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In this week's roundup of emerging powers news, Chinese banks spur global economic recovery, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi tours Africa, and South Africa looks at ways of cutting carbon emissions.


China's state-owned banks have become a main engine of the global recovery, financing the construction of copper mines, purchase of airplanes, expansion of retail stores and other projects even as their U.S. and European counterparts scale back lending.

Over the first nine months of 2009, new lending by Chinese banks has injected $1.3 trillion into the world economy, according to statistics from the People's Bank of China, which functions as China's central bank. The beneficiaries have included U.S.-based Southwest Airlines, the Netherlands' Aercap airplane leasing company, Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai, and Foster's brewery and Woolworths supermarket chain in Australia.More

Beijing's methods to censor the Internet may well run afoul of its World Trade Organization commitments, claims the Wall Street Journal.More

Gold's allure seems to be growing further in China with the nation soon set to surpass India as the biggest consumer. China is already the largest gold producer in the world with an output of around 282.504 tons in the first 11 months of 2009. That figure represents a 14.6 percent increase over the same period in 2008.More

Indians living in border areas neighbouring China are beginning to envy fast-paced development brought by Beijing to the point of regretting being Indian, a senior member of India's ruling Congress party has warned. More

Britain and other Western countries risk running out of supplies of certain highly sought-after rare metals that are vital to a host of green technologies, amid growing evidence that China, which has a monopoly on global production, is set to choke off exports of valuable compounds. More


Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi kicked off his official tour of five African nations and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, aiming to cement China's strategic partnership with Africa. The African leg of the tour will last from Jan. 6 to 12, continuing to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 12 and 13.More

China’s investment in Africa in the first nine months of the year, excluding financial investments, rose 77.5 percent to $875 million, the Ministry of Commerce said. In October China’s first-half investment in Africa rose 78.6 percent to $875 million. More

The Chinese government says its Navy does not need a supply base in the Gulf of Aden to support ships operating against Somali pirates.

The Defense Ministry responded to a recommendation from Yin Zhou, a retired admiral now working at the Navy's Equipment Research Center, China Daily reported. In a brief statement, the ministry said at-sea supply and the use of bases set up by other countries is sufficient. More

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki claimed that China has committed to help develop a second port in the East African nation, which is expected to start being built this year. Construction of the port at Lamu on Kenya’s northeast coast forms part of a $22 billion project announced by the government in April 2008. It includes a railway line, a highway linking neighboring Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and Rwanda to Lamu and three airports, according to Kenya’s Transport Ministry. The port at Lamu will be bigger than the Kenya’s existing facility at Mombasa. More

But Yang Jiechi, China’s foreign minister, said in Kenya on Wednesday that his government was urging Chinese enterprises – many of which are state-owned – to “explore the possibility of co-operation with the Kenyan side on such projects”. According to the Financial Times he indicated that no firm financial commitments could be made until China had seen the results of a feasibility study that is currently under way. The port and transport corridor could provide a new export route for Chinese oil from Sudan. More

The Chinese government is fast-tracking modalities to reduce trade imbalances with Kenya as it seeks to cement bilateral ties between the two countries, according to Chinese envoy to Kenya, Mr Deng Hongbo. According to the Economic Survey 2009, Kenya exported goods worth Sh2 billion in 2008 but imports from mainland China stood at Sh63 billion. The Chinese envoy said his government was making conscious efforts to bridge the gap. More

Chinese companies top the list of companies registered in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ghana, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has said. Mr. George Aboagye said the FDI component of the estimated value of the companies registered during the period under review was GH¢339.32 million while the local currency component amounted to GH¢24.88 million.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, he said while Chinese companies record the highest number of companies in the country, South African companies top the list of countries with the largest value of investments in Ghana in 2009. More

African Minerals, the Aim-listed exploration group, with prospective iron ore assets in West Africa, has sold a 12.5 per cent stake in the company to the Chinese state-owned China Railway Materials Commercial Corp (CRM), a steel trading firm. The deal, worth £152.6m, will also see CRM agree to buy between four and eight million tonnes of iron ore each year from African Minerals' mine at Tonkolili in Sierra Leone, over at least the next 20 years. More


António Pires de Lima, head of the Portuguese drinks group Unicer, finally won permission to build a brewery in Angola last month. Richard Lapper reporting in the Financial Times from Luanda, claimed that the €100m deal encapsulated ‘an intriguing historical twist: his country’s re-engagement with its rapidly growing former African colony’.

Unicer’s investment confirms Portugal’s position as Angola’s single largest source of foreign capital outside the oil sector, with more than $1bn (€694bn, £625bn) channelled into the country since the beginning of 2007. More

Slashing emissions in coal-dominated South Africa will require an overhaul of national policies as well as significant funding, a new study finds. The study of private-sector investment in South Africa's electricity sector finds that early efforts to enhance and promote both energy efficiency and renewable energy "have failed to have any large-scale effects. Capacity in renewable energy, the study found, "is lacking at every stage of the technology cycle, from research and development to installation and maintenance."

Currently, South Africa contributes about 1.1 percent of global emissions, according to the most recent 2005 data from the World Resources Institute. Per capita, it emits an average 9 tons of CO2 per person, almost on a par with the European Union and about double the sub-Saharan average of 4.5 tons. More


India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari is visiting Zambia, Malawi and Botswana in a trip being hailed as breaking new grounds in India’s engagement with Africa.
India’s total trade with Africa is an estimated 39 billion dollars, according to a Ministry of External Affairs official. Ansari listed a possible extension of Indian lines of credit to “one or two big projects” in Zambia. On the upcoming trip to Botswana, Ansari hoped to source directly from the Botswana’s diamond mines instead of relying on prices set by a “monopoly”. India is the largest importer of uncut diamonds and Botswana the largest producer. More

Brazil’s annual trade with Africa has jumped from $3,1bn in 2000 to $26,3bn last year, a rate of growth outpaced only by China, which has seen two-way commerce soar tenfold this past decade to $107bn.More

* Stephen Marks is research associate and project coordinator with Fahamu's China in Africa Project.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.