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Publications: Briefing Papers




Working papers



Briefing Papers and Economic Bulletins

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Assessing Chinese Manufacturing Investments in East Africa: Drivers, Challenges, and Opportunities

By: Ying Xia (Briefing Paper 02/2019)

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.

Key takeaways:

  1. The author found a considerable disparity between official registration information and on-the-ground investment activities. Neither MOFCOM nor investment authorities in Kenya or Tanzania have been able to monitor small investment projects that are “flying under the radar” or keep track of any subsequent changes to investment plans.

  2. Chinese investments in the manufacturing and agricultural industries in Kenya and Tanzania are dominated by private, migrant entrepreneurs, who have mainly been driven by market considerations, such as production cost and market proximity, rather than government incentives in home or host country.

  3. Business strategies and decision-making are usually contingent on entrepreneurs’ prior experience in China and African countries.

Photo: Government of South Africa Flickr

Photo: Government of South Africa Flickr

The Path Ahead: The 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

By: Janet Eom, Deborah Brautigam, and Lina Benabdallah (Briefing Paper 01/2018)

The 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing from September 3 to 4, 2018. Since 2000, the FOCAC has been held every three years. It serves as the official summit between the Chinese president and African heads of state, and results in major policy and financing announcements. This CARI briefing paper analyzes progress on commitments made during the 2015 FOCAC, and the trends we expect to emerge from the 2018 FOCAC. These will shape the China-Africa relationship in coming years. This paper by Janet Eom, Deborah Brautigam, and Lina Benabdallah makes four points:

  1. We find that Chinese loans are not currently a major contributor to debt distress in Africa. Yet many countries have borrowed heavily from China and others. Any new FOCAC loan pledges will likely take Africa’s growing debt burden into account.

  2. The 2018 FOCAC will likely pledge additional loans for infrastructure and investment for manufacturing. But the outlook on Chinese trade with Africa, which has slowed, is uncertain.

  3. Capacity building as well as peace and security are emerging as more prominent parts of the China-Africa relationship, and serves to diversify engagement on both sides.

  4. New areas of cooperation at the 2018 FOCAC may include renewable energy and the Belt and Road Initiative. It may also be influenced by US-China trade tensions and the creation of a national development agency in China.

Challenges of and Opportunities from the Commodity Price Slump

By: Lucas Atkins, Deborah Brautigam, Yunnan Chen, and Jyhjong Hwang (Economic Bulletin 01/2017)

The first edition of the China-Africa Economic Bulletin provides a comprehensive overview of the key channels of China-Africa economic engagement over the last decade, with a focus on shifting economic trends in the past five years. The collapse of global commodity prices beginning in 2014, tied with the domestic slowdown in China, has significant implications for the tenor and nature of China’s economic relationship with African countries going forward. This bulletin provides more information on trends in bilateral trade, Chinese outward direct investment to Africa, Chinese labor and contract values, and Chinese loans to African governments.