All Posts (76)

China's Commodity Slowdown

How much did the global commodity downturn effect China’s economic relations with India? The first China Africa Economic Bulletin of Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies has attempted to calculate the impact.

The first shock was an enormous drop in Chinese imports from Africa. Between 2014 and 2015, Chinese imports dropped 42%, from $ 79.8 billion to $46.1 billion. The primary cause was the dramatic fall in the price of oil, China’s largest import from…

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Turkey's Somalia Crush

Passengers of Turkish Airlines last month found a complimentary magazine on their seat with a cover story on the opportunity Africa represented for Turkish firms. Ankara has made a concerted bid to expand trade and investment ties with not only its traditional markets in North Africa but increasingly in sub-Saharan Africa as well. Part of Turkey’s new Africa policy, however, also derives from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s belief that his government needs to develop a larger global…

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Overthrow of Mugabe  

Robert Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabwe has known, resigned on November as his party, ZANU-PF, moved to impeach him. The 93-year-old Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years and was Africa’s second-longest ruling president at the time of his removal. His vice-president and the man behind the intra-party coup, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sworn in on 23rd November as his successor.

His fall was precipitated by his decision to sack…

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China Tightens Grip on Congo's Cobalt

The global push for electric vehicles is set to make cobalt one of the world’s most strategically important elements. Over 60 percent of the world’s cobalt comes from one country: the sprawling central African country officially called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chinese firms already control most of the cobalt trade from the Congo and recently showed their intent to further tighten their grip on this all-important element. 

In late September, the Congolese Mines…

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Strategic and Beautiful Djibouti

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind became the first Indian head of state to visit the tiny enclave nation of Djibouti. Djibouti recently became host to China’s first Indian Ocean military base, but reflecting its strategic location at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden it is also home to bases by France, the United States and Japan.

Lonely Planet, however, has listed it as one of the top tourist destinations of 2018. This is because of Djibouti’s unusual geology. Says…

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Niger Becomes US Terror Focus

An Al Qaeda ambush in Niger that led to the deaths of four US Special Forces and five Nigerian soldiers has highlighted multi-nation counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region. The ambush is likely to result in a heightened US military presence in the region. It may persuade Washington to support a larger European-backed plan for a $400 million UN military force for the Sahel.

The ambush took place on October 4th near the Mali border. The Pentagon believes “Islamic State affiliated”…

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South Africa's Gupta Brothers Scandal

A slowly spreading scandal involving an Indian-origin business family continues to damage the reputation of South African President Jacob Zuma, the ruling African National Congress and has now begun to stain a number of major international companies. The global accountancy major, KPMG, purged the top management of its South Africa after evidence it had facilitated the crony business relationship between Zuma’s family and the Guptas. South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has called for…

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India and Japan moved towards officially breaking ground for the proposed Asia Africa Growth Corridor during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state visit to India. In their joint statement issued on 14th  September, the two governments spoke of working together to build connectivity in the Indo-Pacific and Africa. The statement said the two sides “welcomed the efforts to explore the development of industrial corridors and industrial network for the growth of Asia and Africa, which…

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China's Changing Africa Profile

Botswana takes on Beijing: Africa missed a chance to observe the Chinese dragon bare its fangs at one of its own in mid-August. Beijing issued a series of warnings against Botswana (population 2.25 million) when a local NGO and a university invited the Dalai Lama to visit the country from August 17-19. 

Botswana’s President Ian Khama, in an interview, later said the Chinese government had warned him that they would recall their ambassador or isolate Botswana…

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Four African countries have or are about to experience major political change. Each also represents a different strand in the chequerboard that represents Africa’s political landscape. 

Kenya Local:  In a milestone for African democracy, the Kenyan Supreme Court  annulled the results of the August 8 presidential elections and ordered a new election to be held within 60 days. That the judgment, passed on September 1, has been accepted by the winning…

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Mozambique:  The ruling FRELIMO party of Mozambique will head into its September party congress still struggling to defuse the crisis created by a $2 billion loan scandal. While the party’s control of the country is not in doubt, President Filipe Nyusi will seek to distance himself from the scandal, which took place when he was defence minister. The September congress could potentially choose a new party head. 

The IMF had forced Mozambique to hire the US…

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The OECD argued that African governments need to do more to encourage entrepreneurship in its recent African Economic Outlook 2017.  The annual report noted that the continent’s growth rate was increasingly being driven by domestic consumption, allowing it to slough off the effects of the drop in global commodity prices. 
 
In 2016, Africa’s economic growth slowed to 2.2% from 3.4% in 2015 due to low commodity prices, weak global recovery and weather-affected…

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On July 12, China announced the dispatch of two shiploads of armed personnel to man its military base in Djibouti. Situated in the Horn of Africa and near where the Red Sea joins the Indian Ocean, this is China’s first overseas military base and widely seen as a major step towards the People’s Liberation Army and Navy developing a permanent Indian Ocean presence.  

Xinhua, China's state news agency, said the ships had left from Zhanjiang in southern China “to set up a…

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AfDB Annual Meeting in Gujarat

A symbolic milestone in India’s engagement with Africa was reached when the African Development Bank held its 2017 annual meeting in Ahmadabad from 22nd to 26th May. The presidents of Benin and Senegal were among the over 3,000 attendees.

In the inaugural address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of how India’s partnership with Africa was “based on a model of cooperation which is responsive to the needs of African countries. It is demand-driven and free of conditions.” He said India…

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The flagship India-Africa economic summit, the annual Confederation of Indian Industry-Export Import Bank of India Africa Conclave, was held in New Delhi on 9-10 March. The twelfth such conclave saw a drop in attendance with the number of Indian delegations from 622 in 2014 to 452 and the number of African countries from 45 in 2014 to 37.

While this would seem to run counter to what was seen in last year’s Indo-African summit where a record 54 African governments sent delegations,…

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Developments in Pretoria and Abuja

South Africa, the wealthiest of the African states, and Nigeria, the most populous, are entering stages of political uncertainty.

SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa’s Constitutional Court is holding hearings on whether a planned no confidence motion against the government of President Jacob Zuma should be held as a secret ballot. The opposition parties have asked the court for a ruling in the hope that it can entice parliamentarians of the ruling African National…

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About the Author

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri writes on political, security, and economic issues. He previously wrote for the Statesman and the Telegraph in Calcutta. He served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian government from 2011-2015. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Asia Society Global Council, the Aspen Institute Italia, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society. Pramit is also a senior associate of Rhodium Group, New York City, advisor to the Bower Group Asia in India, a member of the Council on Emerging Markets, Washington, DC, and a delegate for the Confederation of Indian Industry-Aspen Strategy Group Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the Ananta Aspen Strategic Dialogues with Japan, China and Israel. Born in 1964, he has visited over fifty countries on five continents. Mr. Pal Chaudhuri is a history graduate from Cornell University.