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July 10, 2016

China-Africa news: Modi in Africa, fishy trouble in Guinea and Kenya

We are seeking applications from Chinese journalists to participate in a practical skills and training workshop and reporting exercise in Johannesburg in October 2016. The workshop is open to Chinese print, newspaper, radio and digital journalists, including those working in China, Africa and globally. The Project will provide airfares, accommodation and related expenses, and the selected journalists will all become fellows of the Project and part of the Project’s global community.

One of our areas of focus is how the press in Africa covers China; improving that coverage is the reason this project was started. This year, however, we also decided to look at how the Chinese press covers Africa. We sample a few newspapers every other week to see what they are saying about China in Africa. We have a post covering 27 June to 3 July: it looks at an extensive investigation by Oriental Morning Post in Shanghai into how Chinese firms conduct CSR in Africa; an explanation by Global Times in Beijing on why Chinese firms often experience “misunderstandings” in Africa; and the happy days of a smart Burkina Faso student in Wuhan who built his own car to drive to his graduation ceremony.

India's Prime Minister visits Africa. Narendra Modi's itinerary includes trips to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. Those countries include substantial Indian diaspora's, with South Africa's exceeding one million. But the trip is more business than sentimental, and Modi is signing trade deals even as he gives rousing addresses to Indian populations in the countries. As expected, the press has drawn parallels between India and China, which is Africa's largest trading partner. The Indian government has however downplayed the connections, saying Modi's visit has nothing to do with China.

Chinese fish exports cause uproar in Kenya. Kenya has a coastline and also shares Lake Victoria, the world's second largest freshwater lake, with Uganda and Tanzania. Despite this, the country faces a shortage of fish which has seen it turn to Chinese tilapia imports. Legislators from Kenya's lake and coast regions have protested this state of affairs, arguing they amount to economic sabotage of their communities. Some think it is a deliberate plan by the government to punish people from those areas (it is not).

Guinea is powerless against Chinese fishing vessels. The West African country's coastal waters are a playground for illegal and destructive Chinese trawlers, looking for a silver fish that sells for a lot back home. The trawlers have exploded in number over the past decade, disadvantaging local fishermen. The invaders have been helped, in part, by corruption, poor governance, and limited resources in Guinea.

Star Times digital migration deal under investigation. Uganda's Inspector General of government stopped a deal leasing the national digital terrestrial television (DTT) and radio network to a Chinese company, Star Software Technology Company Limited, an affiliate of Star Times television. The suitability of Star Software for the deal was raised in a petition to the Inspector General, which led to the stay decision. Six other firms other than Star Software had placed bids for the deal.

The Republic of Congo's President was in China this week. It is the second time Denis Sassou Nguesso is visiting Beijing in as many years.

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