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We Are Hiring! Apply Now to be CARI’s Program Assistant. 

We’re seeking a highly motivated and organized PROGRAM ASSISTANT to provide administrative and budget support to the CARI program.

How to Apply:

Applications are due March 24, 2017 at 9:00 am EST. You must submit both a cover letter and resume/CV to be considered for the position. This position will start mid May through early June 2017. The duration of the position is one year with the possibility for renewal.

Please apply here on the SAIS hiring website. You must enter requisition # “312786” into the search bar and create an account to apply.

More details can be found here »

Upcoming Events:


Spring 2017 (Date/time TBD). CARI will host a policy roundtable to explore the future of United States-China-Africa relations. The roundtable will consider the challenges and opportunities of this trilateral relationship both at the end of the Obama administration and facing the Trump administration moving forward. The event will be free and open to the public. More details to come soon.


Fall 2017 (Date/time TBD). CARI will host its 4th annual conference. This year’s theme will be “Matters of State: Politics, Governance, and Agency in China-Africa Engagement.” The event will be free and open to the public. More details to come soon.

Working Paper 10: We Are Not So Different: A Comparative Study of Employment Relations at Chinese and American Firms in Kenya

This paper by Zander Rounds and Hongxiang Huang explores the extent to which labor conditions at Chinese firms in Kenya are a function of firm nationality, as opposed to other characteristics like industry, firm size, or length of time operating abroad. The authors investigate the question: in what ways do Chinese employers relate to Kenyan labor differently than American employers? The paper argues that researchers and practitioners looking to address labor issues of Chinese firms in Africa must attempt to unpack the variation among Chinese companies, and place employment relations at particular firms within broader contexts.  Download Working Paper (PDF) »

Working Paper 4: Eastern Promises: New Data on Chinese Loans in Africa, 2000-2014

In this paper, Professor Deborah Brautigam and Jyhjong Hwang provide an overview of CARI's database on Chinese loans to Africa. They report on the scale of loans, their African recipients, and the sectors where borrowers are investing this finance. The findings are compared with other efforts to estimate Chinese development finance. Chinese loans remain at a lower scale than is often believed and the authors suggest that Chinese financiers provided US$86.3 billion to African governments and state-owned enterprises between 2000 and 2014. However, they warn that debt levels are rising, the Chinese are unlikely to cancel these debts, and African governments may not be able to absorb the sharply increased pledges made by Chinese leaders. Download Working Paper (PDF) »

Working Paper 9: Chinese Media, Kenyan Lives: An Ethnographic Inquiry into CCTV Africa’s Head Offices

This paper by Melissa Lefkowitz examines how Kenyan, Chinese, and other international media professionals navigate the everyday production of media at CCTV Africa’s head offices in Nairobi, Kenya. It provides a portrait of the multifaceted experiences of CCTV Africa staff, including their narratives of joining CCTV, producing news content, navigating relationships with managerial staff, and planning for the future. While CCTV Africa’s employees are, on average, satisfied with CCTV Africa’s work environment and conditions, problematic areas regarding safety, interpersonal relationships, and training deserve further consideration and investigation. Download Working Paper (PDF) »

China, Djibouti, and the New York Times: How Much Debt?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The New York Times had a front page article on China and Djibouti this past weekend: “U.S. Wary of its New Neighbor in Djibouti—a Chinese Naval Base.” Like many observers, the NYT seems to have been misled about the scale of Chinese engagement, and Chinese lending to Djibouti in particular. Here’s what they said:

Beyond surveillance concerns, United States officials, citing the billions of dollars in Chinese loans to Djibouti’s heavily indebted government, wonder about the long-term durability of an alliance that has served Washington well in its global fight against Islamic extremism.

Here at the China Africa Research Initiative we specialize in tracking and confirming Chinese loans in Africa. We have not been contacted by the US government, and we wonder where they are getting their “data”? In this instance, we were able to interview top ranking officials in Djibouti's Ministry of Finance to confirm Chinese loan financing. 

Read the complete Blog post »