offending comments were that Chinese were “vile, barbaric people” who were “scum of the Earth.” The Chinese Association (TCA) took the matter to South Africa’s Equality Court, which was set up to protect people’s rights in the post-apartheid era. A total of 1
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
Ethiopian envoy defends Chinese loans against ‘debt trap’ worries
Ethiopia is renegotiating billions of dollars in loans from Beijing for a railway to avoid being buried by “serious” debt woes, Ethiopia’s top envoy to Beijing said. The railway links the Ethiopian capital to neighboring Djibouti, and is tied to China’s global infrastructure push that critics say sets a “debt trap” for poorer countries. It’s common practice for a country unable to meet the terms of an existing loan to try to renegotiate a new repayment schedule or new financing. But when it comes to China as a lender, the loans have taken on a geopolitical dimension as the United States accuses Beijing of using loans to expand its sphere of influence. Supporters of this view have pointed to
Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ jailed in Tanzania
A Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen” has been jailed in Tanzania for smuggling tusks from more than 400 elephants. The 69-year-old Yang Feng Glan, or Yang Fenglan in Chinese, was on Tuesday sentenced to 15 years in jail after being convicted of trafficking 860 tusks between 2000 and 2014, according to Reuters. China is the world’s biggest ivory importer and consumer, where ivory is carved into jewelry, Buddhist statues and miniature landscapes. The Chinese government banned the ivory trade in January last year, and has pledged to help fight elephant poaching in Africa. However, conservation groups say a large amount of ivory products are still being smuggled into the country. Th
Trump’s Africa policy is actually about China
The Trump administration has announced a new blueprint for its foreign policy in Africa. But more than anything else, it’s about China. The initiative, called “Prosper Africa,” promises to boost trade between the United States and the African continent. (You can read a White House statement here.) Terms and conditions apply. Increasingly wary of China’s global ambitions, the US government wants African leaders to choose a side: either the US, or China and Russia. The plan will call on African leaders to choose foreign investments that are sustainable, “unlike those offered by China that impose undue costs.”   National Security Adviser John Bolton on Thursday said it was a foreign policy pri