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A Not-So-Extraordinary Summit

This week's 'Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19' was largely uneventful. The initiatives announced in President Xi Jinping's address were either projects that had already been announced before (China building the Africa CDC, which will now be accelerated) or long-term Chinese standard operating procedure ...

So. Many. Ironies.

Wow. The ironies are popping up so fast they're going fractal.  As protests mount in the United States against the systemic and structural racism that has turned institutions like the police into something akin to occupying forces in certain neighborhoods, guess ...

The Geopolitics of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis is proving an interesting case study in the impact of different ways of conducting public diplomacy. Any public diplomacy is dependent on two factors: staying on message, and making sure that message doesn't play into negative perceptions about you in the wider world. 

Nigeria’s Emerging Role in China-Africa Relations

One of the unexpected outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis is its rapidly escalating impact on the relationship between Nigeria and China. Several African governments have protested the treatment of African migrants in Guangzhou, but Nigeria is emerging as the epicentre of a diplomatic crisis in China-Africa relations.  ...

Economics Versus Narrative in the China-Africa Relationship

As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, we're seeing the emergence of two contradictory trends. On the one hand, the crisis has revealed the relative fragility of public diplomacy ties between China and Africa. While high-level government-to-government diplomacy continues, the Guangzhou crisis ...

The Thorny Politics of Gratitude

The COVID-19 crisis is nothing if not instructive. It has functioned like an X-ray, revealing hidden weaknesses in systems across the world. This isn't only true in the narrow sense, relating to health care, insurance, and protective gear manufacturing systems. It's also true in the wider, political ...

After Guangzhou, China-Africa Relations Return to Normal but Big Problems Loom Below the Surface

The squall caused by the eviction and mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou is dying down, and the China-Africa relationship seems to be heading back to its usual state: glassy calm on the surface with massive currents deep below. The fact that ...

Ambassador Lin Songtian’s Recall Signals Shifts Ahead in China-Africa Relationship

The sudden recall from South Africa of Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian was initially interpreted as being a demotion. But the contrary appears to be true – it now looks as though his deft use of Twitter has propelled him into another role: A combatant in the growing ...

COVID-19 and the Crisis of National Development

COVID-19’s rapid move from warning sign to global pandemic has yanked the spotlight onto a number of questions humanity has been uneasily avoiding for years. Beyond the human-focused ones like how to keep a global economy running when flights are shut down, it has also drawn attention ...

Africa Could Be the Winner as the U.S. Attempts to Stifle Huawei

This much is clear: 5G is coming. About 100 times faster than current mobile speeds, it will deliver faster internet to more people. One square kilometer of 4G can support about 4,000 devices. With 5G that jumps to about one million devices. But this ...
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