Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Link of the Day: China in Africa

Truth be told I had never heard of France24 until last year. I wish I could say that I am familiar with all global international media actors, but that just is not true. However, to my credit, I did come across a fantastic video debate about Sino-Africa relations, produced by Anelise Borges. Hosted by François Picard, this wide-ranging discussion gave an incredibly nuanced portrayal of Sino-Africa issues, due in no small part to their amazing panel: Solange Guo Chatelard, associate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. CERI Sciences Po Paris; Alexandre Kateb, managing Director, Competence Finance Consulting. Lecturer, Sciences Po Paris; and Adama Gaye. author of 'China-Africa, the Dragon and the Ostrich.' Guo Chatelard and Gaye in particular are excellent Sino-Africa scholars in their own right, so I am happy to see fellow scholars on television. Please watch the whole thing, including part two.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Kenyan Elections

I ran into fellow-blogger Gukira on the way home from work today and we briefly discussed the Kenyan elections. As someone who was pretty ignorant about the whole process, I was fortunate to have him explain to me some of the underlying issues. While I was simply happy that there was no serious outbreaks of violence, he countered that a lack of violence is simply too low a bar to clear. He then told me about some of his writings, which I consider to be  great posts on the topic, especially this one:
Jomo Kenyatta’s short story, “Gentlemen of the Jungle,” ends with a man trapping repressive animals inside a hut, setting the hut on fire, watching them die, and then uttering, “Peace is costly, but it’s worth the expense.” Now, I can’t read this story without thinking of the men, women, and children set ablaze in a church in Kiambaa in 2008 during the post-election violence. I have to think about this killing act and to ask about the cost of “peace.”

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Link of the Day: A Rally Cry for the US to Catch Up to the Chinese in Africa

The China Africa Project
Eric Olander and Cobus Van Staden run the best Sino-Africa podcast there is over at the China Africa Project. Every week they go over three issues, sometimes with a guest or two, and the podcast is required listening for anyone interested in Sino-Africa affairs (Hence my weekly twitter recommendation that their podcasts are "Must. Listen."). While I might not always agree with their analysis, I can vouch for the intelligence and engaging personalities of these two gentlemen. Their latest episode is fantastic, especially because Eric mentions a little argument we had over twitter concerning the U.S. versus China. I highly recommend it.

Full disclosure: I used to work with the China Africa Project, I consider Eric a friend and a mentor, and I hope to work for the U.S. government in the future.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wait, so Structural Adjustment WORKED for Africa?

Katherine Kidder, writing on Tom Ricks' excellent blog, points to the importance of private rather than state-led investment into Africa (with a nice mention of Xiaofang Shen's recent talk at SAIS). She mentioned something of particular interest to me:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Link of the Day: Corruption in Africa: It Takes Two to Tango

 One of the complaints about Chinese business practices I hear the most is that they make African governments and institutions more corrupt. That may very well be the case, but it would really help if there was some sort of comparative study between Chinese corruption in Africa versus French, U.S. British, etc. corruption in Africa. I am not sure I have heard convincing proof that they are all that different. After all, when it comes to corruption anywhere, it takes two to tango. Thanks to Mark Kapchanga for pointing me to that Think Africa Press piece.