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April 26, 2016

China-Africa news: Education partnerships, Mandarin in South Africa, Macau’s chicken

Times Higher Education on China-Africa higher education partnerships. Trade dominates discussions about China and Africa's increased engagement, even though sectors like education have also been affected by China's growth. The Chinese government granted 30,000 scholarships to African students to study in China last year, up from 18,000 in 2012. Education is also one of the ten priority areas for China-Africa cooperation announced by China's President Xi Jinping at FOCAC6 in Johannesburg last year. Research and collaboration between African and Chinese academics has gone up, but still lags behind collaboration between African and UK academia, for example. Higher education partnerships between Africa and China face several challenges but also have room to improve, Times Higher Education argues.

Africa’s slow growth won’t chase Chinese migrants. Chinese migrants in Africa, most of whom were drawn by the boom in the commodities sector driven by China's phenomenal growth, are choosing to remain even though growth is now slower. Some Chinese companies, especially engineering and construction firms, feel they are better placed to compete against both foreign and local firms in African countries. Others, meanwhile, are adapting to changing economic conditions.

Zambia's xenophobic violence. Two people were killed after foreigners were attacked in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. The foreigners - mainly refugees from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi - were attacked after a Rwandan shopkeeper was accused of being behind a suspected ritual murder. As Bloomberg notes, Zambia's poorly performing economy is probably behind the rise in the societal tensions. Zambia is also home to one of the largest Chinese communities on the continent.

How “African Chicken” became popular in Macau. The "national" dish of Macau, a special administrative region of China, is "African Chicken". "African Chicken" is a reminder of Macau's links to Portugal - which administered the region as a colony until 1999 - and Portugal's links to another colony, Mozambique. Macau's "African Chicken" was inspired by a Mozambican hot and spicy chicken dish introduced to the region by retired Portuguese army officers.

Taiwanese deportees ‘confess’ in Beijing. The 45 Taiwanese citizens deported from Kenya to China, sparking a diplomatic row in the process, confessed to telecom fraud in China, according to a Chinese official. Taiwan sent a delegation to visit the suspects in China. China says it will try the suspects in its courts - which have suspiciously high conviction rates - even as Taiwan says it is negotiating with Beijing for them to be repatriated back home. Not all the suspects were deported from Kenya: some are still in Nairobi where they hope they will be allowed to stay.

South Africa does not have enough teachers to teach Mandarin. There is only one teacher qualified to teach Mandarin, a not-so-good indictment of a 2015 government directive to introduce the teaching of Mandarin in lower schools starting this year. At the moment only 15 schools in three provinces are teaching the language with the help of two teachers recruited from China: three more teachers are expected to join them. The directive has been hotly debated since it was announced; South Africa's teachers union, for example, said indigenous languages should have been prioritised instead.

Vice documentary looks at China in the DRC and Kenya. A new documentary by VICE and HBO visits two African nations that have received considerable Chinese investment over the last decade and are also home to a growing number of Chinese expats. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the documentary visits "a massive copper mine being revived as part of a $6.5 billion "infrastructure for minerals" agreement," while in Kenya it visits a railway under construction (by a Chinese firm, and funded by China) and a school that teaches Mandarin.

Tanzania will export 2 million tonnes of cassava to China, its Minister for Trade told Parliament. It seems the sales will take place in the next financial year, which starts in July, since the Minister said full details will be available in the 2016/17 budget.


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