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September 18, 2016

China-Africa News: AGOA in Lesotho, Zimbabwe farms, new Africa fund, Nigeria loan

We are still receiving applications for our scholarship targeted to African journalism graduates to study at the University of the Witwatersrand and a themed reporting grant looking at the role of women as the subjects and actors/decision-makers/agents in China-Africa relations. The deadline for receiving applications for both opportunities in 25 September. See here (scholarship) and here (grants) for how to apply.

Lesotho is a success story of the African Growth and Opportunities Act, which allows duty-free exports to the US. But most beneficiaries have so far failed to use it as a springboard to something bigger. Christian Science Monitor correspondent Ryan Lenora Brown's reporting in Lesotho was supported by a grant from the Wits China-Africa Project.

Chinese replace expelled white farmers in Zimbabwe. Chinese farmers are taking over tobacco farms that used to belong to expelled white farmers, according to a report in the Telegraph. Five farms in Mashonaland Central, a region to the north-west of Harare, are now being farmed by Chinese investors, confident in Zimbabwe's very strong relations with China. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's most valuable agricultural export.

Chinese employers in trouble for sex abuse. Police in Jinja, Uganda arrested 15 Chinese nationals and two Ugandans on suspicion of sexually abusing workers at a Chinese-owned textile factory. Female workers at the factory complained to police that they are forced to have sex with the men to keep their jobs.

How real is the decline in rhino poaching in South Africa? The South African government recently reported a decline in rhino poaching numbers in the afflicted Kruger National Park. Keith Somerville at The Conversation however asks whether there really is a downward trend: have poachers stopped going after the rhinos, or are the lower numbers a reflection of the fall in the rhino population due to poaching?

Nigeria's president approved borrowing from several international lenders, including China. The low-cost, long-term loans - according to the presidency - will be provided by the World Bank, African Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Export-Import Bank of China.

Kenya arrests Chinese executive for tax evasion. A Chinese executive of a company which had won a tender to build a terminal at Kenya's main international airport was arrested in Nairobi for tax evasion. He was accused of failing to pay tax returns since 2010; his company has worked on several projects in Kenya.

Six Chinese banks and funds formed an infrastructure fund worth $500 million to fund projects in Africa. The China Overseas Infrastructure Development and Investment Corporation Limited (COIDIC) was set up by the China Development Bank (CDB), China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund), China Gezhouba Group Overseas Investments, China Telecom Global Limited Changjiang Survey, Planning, Design and Research (CISPDR), China ENFI Engineering Corporation, and HCIG Energy Investment.

Chinese cement exports to Kenya rise sharply. Kenya imports of Chinese cement grew tenfold in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. However, as Business Daily reports, the Chinese companies building a number of flagship projects in Kenya - including a regional railway to the Uganda border - continue denying that they are using Chinese products instead of locally produced materials.

Quartz explores why Chinese love crocodile meat so much. Exports of crocodile meat from Africa to China have soared, and the crocodile farming industry is growing at 22% annually across Africa.  Last year Africa exported crocodile worth $196 million to China. Quartz answers why more and more Chinese people are eating crocodile meat.

Chinese language instructions lead to death. In a bizarre incident, a worker at a brick moulding company owned by a Chinese national in Zimbabwe died after his colleague pressed the wrong button on a mixing machine. The machine's wording was in Chinese. The incident happened last year. The Chinese owner of the company is currently on trial for culpable homicide.

Four Chinese men guilty of smuggling in Namibia. The men were arrested three years ago for trying to smuggle 14 rhino horns and a leopard hide out of Namibia.

China’s edge is driving global innovation, SA finance minister says. Pravin Gordhan says South Africa has to become as agile as China, and embrace innovation if it is to emulate China's fast growth and compete on the global stage.

Chinese clothing manufacturers in the spotlight for paying poorly in South Africa. The South Africa government and Chinese clothing manufacturers in a manufacturing belt have been engaged in a spat over wages for the last five years. South Africa believes they should pay workers more, but the manufacturers are good at manoeuvring around the political and regulatory pressure. Even then, some were forced to relocate to neighbouring Lesotho.

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