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Credit: Lu Yao

Credit: Lu Yao

Policy Brief 19: Adaptation of Chinese Immigrants in Zambia

This paper by Lu Yao, Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong, and Zhou Weixua examines the widespread belief that Chinese self-isolate and whether that is due to extreme ethnocentricity. Such beliefs implicate the Chinese identity as central to this behavior; implicit in this claim is an assumption that other non-indigenous people do not self-isolate. 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. There is, however, no evidence that Chinese are particularly ethnocentric. The authors conducted a survey on the level of adaptation of Chinese immigrants in Zambia. Download Policy Brief (PDF) »

Credit: Uwe Wissenbach

Credit: Uwe Wissenbach

Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

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) » 

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.

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) »

Working Paper 12: Diffusing Chinese rice technology in rural Tanzania: Lessons from the Dakawa agro-technology demonstration center

This paper by Hezron Makundi uses empirical evidence from the Dakawa center in Tanzania to examine the role of agro-technology demonstration centers in diffusing selected agro-technologies to local farmers. The Dakawa center has struggled to balance the goal of technological diffusion with other interests, most notably the manifestation of China’s soft power and its commercial goal of operating a financially self-sustaining farm. Yet, despite these broad ambitions, the center has managed to contribute a great deal towards multi-actor efforts to lessen the information and knowledge barriers hindering the adoption of improved rice farming technology by farmers in Dakawa. Download Working Paper (PDF) »

Credit: China General Nuclear Power Group

Credit: China General Nuclear Power Group

Guest Post: Desert Mirage: Fact-checking China in Namibia

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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

On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine published an extremely well-written article by Brook Larmer, a human interest story on the Chinese in Africa, with a focus on Namibia. The title, “Is China the World’s New Colonial Power?,” piqued our interest. This title might have looked original in 2005, but why did the NYT use this title in 2017?! 

Time for the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins SAIS (SAIS-CARI) to fact-check.

“A $60 billion Chinese infrastructure fund established in 2016?”  CARI says: “No way.”

First off, the article states: "Last year, China established a new $60 billion fund to finance infrastructure projects in Africa, mostly with Chinese lending.Nothing like this exists. The article could be referring to the combined "pledges" made by China during the December 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is how FOCAC officially described the pledges: "Of the total 60 billion dollars, 5 billion is offered as aid gratis and interest-free loans, 35 billion of concessional loans and export credits, with increased preference; 5 billion of investment augmentation into the China-Africa Development Fund and Special Loans for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa, respectively, and the initial 10 billion for foundation of the China-Africa Capacity Cooperation Fund [for industrial investment]."[i] Thus, the US$60 billion does not constitute a single fund and it is not focused on infrastructure. It includes a host of financial instruments, including loans, grants and investments.

Read the complete Blog post »