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Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more

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Homepage: http://www.chinafile.com/

When U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced Washington’s new strategy for Africa last December, he mentioned China 14 times in his speech. So often, in fact, that a lot of observers commented that the new policy seemed to be more focused on containing China’s rising influence on the continent than on Africa itself.

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The problem with the “debt trap” theory is that it too often strips Africans of their agency in the negotiating process. That either they don’t know what they are doing or they’re simply negotiating bad deals. While both of those may be true, in some instances, the reality is far more complex, according to University of Oxford scholar Folashadé Soulé.

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In this week's show, we bring you two perspectives on the promise and peril of increased Chinese technology investment in Africa.

Harriet Kariuki is an emerging markets analyst in Kenya where she surveys the digital landscape and local start-up scene to identify investment opportunities for foreign companies, including many from China. Harriet also writes extensively on China-Africa tech issues on LinkedIn, where she discusses both the promise and peril...

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Obert Hodzi discusses his new book, “The End of China’s Non-Intervention Policy in Africa,” and why he thinks this major Chinese policy shift is happening in Africa faster than in other parts of the world.

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Nairobi-based international development economist Anzetse Were suggests in a new paper that Kenya’s leaders, not China, should be the ones held accountable for borrowing too much money without a detailed, transparent plan on how to repay the loans. She joins the podcast to discuss the growing anti-Chinese backlash in Kenya and the country’s burgeoning economic crisis.

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China announced a U.S.$60 billion financing package for African states to build out new roads, airports, railways, and other needed infrastructure. While no one questions the need for infrastructure, there are legitimate concerns as to whether it makes sense to borrow so much from China to pay for it.

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Does it still make sense for China to put on big, expensive mega-summits with African leaders, like FOCAC, which will take place in Beijing in September? Facing a slowing economy and a potentially devastating trade war with the U.S., maybe China is being pulled in other directions. That said, Africa presents a huge potential market and enormous geopolitical opportunities for Beijing in this time of profound geopolitical change.

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The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit will take place at a delicate time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he confronts enormous challenges related to the ongoing trade war with the United States and, at the same time, huge opportunities to expand his country’s role in global affairs. What should African leaders should be prepared for when they arrive in Beijing?

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For the past year or so, senior U.S. government officials have been accusing China of engaging in so-called “debtbook diplomacy,” a tactic that Washington contends intentionally burdens developing countries with billions of dollars of loans. When these countries, many of them some of the poorest in the world, invariably can’t pay back the loans, Beijing extracts concessions that further China’s geopolitical interests, according to the theory that is now...

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Around 50 African leaders are expected to be in Beijing in September for the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. While Africa’s largest and most strategically important countries will likely do very well, receiving huge financial packages, aid programs, and more, some countries will have to fight for everything they get. In this episode, Eric and Cobus speak with Dr. Hodan Osman Abdi, an advisor in China to...

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