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"TAZARA Stories" – Screening of Film on Memories of Work on TAZARA Railway

JAMIE MONSON – MONDAY, OCT 28, 2019

SAIS-CARI is pleased to present a film screening and discussion of the documentary "TAZARA Stories".

TAZARA Stories tells the story of a train through the memories of those who built it. Set in Tanzania, Zambia and China, the film interweaves oral and visual narratives of workers from three nations who found themselves laboring side by side in a massive infrastructure project at the height of the Cold War. Remembering and reliving their youth, the workers take us on a journey in time from the exhilaration of construction through disappointments and derailments to their own hopeful resilience in the face of enduring change.

The screening will be followed by a discussion and Q&A session with film producer Prof. Jamie Monson, moderated by Prof. Yoon Jung Park, Associate Director of the China Africa Research Initiative.

Prof. Jamie Monson is a historian of the TAZARA railway, the development project built in Tanzania and Zambia in the 1970s that is the subject of this film. She has been working on “TAZARA Stories” since 2010 in conjunction with a companion book and digital archive project. Her earlier book on TAZARA, "Africa’s Freedom Railway: How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania" (Indiana University Press, 2009) has been widely acclaimed and has been recently published in Chinese (2015). Jamie Monson is Director of African Studies and Professor of History at Michigan State University. She has been carrying out research in Tanzania, Zambia and China since the 1990s.

Space is limited – please RSVP. Attendance is first-come, first-serve. Refreshments will be served.


Photo credit: Tang Xiaoyang

Photo credit: Tang Xiaoyang

Tales from the Road: Following China’s Economic Statecraft Across Asia and Europe

James Reilly – Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019

This event was co-sponsored by the SAIS China Forum and the China Africa Research Initiative.

Dr. Reilly's talk was followed by a discussion with China Studies Director Prof. Andrew Mertha and a Q&A session.

What explains China’s distinctive approach to economic statecraft? When is China’s economic statecraft most effective, and what can the China case tell us about economic statecraft more broadly? This presentation will engage these three questions by drawing upon my current book manuscript. The book begins with two chapters tracing the ideas and institutions at the heart of the ‘China model’ of economic statecraft, followed by two most-likely cases for success: Myanmar and North Korea. The final three empirical chapters examine a set of least-likely cases, first comparing China’s economic statecraft in Western Europe with Central and Eastern Europe, and then assessing Beijing’s impact upon European policy decisions. The findings show how China uses economic resources to exert influence abroad and identify when Beijing is most effective. By exploring the domestic drivers of China’s economic statecraft, this book will also help launch a new research field: the comparative study of economic statecraft.

Dr. James Reilly is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in the Department of Government and International Relations. He holds degrees from Guilford College, University of Washington, and George Washington University. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford (2008-09) and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (2015-16). He also served as the East Asia Representative of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), based in Dalian, China from 2001-2008. He is the author of Strong Society, Smart State: The Rise of Public Opinion in China’s Japan Policy (Columbia University Press), and the co-editor of Australia and China at 40 (UNSW Press).

Working Paper 32 and Policy Brief 39 – Export, Employment, or Productivity?Chinese Investments in Ethiopia’s Leather and Leather Product Sectors

In this set of publications, Tang Xiaoyang offers a detailed analysis of the Ethiopian leather sector in this set of publications. Built from fieldwork conducted between 2001 and 2018, this research highlights the role of Chinese investments into the Ethiopian leather sector and offers key insights into the main differences between the marketing mechanisms used by Chinese versus Ethiopian enterprises, and their impact on overall competitiveness.

Download Working Paper & Policy Brief (PDF) »


Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Working Papers 30 & 31, and Briefing Paper 2 – Assessing Chinese Manufacturing Investments in East Africa: Drivers, Challenges, and Opportunities

In a three-part series comprising two working papers and a briefing paper, Ying Xia dives deep into the investments driving the manufacturing sector as well as agricultural investments in Kenya and Tanzania. The briefing paper offers a honed-in look at the key takeaways while each working paper gives detailed insights into what the industry looks like on the ground.

Download the Briefing Paper, Working Paper on Kenya, & Working Paper on Tanzania (PDF) »

Researcher Workshop: "Writing for Impact"

October 11-12, 2019

The China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) proposes to train China-Africa scholars to improve the impact of their writing, by turning academic research into formats more commonly read by general audiences as well as policymakers. To help bridge the gap, CARI is hosting its first workshop focused on translating academic work into policy briefs, op-eds, and long-form articles. We want to help you make your scholarly research more accessible, and help you reach wider audiences in a timely fashion, including through leveraging social media to circulate your work.

This small-scale (maximum of twelve participants), two-day writing workshop was held at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC on Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12, 2019. Researchers exchanged with editors, policymakers, and China-Africa scholars who have succeeded in disseminating their findings to the non-academic world. Participants worked on completing a draft of a policy brief, long-form magazine article, or op-ed by the end of the workshop. Please click here for more details.

This guest blog post is by Dr. Johanna Malm, independent researcher.

In this piece, she analyzes China’s new debt sustainability framework, launched at this past spring’s Belt and Road Forum. She argues that while China has been responsive to some of the recent criticisms of its lending policies, its approach to development finance still differs significantly from that of the IMF.

China’s second Belt and Road Forum was held in Beijing in April 2019. In response to growing international critiques against Chinese lending abroad, China has acknowledged these concerns and adapted some of its practices.

As such, debt sustainability was a significant feature of the Belt and Road Forum. The Chinese leadership sought to address debt issues in several ways. In its official communication during the Forum, Beijing stated that China is committed to preventing and resolving debt risks. China’s Ministry of Finance also published a new document, the Debt Sustainability Framework for Participating Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative. China’s Finance minister Liu Kun encouraged China’s financial institutions, Belt and Road signatories, and international agencies alike to use the framework to improve debt management.

Read the complete Blog post »


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