THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO AFRICA-CHINA RELATIONS


As a guide for beginners to the Africa-China story, we present this discussion with Africa-China consultant and author Lina Getachew Ayenew, author of The Complete Beginner's Guide to China-Africa Relations, a 5-part series. Lina spent years producing easy-to-understand summaries of Africa-China news and events for readers in Beijing, which she used as the source material for her new book that chronicles Africa-China relations in 2014-2018.

https://chinaafricaproject.com/podcasts/podcast-china-africa-beginner-guide-lina-getachew-ayenew/

 

CHINESE “CONSTRUCTIVE JOURNALISM” IN AFRICA


It is essential for journalists from outside China covering the Africa-China story to have a thorough grasp of the Chinese definition of journalism, which is significantly different than that in most of Africa and for much of the rest of the world. The Chinese have a different understanding of journalism’s role in society; rather than serve in an investigative or adversarial role, the media in China is expected to be solutions-oriented in its reporting. The concept is known as “constructive journalism”. Professor Zhang Yanqiu, Director of the Africa Communication Research Center at the Communication University of China, is one of China’s foremost scholars in “constructive journalism”.

https://art19.com/shows/china-in-africa/episodes/6832b79e-dfcd-40a7-b177-0e2521389ee5/embed?theme=dark-custom

 

MYTH #1: CHINESE COMPANIES IN AFRICA ONLY HIRE CHINESE WORKERS



The presence of Chinese labour in Africa is both controversial and poorly understood. Although Chinese companies import a significant number of workers, the facts disprove the myth that the majority of workers on Chinese-funded projects are Chinese.

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MYTH #2: CHINA IS AFRICA'S #1 INVESTOR


Although China is by far Africa's largest trading partner, the size of its investment portfolio on the continent is relatively small. Many journalists inaccurately conflate TRADE with INVESTMENT. By 2015, China ranked only #7 for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa, far behind the United States, Germany, and even the United Arab Emirates.


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MYTH #3: CHINA EXPORTS PRISON LABOUR TO WORK IN AFRICA


For years researchers have scoured Africa for evidence that China exports prisoners to Africa. To date, they have found no such evidence, absolutely none. While people share fantastic stories based on hearing about Chinese prison camps, guards and convicts, these are almost certainly myths based on misunderstandings.


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MYTH #4: AFRICA IS NOW ONE OF CHINA'S TOP TRADING PARTNERS


While China is now one of Africa's most important trading partners, the reverse is not true. Africa represents less than 5% of China's global trade balance, most of it in commodities that can be sourced elsewhere. Africa barely registers in terms of the value of its trade compared to China's major trading partners in Europe, the US and the Middle East.


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MYTH #5: CHINESE INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA ARE CENTRALLY PLANNED IN BEIJING


China is a Communist government and the Chinese domestic economy is largely still centrally planned. In the past this included encouraging Chinese companies to expand abroad. However, the decision of where to go is made by the companies alone and almost always guided by a single factor: profits.


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