Friday, January 30, 2015

China and Mozambique: Soft Power and Media

What I'm reading: a new paper by Sérgio Chichava, Lara Côrtes and Aslak Orre on the coverage of China in the Mozambican media, and what this says about the Chinese soft power strategy. From the conclusion: 
Where representatives of Western donor nations, so predominant in the Mozambican political landscape, actively attempt to mould the Frelimo-based elite into its own image, China’s politicians emphasise that it cooperates – and does business – with that elite no matter what it may privately may think about its virtues and conduct. This may well be a successful diplomatic strategy in the short run. The above findings go in the direction of suggesting that in the long run, the close association – diplomatically, in business and in people’s minds – of China with Mozambique’s elite, could become an obstacle, in particular [when it] concerns the question of Chinese soft power. At least if Mozambique’s newspaper reports on China are anything to go by, China’s soft power builders need to give some thought on how to make more of its positive image (“the bankroller”) and that which could potentially be positive but has not yet made a considerable mark on the Mozambican media, Chinese culture and language. Similarly, how can it play down what seems to affects it negatively the most: Illicit resource extraction and corruption in Mozambique, and authoritarian governance in China.

Thanks to Sérgio for sending me a copy of the paper and to Henry Tugendhat at IDS Sussex for circulating a link to the online version in the Future Agricultures blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

China and Industrial Policy in the South

The Huajian factory outside Addis Ababa [The Economist]
What I'm reading:  A new paper by Daniel Poon at UNCTAD: China's Development Trajectory: a Strategic Opening for Industrial Policy in the South, UNCTAD, December 2014.

Poon points out that China is at a crucial crossroad, serving at the same time as the world's low-end workshop and its most prominent proponent of industrial policy. China wants to move up the value chain, and Poon says: "The gap between China’s industrial ambitions and its current capabilities provides a strategic opening for other developing countries to bargain for enhanced opportunities for domestic investment, learning, technical change and structural transformation."

This paper helps frame the work on Chinese industrial investment in Ethiopia that we are doing at SAIS-CARI. I am just back from Addis-Ababa where we interviewed a number of firms in the leather sector with some kind of skill-building or technology-transfer linkage with China. Fascinating.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

China Africa Research Manager Position available at SAIS-CARI

Our new center, the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), has been awarded a Carnegie Corporation grant to build CARI's capacity to bridge scholarship and policy. We are seeking a full-time research manager, who will take a leading role in organizing the center's work and programs. We are looking for someone with a master's degree (or equivalent experience), excellent organizational skills, and familiarity with communications, including social media and website management. Field research experience and Chinese language skills would be a plus. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2015 with a mid-February start date (negotiable). This is a 2 year, fixed-term position, although there is some possibility of renewal, depending on funding.

For detailed information on the post and how to apply please see the Johns Hopkins University HR website, requisition number 64680: