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The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at 21: Where to Next?

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on September 3, 2021

African countries can negotiate a more equitable role in FOCAC, but this requires a more strategically focused approach, better coordination, and greater accountability to their citizens.

Army of Fake Fans Boosts China’s Messaging on Twitter

Recommended research   published by Erika Kinetz, Associated Press on May 12, 2021

Chinese officials around the world use Twitter and Facebook, which are blocked in China, to post about their country’s initiatives and defend it against controversy. But the seeming popularity of many accounts, which the Communist Party controls and whose content is sourced from state-run media, and of their posts is artificially inflated by fake accounts that retweet posts by the thousands of times. These retweets violate Twitter rules on manipulation, leading to a high rate of account suspensions. Improving the labeling of government accounts to better indicate the likelihood of content being propaganda and helping social media implement their own rules will be key to mitigating these strategies.

Reshaping African Agency in China-Africa Relations

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on March 2, 2021

The power imbalance between China and Africa poses a challenge for negotiating equitable investment deals. The interests of African citizens can be strengthened through agreements that are transparent, involve experts, and facilitate public engagement.

China in Africa

Topic in Focus   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on November 20, 2020

A selection of Africa Center analysis of the ongoing security challenges in the Sahel, current security responses, and priorities for establishing peace and stability.

China Promotes Its Party-Army Model in Africa

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on July 28, 2020

China’s party-army model, whereby the army is subordinate to a single ruling party, is antithetical to the multiparty democratic systems with an apolitical military accountable to elected leaders adopted by most African countries.

China in Cameroon’s Forests

Recommended research   published by International Institute for Environment and Development on March 31, 2019

In Cameroon, Chinese investment through the Belt and Road Initiative is estimated to be worth double the country’s other investment sources combined. These infrastructure and agricultural investments, focused on forest areas, have created 12,000 jobs. China, Cameroon’s largest purchaser of timber, relies on Cameroonian forests for 85% of its imported raw logs. Poor governance and corruption enable unsustainable timber exploitation and illegal logging, damaging fragile ecosystems and threatening livelihoods for rural communities.

Grand Strategy and China’s Soft Power Push in Africa

Spotlight   published by Paul Nantulya on August 30, 2018

China is doubling down on its soft power initiatives in Africa as part of China's Grand Strategy to tap emerging markets, shape global governance norms, and expand its influence.

How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port

Recommended research   published by Maria Abi-Habib, New York Times on July 2, 2018

China’s infrastructure deals are ubiquitous across Africa. The motivations behind these deals vary, however. This investigative report details how China leveraged the indebtedness of Sri Lanka to effectively force it to cede a port to China. The experience has implications for the debt trap many African countries face, especially with China, as well as for China's interest in acquiring strategic assets in Africa, military and intelligence interests in China’s commercial activity, oversight over major infrastructure and natural resource contracts including China’s Belt and Road Initiative on the continent, Chinese influence in foreign elections, and risks to African sovereignty.

How China Fuels Deforestation In Nigeria, West Africa

Recommended research   published by Dayo Aiyetan, International Centre for Investigative Reporting on January 18, 2018

Chinese demand for Nigerian rosewood has created a lucrative, yet illegal commercial logging sector in Nigeria’s eastern states. The Nigerian government has chosen profits over environmental protection or the rule of law. Corruption that ranges from bribery of forestry guards to misrepresentation of logging shipments bound for Chinese ports has created the conditions for illegal logging to continue—at least until resources run out and loggers move to the next state. The extensive environmental impacts of illegal logging include increased flooding, erosion, and the removal of animal and plant ecosystems, which leaves certain species facing extinction. Illegal logging also denies communities a source of food and livelihoods.