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Is ‘China in Africa’ something to fear? – The Washington Post

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Is ‘China in Africa’ something to fear? – The Washington Post.

Should the West fear China’s growing influence on the African continent? While there is no question that China and Chinese companies are changing the way African politicians seek aid and investment, the relationship between the two sides is far more complicated than simple narratives about “democracy or dictatorship” or “trade not aid” suggest. Veteran journalist Howard W. French explores this complexity in his book, “China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa.” He graciously took the time to answer my questions about the book and China’s role in Africa.

LS: Much of the discourse in American politics is that the U.S. should be afraid of China’s role in Africa because China is undemocratic or “trying to take over.” Is this a fair approach? Why or why not?

HF: I’m afraid the American discourse on China and Africa is very confused and generally not very insightful. Part of that is driven by the recent, still startled realization in this society of just how serious a competitor China is becoming, and part of that reflects the baggage of very old and nearly immutable American attitudes toward Africa, which are bound up in paternalism and in using Africa as a kind of vanity mirror to help us brighten our own self-image and feel better about ourselves…

8 Facts about Chinas Investments in Africa | Brookings Institution

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8 Facts about Chinas Investments in Africa | Brookings Institution.

“Considering the low priority of Africa in China’s overall foreign strategic mapping, a disproportionate level of international attention, publicity and scrutiny is paid to China’s Africa engagement,” writes Yun Sun, in a recent John L. Thornton China Center/Africa Growth Initiative paper, “Africa in China’s Foreign Policy.”

Below are selected data from her paper. Download it to read her thorough analysis of China’s interests in Africa and how China’s internal bureaucracy makes political, economic and security decisions regarding Africa policy.

  1. By the end of 2009, 45.7 percent of China’s cumulative foreign aid of ¥256.29 billion had been given to countries in Africa.
  2. China is Africa’s largest trading partner, surpassing the United States in 2009..

IPS – China Wants Peace in Africa | Inter Press Service

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IPS – China Wants Peace in Africa | Inter Press Service.

BISHOFTU, Ethiopia, Oct 13 2012 (IPS) – China could soon expand its involvement in peace and security issues in Africa, according to government officials, researchers and academics from both the Asian giant and resource-rich continent who met at the second China-Africa Think Tanks Forum in Ethiopia from Oct. 12 to 13.

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, the director of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia that organised the forum, told IPS that it should not come as a surprise that China is interested in peace and security on the African continent.

“There is nothing that is not touched by peace and security. Whether you’re (looking) for investment collaboration, economic operation or anything else. Peace and security has to be in place. Because that’s the central instrument that keeps the environment for any other interaction and collaboration together,” Gebrehiwot said.

A readers’ guide to learning Chinese

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A readers’ guide to learning Chinese.

Do you want to learn Chinese? You do if you know just how important the language is going to be in your future. Here’s how to get started

ARE WE ALL TRYING TO LEARN CHINESE? 

We should hope so. China could soon overtake the US as the world’s largest superpower. Across Ireland, students are getting ready for a sea change in global politics. Chinese language and culture are set to form a core part of the overhauled Junior Cert syllabus (see panel). Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has also announced plans to offer Chinese as a Leaving Cert subject. University College Dublin and University College Cork already offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with Chinese language and cultural components…

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