China’s use of soft power in Africa has served to strengthen relations with individual countries and the region as a whole. Yet, despite the initial altruistic appearance of many of Beijing’s Africa initiatives, China’s involvement in the African market does not necessarily bode well for the future of transparency.
Over the past decade China’s relationship with Africa has become much more complex, and can no longer be defined by the simple need to secure access to natural resources. Ultimately, Beijing’s engagement with Africa is believed to be a part of a long-term strategy to restore China to global prominence.
As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts continue to stall, concerns are increasing that his war against corruption has been reduced to a thinly veiled excuse to target members of the political opposition. To maintain the credibility of his public stance against corruption, Buhari cannot afford to spare corruption within his own administration.
Sonangol’s complex relationship with the Presidential office has created a de facto parallel government. Over the years it has operated outwith the traditional remit of a national oil company, exercising undue political and economic influence to the benefit of a select few. However, a combination of low global oil prices and restructuring will likely serve to finally curb its influence.
Depending on which stance is adopted, Egypt and Sudan are simultaneously the best of friends and the worst of enemies. It is no secret that these countries have their differences, with notable issues playing out publically. However, there is much that binds these two African nations and the recent friction must be understood in context, to gain a deeper understanding of the impact this may have on investments.
Sinopec’s acquisition of Chevron’s downstream businesses in South Africa and Botswana is China’s first major investment into Africa’s downstream oil industry. With energy demand in Africa continuing to increase – and demand slowing in China – Chinese companies are consequently turning to foreign markets to secure further customers for continued growth. Conversely, these investments may merely be part of a wider politically-motivated plan aimed at promoting China’s political influence across, not only Africa, but the wider international community.
Navigating the mining sector in the DRC remains a hazardous and sometimes complex prospect – depending on location and context, either political elite networks or armed groups have developed a monopoly over this lucrative sector.
The first visit by a Turkish President to Mozambique has been tainted by the political war between the Gülen movement and the Turkish state.
The appointment of Félix Tshisekedi as Rassemblement leader reignites hope for a peaceful political transition in the DRC amid the resumption of talks. However, doubts remain over just how much unity there is in the opposition.
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By placing increasing strategic importance in Djibouti, Beijing can turn the country into a major trade hub and a gateway to African economies. Although the construction of China’s Djibouti naval base has been perceived as a security threat to the ‘West’, it brings good news for global investors.
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The ruling Frelimo party has positioned itself as the sole arbitrator for negotiation and social mobility in Mozambique; and has developed a virtual monopoly over political and judicial positions, and holds influence over the private sector. In essence, Frelimo elites can be viewed as the gatekeepers of foreign investment.
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Resource distribution, like all forms of informal mechanisms in Nigeria, is linked to the practice of godfatherism, and it is via this dynamic that several of Nigeria’s key economic elite built their empires.