Friday, May 23, 2014

US-China-Africa Cooperation Case Studies

Here in Washington, I am asked a lot by people at USAID and the World Bank: why is it so hard to cooperate with China in Africa? Usually the person asking the question has in mind doing a foreign aid/development project together. It's not always clear exactly what the purpose of such cooperation is -- and I suspect that usually the subtext is "we need to teach the Chinese how to be better donors." I am collecting examples of US-China-Africa cooperation that already exist. Usually these are commercial deals where cooperation has a business rationale. This is an excellent, and more sustainable way to go.

Here's the kind of example I'm looking for:
China, Ethiopian Airlines to finance purchase of Boeing Aircraft by reporter Kaleyesus Bekele: This deal is still at an early MOU stage, but as the article notes, if it goes forward, it would involve a financing facility of $500 million from China's largest bank, ICBC, provided through a leasing vehicle, to Ethiopian Airlines, so that they could buy Boeing aircraft. Boeing, a US company, and China are "old friends". According to Boeing, more than 50 percent of the commercial jetliners operating in China are Boeing airplanes. Apparently ICBC has already been involved as a junior partner in another aircraft financing deal for the B777-200LR freighter in Ethiopia. This marks additional maturing of the China-Africa financial relationship. And it's the kind of tripartite cooperation that's likely to endure.

If anyone knows of other examples like this, please contribute.

A h/t to the Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University.
ICBC was already a junior loan partner in the B777-200LR freighter deal - See more at:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Visiting Faculty Position in International Development

My program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is seeking a visiting professor of international development for a one year position, beginning in September. We are accepting applications now and will begin reviewing them in June. Position description follows:
SAIS seeks to appoint a one year visiting professor of international development at the assistant or associate level. The faculty member will teach courses and advise students in the International Development Program. Candidates should be excellent scholars and also have practical experience in international development. Field and discipline are open although the candidate should be able to teach an interdisciplinary survey course in international development. A Ph.D. degree is welcome but not mandatory if  commensurate professional experience exists.The ideal candidate will have experience teaching on the post-graduate level and demonstrated management skills would be an advantage. Please send curriculum vitae, copies of syllabi and student evaluations if available, a cover letter explaining why you might be a good fit, and contact information for three possible references. Review of files will begin on June 1 and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should submit their materials by email to Prof. Deborah Brautigam,

Monday, May 19, 2014

New $2 bn fund, China & Africa Development Bank to the Financial Times, the Chinese and the Africa Development Bank will soon announce a contribution of $2 bn to an Africa-wide investment vehicle, "Africa Growing Together Fund." Unlike most Chinese finance on the continent, this would be open to all companies to compete. If it's true (and it is still to be confirmed), this is a huge change and a very welcome one. While the multilateral banks are not immune from corruption and embezzlement challenges, they do have stakeholders that try to hold them accountable in a transparent process. That has not been the case with the Chinese policy banks. I suspect that Chinese firms will still win the majority of contracts but what an excellent tactic by a maturing Chinese leadership to make them compete internationally for their wins. This kind of competition is how companies become excellent, not by having deals handed to them, or by winning through collusion or non-competitive means. I can't wait to learn more.
A hat tip to John Briscoe. Photo credit: (hotel construction in Rwanda)