Friday, April 21, 2017

Join us on April 26: Prospects for U.S.-China-Africa Relations in the Trump Era

The China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins SAIS is hosting the following event in Washington DC next week:

Policy Roundtable:

Prospects for U.S.-China-Africa Relations in the Trump Era

Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Johns Hopkins SAIS – Nitze Building, Kenney-Herter Auditorium

1740 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20036


 Please make sure to register via Eventbrite:

At the start of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s top trade partner. As Chinese engagement in Africa continued to diversify, President Obama ushered in an Africa foreign policy that included events such as the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit as well as commitments under Power Africa and Trade Africa. Now, how will the respective roles of the United States and China in Africa change during the Trump administration? Will existing opportunities for constructive trilateral collaboration remain, or will they need to be modified? How will African countries respond to these shifts? This roundtable will draw on the public and private sectors to explore the future of U.S.-China-Africa relations in an evolving geopolitical landscape.

Keynote Address
Peter Lewis

Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Yun Sun

Senior Associate, East Asia Program, Stimson Center

John Goodman

Associate Director, Conflict Resolution Program, The Carter Center

Mima Nedelcovych
President and CEO, Initiative for Global Development

Bobby Pittman

Managing Partner, Kupanda Capital

Leocadia Zak

Former Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency

A light lunch will be served from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. The roundtable discussion will take place from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. 
This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

China, Djibouti, and the New York TImes: How Much Debt?

The New York Times had a front page article on China and Djibouti this past weekend: "U.S. Wary of its New Neighbor in Djibouti -- a Chinese Naval Base." Like many observers, the NYT seems to have been misled about the scale of Chinese engagement, and Chinese lending to Djibouti in particular. Here's what they said:
Beyond surveillance concerns, United States officials, citing the billions of dollars in Chinese loans to Djibouti’s heavily indebted government, wonder about the long-term durability of an alliance that has served Washington well in its global fight against Islamic extremism.
Here at the China Africa Research Initiative we specialize in tracking and confirming Chinese loans in Africa. We have not been contacted by the US government, and we wonder where they are getting their "data"? In this instance, we were able to interview top ranking officials in Djibouti's Ministry of Finance to confirm Chinese loan financing.

Signed Loans/Debts Owed by Djibouti to Chinese Government (past decade). All in US$

1. Goubet/Ghoubet Salt Port Expansion:                                    64 million
2. Addis-Djibouti Railway (Djibouti share):                             492 million
3. Djibouti-Ethiopia Water Pipeline:                                         322 million
4. Doraleh Container Terminal/Multipurpose
Port Expansion (the endpoint of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway)
and Damerjog Livestock Export Port:                                        405 million

TOTAL                                                                                      $1283 million, or $1.3 billion

We also have a confirmed report of $596 million in Chinese finance for two new airports, but this appears to be either a Chinese company suppliers' credit or a public-private partnership investment, not a Chinese government loan. However, even if we add this, the total comes to $1.9 billion. While several other projects--most prominently a toll road highway to the border--have been in the news, we confirmed that they are all still under discussion. Yes, $1.3 billion or even $1.9 billion is a large figure, but it seems inaccurate to call it "billions of dollars in Chinese loans".

Undue alarmism? Another case of "alternative facts"? More reason to support an increase of $58 billion in the US defense budget? From what we can see, China's main rival in Djibouti has not been the US, but Dubai Ports World, which had a number of public-private partnership (PPP) port contracts in Djibouti, and had also arranged financing to build and operate ports in this important gateway to land-locked Ethiopia, one of Africa's most populous and dynamic countries.

As always, if someone has better information, please comment here or contact us directly at SAIS-CARI at Johns Hopkins University.

Friday, February 24, 2017

We're Hiring! Apply by March 24 to be CARI's Program Assistant.

The China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins SAIS is seeking a highly motivated and organized Program Assistant to provide administrative and budget support to the CARI program. This position will support me and my team over the next year as we conduct more research, publish papers, and program events.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Providing administrative support to SAIS-CARI Director including, but not limited to:
·       Managing reimbursements
·       Tracking expenditures and reporting for all grants
·       Reconciling of financial records
·       Ordering supplies, submitting payment requests and coordinating with Accounts Payable to ensure timely payment of expenses
·       Assisting with processing of all CARI contracts
·       Working with the Human Resources department and the business office, as necessary, to process all stipends and salaries for students and casual employees
·       Assisting with events management, primarily coordination of annual conferences, public and private roundtables, and government briefings. This includes handling room reservations, booking travel arrangements, maintaining RSVPS, organizing set-up, managing catering, processing budgeting and vendor payment requests, and organizing advertising. Work closely with events assistants to execute these tasks
·       Assisting with communications and social media outreach
·       Working closely with the CARI communications assistant to maintain the website, newsletter, and social media in a timely manner
·       Tracking CARI and CARI research “in the news.”
·       Managing regular reporting for all research grants and contracts, tracking research impact and outputs, coordinating publications from grant-funded programs
·       Working on other logistical aspects of CARI’s activities and research as necessary

·       Bachelor's degree required. Three years related experience preferred. Additional education may substitute for required experience.
·       Computer literacy at the intermediate to expert level desired, with proficiency in using Excel. Ideal candidate should have the ability to do research on the internet and learn JHU computer programs and software systems including HopkinsOne SAP and CollegeNet. Knowledge of and/or experience with these systems is a significant plus.
·       Exceptional administrative and organizational skills to work effectively in a dynamic, deadline-oriented environment that requires balancing multiple assignments simultaneously on a daily basis. The ability to prioritize is a must, and the ability to move between different and varied tasks.
·       Previous work experience in grants or contract management, budgeting, and administrative support, highly desired.
·       Excellent oral and written communications skills and attention to detail.
·       Events management experience highly desired.
·       Ability to interact effectively with individuals from diverse cultures.

How to Apply:
Please apply here on the SAIS hiring website. You must enter requisition # "312786" into the search bar and create an account to apply.
Applications are due March 24, 2017 at 9:00 am EST. You must submit both a cover letter and resume/CV to be considered for the position.
This position will start mid May through early June 2017. The duration of the position is one year with the possibility for renewal.
Please email any questions to