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Call for Proposals: SAIS IDEV/CARI Student Practicum

With generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-CARI) is sponsoring one student practicum group in the International Development Program (IDEV) to do a practicum on a China-Africa related topic in the 2018-2019 academic year. We are currently seeking practicum clients, with an application deadline of July 25th, 2018.

Please click below for more information about previous practicum projects and presentations as well as the IDEV practicum in general.

If you have ideas for a practicum project on China-Africa (i.e. NOT a research project, but a proposal that would involve something more applied: an evaluation, design, survey, strategic plan, etc.), please contact us directly at

 Photo Credit: David G. Landry

Photo Credit: David G. Landry

Working Paper 16 and Policy Brief 22: The risks and rewards of Resource-for-Infrastructure deals: Lessons from the Congo's Sicomines Agreement

These papers by David G. Landry explore the Sicomines agreement and highlight the role risk has played from its inception a decade ago until now. This case reveals how, while simple on the surface, Resource-for-Infrastructure (RFI) deals carry significant risks for their signatories because of the long time horizon through which they operate. This has led the Sicomines agreement to experience many hurdles, both on the infrastructure delivery and resource extraction fronts. These papers employ financial modeling techniques to highlight the pitfalls of attempting to identify a “winner” in such ventures until they reach their conclusion. As these papers demonstrate through the Sicomines case, the expected benefits of RFI deals can change swiftly and unpredictably. Download Working Paper (PDF) and Policy Brief (PDF) »


CARI Annual Conference -  April 19-20, 2018

From Thursday, April 19 to Friday, April 20, 2018, CARI held its fourth annual conference: "Matters of State: Politics, Governance, and Agency in China-Africa Engagement" at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC.

 Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State

The Tillerson Trip: Data on China, Africa, and the U.S.

As Secretary Tillerson visits the African continent, China's engagement in Africa is at the center of the U.S. State Department's focus. SAIS-CARI is closely following this trip. Our 2017 Policy Brief on China, Africa, and U.S. relations as well as our 2017 Economic Bulletin can serve as a primer for anyone looking for a broader understanding of these issues.

In addition, we have updated our data and created regional profiles to help quantify Chinese engagement with the African continent.



Working Paper 15: China's involvement in South Africa's wind and solar PV industries

This paper by Lucy Baker and Wei Shen explores the different modes of involvement of Chinese companies in South Africa’s solar photovoltaic and wind energy sectors, and how the differentiated technological and industrial trajectories of Chinese companies are interacting with South Africa’s unique national context. It reveals complex interactions between evolving market dynamics, and international and domestic factors in both China and South Africa. Such dynamics include the highly globalized nature of production chains in wind and solar PV, accompanied by increasingly consolidated markets, and ongoing trade disputes between Chinese, and EU and US solar PV manufacturing companies. Download Working Paper (PDF) »

Gross Annual Revenues of Chinese Companies' Construction Projects in Africa

Guest Post - Year of the Dogs? A new boom and bust for Chinese construction in Africa.

Friday, May 25, 2018

This Guest Post is by SAIS PhD student Yunnan Chen. 

Our data for contractor revenues come from Chinese government reports published in China’s annual statistical yearbooks. The data since 2000 have shown year-on-year growth in Chinese contract project revenues in Africa. In 2016, the most recent data show total annual revenues to be $50bn. However, this is a steep downturn of $4bn from $54bn USD in 2015. Aside from a slight decline in 2011 (see chart), this is the first year since 2000 that Chinese contract revenues in Africa have fallen. The top five countries for contracts remain Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola, which account for 49% of all reported annual contract revenues in Africa.

Correlating to the decline in contractor revenues, we also see a similar decrease in the numbers of Chinese workers in Africa in 2016. Data for this also comes from official governmental reports—which encompass only the Chinese workers who arrive in Africa for specific projects, and do not give figures for traders, private entrepreneurs and small investors who come to African countries independently. At the end of 2016, there were over 227,000 Chinese workers in Africa, according to official sources -- with Algeria hosting 40% of all Chinese workers, close to 100,000. This is a steep decline from 2015—within a year, 36,000 Chinese workers left the continent. As contract revenues decline, it is not unexpected that employment opportunities for Chinese workers overseas are also tighter.

Read the complete Blog post »