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Photo Credit:  Qi Lin

Photo Credit:  Qi Lin

Working Paper 14: Creating a market for skills transfer: A case study of AVIC International’s skills transfer programs in Kenya

This paper by Irene Yuan Sun and Qi Lin provides an in-depth case study of a set of local workforce development programs established by Chinese corporation AVIC International in Kenya. These programs' interesting characteristics challenge the stereotype that Chinese firms in Africa care little about local development. Although it is difficult to generalize from one example, AVIC’s case has the potential to change our understanding of Chinese companies’ contribution to skills development in Africa, showing at the very least that they can perceive such local investment as being in their self-interest. Chinese and African governments have expressed the desire for Chinese companies to do more in the area of skills transfer: AVIC’s strategy, as one of the earliest and most prominent, may well offer a model for the future. Download Working Paper (PDF) »

Photo Credit: Lu Yao

Photo Credit: Lu Yao

Photo Credit: Uwe Wissenbach

Photo Credit: Uwe Wissenbach

Policy Brief 19: Adaptation of Chinese Immigrants in Zambia

This paper by Lu Yao, Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong, and Zhou Weixuan examines the widespread belief that Chinese immigrants in Africa self-isolate, and whether this alleged behavior is due to extreme ethnocentricity. Such beliefs implicate Chinese identity as central to this behavior, implicitly assuming that other non-indigenous people do not self-isolate. While some scholars claim that Chinese enterprises have achieved significant localization, others hold that the Chinese tend to live isolated from local society and leave open the reasons for this trend, allowing that ethnocentricity may be a cause. However, for the authors, who conducted a survey on the level of adaptation of Chinese immigrants in Zambia, there is no evidence that Chinese immigrants are particularly ethnocentric. Download Policy Brief (PDF) »

Working Paper 13: African politics meets Chinese engineers: The Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway Project in Kenya and East Africa

This paper by Uwe Wissenbach and Yuan Wang examines the way local Kenyan politics have affected implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway. The paper also points to initial and immediate development opportunities for local content, jobs, and skills while arguing for a more rigorous assessment of the SGR's economic development potential. Unless Kenya overhauls its governance framework on the issues outlined in this paper, infrastructure projects risk overshooting initial budgets and reducing the willingness of neighboring countries or foreign investors to engage in future initiatives in Kenya. Download Working Paper (PDF) » 

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Policy Brief 18: The United States and China in Africa: What does the data say?

This brief by CARI researchers Janet Eom, Jyhjong Hwang, Lucas Atkins, Yunnan Chen, and Siqi Zhou examines how Chinese engagement compares to US engagement in African countries. How do oil exports influence Chinese and US trade relations with Africa? Why do Chinese and US firms favor investment in different African industries? What are the main sectors to which China and the United States provide loans in Africa? This policy brief analyzes CARI’s data on Chinese and US trade, FDI, and loans to Africa over the past 15 years to answer such questions. The authors find that Chinese engagement emphasizes Africa’s infrastructure needs, key countries are consistently top destinations for different economic activities, and fluctuating commodity prices are important to both the United States and China in Africa. Download Policy Brief (PDF) »

Policy Roundtable:


CARI hosted a policy roundtable on Wednesday, April 26 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington DC to explore the future of U.S.-China-Africa relations in the Trump era. This roundtable drew on the public and private sectors to explore the future of this trilateral relationship in an evolving geopolitical landscape.

More details can be found here.

The video recording of the event can be accessed here.

Guest Post: Stretching the Data

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This guest post is by Jyhjong Hwang, the Senior Research Assistant at the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins SAIS. 

This is the story of how five Chinese-financed coal power stations in Africa became 50. On July 21, 2017, the New York Times published an op-ed titled, "China's Other Big Export: Pollution," written by Paulina Garzon at the Wilson Center and Leila Salazar-López of Amazon Watch. While the op-ed focused mainly on Latin America and the Caribbean, one paragraph using our CARI data on Chinese official loans to Africa caught our attention:

"China is worsening the climate crisis with its financing elsewhere as well. From 2000 to 2015 China extended $94.4 billion in loans to Africa, fueling extractive industries like oil, minerals and timber; the expansion roads [sic] and ports to get those raw materials to market; and dirty energy like large dams and power plants. Beijing is building and financing some 50 new coal plants across Africa." (Emphasis added).

China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) has a bone to pick with just about every sentence of this paragraph. While we are glad that our data is being utilized, we would like to set the record straight regarding the nature of these loans – and in particular, the nature of Chinese involvement in African coal stations. 

Read the complete Blog post »