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China and the Indonesia Nickel Trade: Measuring the True Labor and Environmental Cost

A lot of EV consumers bought new battery-powered cars in the hope it would be better for the environment than a vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine that runs on fossil fuels. By some measures, that's no doubt true.

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Misadventures in the Skin Trade

This week I spent a few days in Cape Town, in time for a minor, if telling, crisis in international agricultural trade. A ship crammed with 19,000 (mostly still living) cows was stuck in Cape Town harbor, en route from Brazil to the Middle East.
As South African animal welfare authorities scrambled to inspect the horrors on board, the city was enveloped in a powerful farmyard funk. The entire episode can ...

What Exactly is the “Global South”?

Academics and think tank analysts, predominantly in the U.S. and Europe, spend a lot of time debating whether it's appropriate to use the nomenclature "Global South" to describe developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, among other regions.

China-Indonesia Ties in the New Prabowo Subianto Era

They're still counting the votes in Indonesia after last week's election but it's all but certain that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto will become the country's next president. While some of the world's major powers, like the U.S. and India, are holding ...

Africa’s Digital Sovereignty in the Era of U.S.-China Great Power Competition

In the increasingly acrimonious competition between the U.S. and China over technology standards, it's often assumed that smaller countries in places ...

Africa’s Debt Dilemma: The Urgent Need for More Equitable Borrowing

For the first time in years, a few African countries are venturing back into the bond market to raise funds for infrastructure and to pay down their debts. However, borrowing more from private creditors is a risky move given the difficulties ...

WEEK IN REVIEW: Kenya to Overhaul China Policy & Chinese Infrastructure in the DRC

Kenya has a new envoy to China, Willy Bett, who formally presented his credentials to President Xi Jinping this week. Among Ambassador Bett's first tasks will be to follow up on Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Musalia Mudavadi's promise to craft ...

China’s New Investment Priorities in Latin America and the Caribbean

For much of the past year, there's been a lot of talk about China's new leaner, more focused Belt and Road Initiative that goes by the mantra "Smart and Beautiful." The problem is very few people actually know what it looks ...

Noo Saro-Wiwa on “Black Ghosts” in China and the Complex Lives of the African Diaspora

Author Noo Saro-Wiwa had not spent much time in China when she heard that cities like Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Yiwu, among others, were home to large, vibrant African migrant communities. But other than some of the headlines about the diaspora ...

Why Vietnam is Not “In Play” in the U.S.-China Rivalry

There was a lot of speculation in the U.S. last year that an upgrade of diplomatic ties with Vietnam would prompt Hanoi to be more aligned with Washington in its rivalry with China. While ...

Chinese Weapons Are Becoming Increasingly Popular in Africa

Militaries across Africa are increasingly turning to China to source advanced weapons systems that were long unavailable from Western suppliers. Sophisticated Chinese-made drones, missile systems, and cyber-warfare technologies, among others, are now commonplace on African battlefields.

Guarding West Africa’s Forests: Exploring Ways to Put an End to Illegal Chinese Timber Trade

Together, the United States and China import $40 billion worth of timber products each year, quite a bit of which is harvested illegally from West Africa's rapidly shrinking forests. But cracking down on this illicit trade is extremely difficult given that ...
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