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June 22, 2015

China-Africa News: Egypt and Tanzania deals, China’s ivory appetite, circumcision device, SA’s tourist numbers

Jenni Marsh, a British journalist who works with Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, won an award for the reporting she was able to do with a grant from the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project. Marsh's article about Afro-Chinese marriages in Guangzhou, China, won an "excellence award in feature writing" at the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) 2015 Editorial Awards.  Marsh’s achievement is validation of the mission of this project: partnering with journalists to better explain the growing relationship between Africa and China.

Why Djibouti is very attractive for military bases. The Americans and French already have a military base in the small horn of Africa nation. Recently, it was reported that China is also looking at setting up a military base in the country. BBC looks at what makes Djibouti attractive to global military powers.

Chinese circumcision device gets WHO green light. The World Health Organisation approved the quality and design of the ShangRing, a disposable device that can be used to perform male circumcisions without the need for hospital surgical facilities. Male circumcision has – through tests carried out in Africa – been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission (in men) by 60%. The approval of ShangRing could not have come at a better time for China: Chinese medical companies, according to the Wall Street Journal, are increasingly angling for a bigger share of the global health market, and such approvals help further that goal.

Egypt signs deal worth $10 billion with China. The 15 projects, which are included in an initial framework agreement, will mainly focus on the “electricity and transport sectors but would also include Chinese direct investment in other projects.” They include six transport projects which will see a new railway built as well as old ones rehabilitated.

Tanzania agrees to loans from South Africa and China. The Tanzanian government agreed to $800 million loans from South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank ($600 million) and China's China Development Bank Corp. ($200 million). The loans will be used to strengthen Tanzania's foreign exchange reserves. The country's currency is down 21% against the dollar this year, and is the second worst-performing African currency after Ghana's.

South African footwear manufacturers in China for training. A group of 28 leather and footwear manufacturers departed for China on 14 June for a three-month training programme in shoe design and manufacturing techniques. Partly facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry, the group of manufacturers from Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, will be based in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

Cameroon signs vehicle manufacturing deal with Indian and Chinese firms. Cameroon’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development said his country had signed a $158 million agreement with an Indian firm, Azad Coach, and two Chinese firms, Yutong Group and GAC GONOW (a joint venture between Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd and Zhejiang Gonow Holdings Group Co. Ltd), to build two vehicle manufacturing plants in Cameroon. Additionally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei announced that Premier Li Keqiang had invited Cameroonian Prime Minister Philemon Yang to pay an official visit to China on June 17-21.

Chinese mining equipment on the way to Zimbabwe, almost. Zimbabwe will soon start acquiring mining equipment from China – with a Chinese credit line. Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Fred Moyo, said Zimbabwe had fulfilled “most” of the conditions to acquire mining equipment under a $100 million credit facility from the China Exim Bank. Hence, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation entered into a $100 million loan facility agreement with Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group of China (XCMG) for the provision of small-scale mining equipment.

300 suspected poachers arrested. An operation carried out across 62 countries by Europol and other international agencies led to the arrest of 300 people and the seizure of  "huge amounts" of wildlife contraband, including 12t of ivory, as well as rhino horn and whale bone." A Chinese national suspected of involvement in Namibia's biggest rhino horn smuggling case was among those arrested.

Fewer tourists recorded in S. Africa. New visa regulations which require potential travellers to South Africa to apply in person at South African consulates are being blamed for a 7.2% decline in tourist arrivals between February 2014 and February 2015. Arrivals from China recorded the sharpest decline, falling 32.4%. China, until recently, had only two South African visa offices.

Tanzanian minister calls on China to end its appetite for ivory. Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, made the call while launching an anti-poaching awareness campaign. Tanzania's “elephant population shrank from around 110 000 in 2009 to a little over 43 000 in 2014, a fall of 60 percent, according to a census released this month.” Demand from China is blamed for fuelling elephant deaths in Africa.

...while Ethiopia's representative in Hong Kong defended ivory trade. Ethiopia's diplomatic representative in Hong Kong, Dennis Ng Wang-pun, is one of the city's "most outspoken defenders of the ivory trade" even as Ethiopia has undertaken "stringent efforts" to stop ivory from leaving its borders: Ethiopia is a key transit point for illegal ivory. Ng has written several letters to the Hong Kong government and city legislators opposing the destruction of ivory stockpiles.

Chinese railway workers attacked by angry residents in Kenya. The Kenyans were angry at the compensation they have been promised by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which is constructing a line between Mombasa and Nairobi. The attacks happened in Mombasa.

$29 million loan to improve infrastructure in Lusaka's Chinese Economic Zone. The Zambia-China Economic & Trade Cooperation Zone (ZCCZ) and China Development Bank (CDB) agreed to a $29 million loan to improve infrastructure at ZCCZ Lusaka Park, according to an official with the bank.

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